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Showing posts from December, 2016

"Right Against Right": Chapter One [download]

Since I'm leaving for holidays in a couple days, and will be away from my main computer until the new year, I figure I should put the next instalment of my free speech manuscript up before most of you lose interest. The other chapters require much more editing, and will probably take me some time to get to (I really hate editing because it's boring), but this one was less messy.

In this first chapter, entitled "The Modern Discourse of Free Speech", I examine the vicissitudes of the contemporary discourse's foundations, tracing them to the watermark of liberalism: J.S. Mill's On Liberty. While it is the case that liberal theory is much more than Mill, my intention with this project was to focus on the most coherent aspects of the free speech discourse and this coherence is located in Mill. Indeed, key modern liberal theorists such as Rawls or Nussbaum are working within the problematic determined by Mill. (Nussbaum has been pretty open about this influence but…

Continuity and Rupture: Publication & Book Launches

So Continuity and Rupture was officially released on December 9 and is already available to buy. Some people have already purchased it; some have already read it or are in the process of reading it, with mixed results. While some readers have found it more useful than The Communist Necessity others have not liked it as much. This is to be expected since Continuity and Rupture is different in form and content than The Communist Necessity. Whereas the latter was a polemic, the former is more rigorous and philosophical, and unfortunately I cannot keep every reader happy. The readers who disliked The Communist Necessity because it was too polemical will hopefully find Continuity and Rupture more useful because of its rigour; the readers who prefer polemical literature will doubtlessly find Continuity and Rupture turgid and unexciting.

As an author whose training is in philosophy my only apology for Continuity and Rupture's "excruciating" aspects is to appeal to my discipline…

Introducing "Right Against Right": a serial on the liberal convention of free speech

Once again, like the aborted Torsion and Tension manuscript, I have a project that did not make the roster of publication submission. Unlike Torsion and Tension, that I eventually withheld because I thought it was incomplete, I was unable to submit this particular (and smaller) manuscript for publication because it was initially meant to be part of a series of extended essays that I was unable to consolidate. The point of this series was to produce a number of very small books––the non-fiction equivalent of novellas or novelletes––that were designed to interrogate particular ruling class conventions. Here was the original proposed series blurb:

Excavating Bourgeois Ideas is a series of extended essays intended to provide a radical “thinking through” of key ruling ideas of the ruling class. The point with each of these engagements is not to provide a thorough engagement of the subject matter but instead to promote a thoughtful but polemical introduction to the concepts in question. Func…

Obituary: Quick Reflections on Fidel Castro's Death

With everything that has been written about Fidel Castro's death I doubt I'm going to add anything original. This entry will not be a useful think-piece or another hot take. Within twenty-four hours of learning about his death everything that I would have originally considered writing was already written and so there will be many aspects of what I say below that have been said, and said better, by others. Indeed, I considered passing over the news of his death in silence (outside of some tweets) but then two things made me change my mine: i) the fact that I tend to write obituaries about other people who were less significant or whose memory I wanted to dis-honour; ii) an excellent polemical obituary by a US Maoist that made me think about my understanding of Castro and the Cuban revolution in regards to my political development.

For me Castro's death is a strange event in that, having grown up with him alive, he has been one of the key living symbols of the great worldwid…