American Academic Quotes
When it comes to acid rain or oil spills or depleted fisheries or tainted groundwater or fluorocarbon propellants or radiation leaks or sexually transmitted diseases, national frontiers are simple irrelevant. Toxins don't stop for customs inspections and microbes don't carry passports. North America became a water and free-trade zone long before NAFTA loosened up the market in goods.
Flaubert poses as the outsider with insider information who excoriates a reality as degraded and mendacious. It is as if the literary standing of the author in the world of imagination and fiction paradoxically grants him a greater access to the truth than would be available in the falseness of empirical existence.
The armature of economic neo-liberalism... cannot concede any space to the idea of counter-conduct; counter-conduct becomes inconceivable, since conduct as such is a concept fully integrated into a scientific-epistemological field. Regime of veridiction, homo oeconomicus, rational behavior, ethical and political neutralization – such is the scheme, for instance, of American neo-liberalism. In this setting, counter-conduct is nothing more than a form of irrationality, just as in the history of psychiatry, it is but a form of abnormality.
Whether or not our position fairly can be charged as apolitical depends entirely upon how one defines political. If political be taken in the narrow sense, as signifying those means and methods the world regularly accepts as normative for its doing of politics, then the position of me and mine clearly and is that of apoliticism. If, however, political be understood in the broad, etymological sense, as identifying whatever actions have public effect upon the life of the city (polis), then there are no grounds for accusing either me or any of mine of advocating apoliticism.
We must consider not only why the classical theory of democracy appears to be in contradiction with the observed practice, but also why the many different responses to this observation, though mutually incompatible, all share the belief that democracy is the best form of political organization.
Think of the federal government as a gigantic insurance company (with a sideline business in national defense and homeland security), which does its accounting on a cash basis, only counting premiums and payouts as they go in and out the door. An insurance company with cash accounting... is an accident waiting to happen.
The more important point, however, is not about what the money does. It's about what has to be done to get the money. The effect of the money might be (democratically) benign. But what is done to secure that money is not necessarily benign. To miss this point is to betray the Robin Hood fallacy: the fact that the loot was distributed justly doesn't excuse the means taken to secure it.
In the most general terms, the Enlightenment goes back to Plato's belief that truth and beauty and goodness are connected; that truth and beauty, disseminated widely, will sooner or later lead to goodness. (While we're making at effort at truth and goodness, beauty reminds us what we're hold out for.)