Ethnicity

Ethnic identity politics, Eric Hobsbawm argues, arises as an effort to established impermeable boundaries in a situation where boundaries are permeable: “The very fluidity of ethnicity in urban societies made its choice as the only criterion of the group arbitrary and artificial. In the USA, . . . . Continue Reading »

Universal exile

Ancient politics had to do with governing a people set in a particular location; so did the modern politics of the nation-state. With the large-scale population movements of the last half-century, the ethnic homogeneity of the nation-state (never entirely homogenous to begin with) has dissolved . . . . Continue Reading »

World Citizens

Political scientist David Jacobson notes the connection between immigration and shifts in understandings of rights: “Transnational migration is steadily eroding the traditional basis of nation-state membership, namely citizenship. As rights have come to be predicated on residency, not citizen . . . . Continue Reading »

Iconomics

The reviewer of Ernest Sterberg’s 1999 Economy of Icons in the American Journal of Economics and Sociology summarizes some main points from this latter-day Thorstein Veblen: “The thesis of this controversial book is that ‘enterprises make their way in the capitalist economy by . . . . Continue Reading »

Artificial selves

Discussions of the postmodern self often trace a genealogy from Descartes to Locke to Kant to Nietzsche to Heidegger to Foucault. But though philosophers no doubt have some influence on the daily experiences of normal humans, this sort of treatment doesn’t quite get to the ground level. In . . . . Continue Reading »

End of history

Evidence that Fukuyama may have had it right: Walter Truett Anderson writes that “the International Commission on Peace and Food (in its 1994 report) pointed to the urgent need to create employment for hundreds of millions of poor people, and at the same time dismissed the notion that most of . . . . Continue Reading »

We’re All Communitarians now

Psychologist Brewster Smith decries the solvents of postmodern life - cynicism, shallowness, sensationalism, warfare between fundamentalisms and relativisms, uncertainty about all standards, the “fin de siecle sense of drift and doom” (even after the fin). What’s his solution? . . . . Continue Reading »

Proteus

God cannot deny Himself and is unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth. He never contradicts Himself or becomes other than the faithful God that He is. And yet: Our God is shown to be God above all in becoming man; our Creator is shown to be Creator above all . . . . Continue Reading »

Poet or poem?

Lacan, stressing how language controls us, says “I am not a poet, but a poem.” I don’t know about Lacan, but that is certainly the case for Christians: “For we are His workmanship (Gr. poema ), created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Ephesians 2:10). . . . . Continue Reading »

Pro Patria Mori

The history of the modern nation-state, and the disillusionment with it, can be told as the story of changing responses to Roman-inspired patriotism, tinged with the rhetoric of Christian martyrdom and sacrifice. Simplifying to an extreme, the story of modern politics is about the resurgence (in . . . . Continue Reading »