What is “white pride” and how does it manifest? Is any aspect of it salvageable, or is it hopelessly racist and xenophobic? We live in a culture in which various minorities are permitted–encouraged, even–to express pride in who they are. Gay pride, black pride, Latino pride, female pride. Everybody’s proud! But the very phrase “white pride” brings to mind rallies of neo-Nazis, hooded Ku Klux Klan members burning crosses, and other uncomfortable scenes of violence and bigotry.
The way we talk about consent in our society doesn’t seem to be working. This post can be considered an expansion of yesterday’s article. Focusing specifically on issues of consent, it’s necessary to first establish just what “consent” means. The way it is framed in discussions of sexual assault and rape, it is treated as a question with a binary answer. “Yes, I consent to sex” or “No, I don’t.” That’s not to say no one explores consent in a more nuanced fashion, but those approaches often fall by the wayside.
I think I’ve referenced enough topics in the title. And yes, I will get to all of them! There’s a good chance you’ve heard of the Stanford sexual assault case. If not, you can read a good summary here. You would also do well to read the victim’s statement to her attacker, though a warning for upsetting sexual content is a given. A lot of people are outraged over the sentence this young man received: six months in jail and three years’ probation.
There’s a peculiar trend surrounding this Presidential election season, and one that has plagued Hillary Clinton for much of her career. Why do we have such a hard time acknowledging women as human beings? A passage in a recent New York Magazine article really brought it home for me: In a recent column, [David Brooks posited](http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/24/opinion/why-is-clinton-disliked.html) that Clinton is disliked because she is a workaholic who “presents herself as a résumé and policy brief” and about whose interior life and extracurricular hobbies we know next to nothing.
Right-wing populists seem to be cropping up everywhere these days. What gives? It’s not just Donald Trump in the US, either, though he’s the most salient, evocative example. Conservative anti-government movements have been rising in Europe, as well. It’s becoming less and less common for political parties to engage faithfully with one another–to recognize that, while they may disagree on particular issues, they all ultimately want what’s best for the country and its people.
Whether they mean to or not, all artistic works communicate political ideas. This makes what those ideas should consist of an urgent and pertinent question. But first, what does it mean for all art to be political? Start with the definitions: politics describes the power struggle between different members of the polity, which is a group of people bound together by some kind of identity, be it religious, cultural, partisan, or otherwise.
Economists tend to present themselves as impartial arbiters of truth, as people who are reporting only how the market works, rather than making judgments as to why it works, or how it should work. This view is, at best, self-delusion. At worst, it’s a lie that kills people. What prompted this post was giving a thorough read to Brad DeLong’s _The Public Square and Economists. _It’s an excellent paper that offers a solid overview of what economists, at their best, have to tell us:
What does it mean when someone gets fired for what they say on the Internet? Is it justice, or mob rule? Are online arguments debates, or harassment? To what extent do gender, class, and race matter when it comes to these issues? This political season has seen its share of ugly behavior. For as long as Donald Trump has had his hat in the ring as a Republican primary contender–and now the presumptive nominee–that behavior has been front and center.
Kathryn Watterson’s Women in Prison: Inside the Concrete Womb had been on my reading list for a while. Having just finished it, I am more convinced than ever that our prison system, as it exists now, is inhumane and criminal. It must be abolished. This book was first published in 1973, and updated in 1996. What is perhaps the most telling is how little changed in the prison system between those years, and how little has changed in the 20 years since.
For Americans, it seems that freedom and capitalism have, at some point in our history, become interchangeable concepts. There is no freedom without the ability to own and control capital, and capital that cannot be used as its owner wishes cannot be considered freedom. But is this really right? You’ve probably guessed already that the answer is “no.” But it’s why that matters. How did we come to link these ideas together, and what purpose does it serve?