We tend to think of the “ruling class” as a Marxist concept; but the notion has a long history before Marx, particularly in the ancient Greek and Roman historians, and class analysis played a central role in 18th and 19th century classical liberalism as well. Whenever the decisions and actions of the political machinery are largely controlled by a particular group, and serve to advance the interests and reinforce the power of that group, such a group is properly called a ruling class. A ruling class is, obviously, a bad thing to have. This raises two questions:
How does a ruling class operate and maintain its power?
Is it possible to construct a political system that will not fall prey to a ruling class?
Since the 1950s a multitude of solutions to revitalize decaying inner cities have come and gone. If anything, matters have grown worse—brave souls should visit Detroit, Cleveland, Gary, East St. Louis, Memphis, and countless others to see for themselves.
Countries frequently define themselves by what they believe to be true. When reality and belief conflict that definition might well be referred to as a “national myth.” In the United States many believe that there exists a constitutionally mandated strict separation between religion and government. In practice, however, that separation has never really existed except insofar as Americans are free to practice whatever religion they choose or even none at all. The nation’s dominant religion Christianity has in fact shaped government policy in many important areas since the founding of the republic. Tax exemption for the churches would be one example of legislation favoring organized religion while in the nineteenth century the governments of a number of American states had religious clauses written into their constitutions and also collected special tithe taxes to support the locally dominant Christian denomination. The practice only ended with the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868.
Christian Zionism is not a religion per se, but rather a set of beliefs based on interpretations of specific parts of the Bible – notably the book of Revelations and parts of Ezekiel, Daniel, and Isaiah – that has made the return of the Jews to the Holy Land a precondition for the Second Coming of Christ. The belief that Israel is essential to the process has led to the fusion of Christianity with Zionism, hence the name of the movement.
On 30 January, a Chinese Jiangwei II-class frigate entered the disputed waters around the Senkaku Islands, a cluster of uninhabited rocks in the East China Sea claimed by China as the Diaoyu Islands. A Japanese destroyer was waiting.
When the two warships were only 3 km apart, the Chinese frigate turned on its fire-control radar that aims its 100mm gun and C-802 anti-ship missiles and “painted” the Japanese vessel. The Japanese destroyer went to battle stations and targeted its weapons on the Chinese intruder.
Fortunately, both sides backed down. But this was the most dangerous confrontation to date over the disputed Senkakus. Japan and China were a button push from war.
Soon after, a Japanese naval helicopter was again “painted’ by Chinese fire-control radar. Earlier, Chinese aircraft made a clear intrusion over waters claimed by Japan.
China’s Peoples Liberation Army HQ ordered the armed forces onto high alert and reportedly moved large numbers of warplanes and missile batteries to the East China Sea coast.
A U.S. AWACS radar aircraft went on station to monitor the Senkaku/Diaoyus – a reminder that under the 1951 U.S.-Japan mutual defense treaty, Washington recognized the Senkaku Islands as part of Japan and pledged to defend them if attacked. Japan seized the Senkakus as a prize of its 1894-95 war with Imperial China.
“Much of our foreign policy now depends on the hope of benevolent dictators and philosopher kings. The law can’t help. The law is what the kings say it is.”
~ Ta-Nehisi Coates, writing for The Atlantic
“If George Bush had done this, it would have been stopped.”
~ Joe Scarborough, former Republican congressman and current MSNBC pundit
When Barack Obama ascended to the presidency in 2008, there was a sense, at least among those who voted for him, that the country might change for the better. Those who watched in awe as President Bush chipped away at our civil liberties over the course of his two terms as president thought that maybe this young, charismatic Senator from Illinois would reverse course and put an end to some of the Bush administration’s worst transgressions – the indefinite detention of suspected terrorists, the torture, the black site prisons, and the never-ending wars that have drained our resources, to name just a few.
This thesis explores contemporary anarchism, in its re-emergence as a social movement and political theory over the past decade. The methodology used combines participatory research and philosophical argumentation.
The first part, “Explaining Anarchism”, argues that it should be addressed primarily as a political culture, with distinct forms of organisation, campaigning and direct action repertoires, and political discourse and ideology. Largely discontinuous with the historical workers’ and peasants’ anarchist movement, More…
Only a failure of imagination, the same one that leads the man on the street to suppose that everything has already been invented, leads us to believe that all of the relevant institutions have been designed and that all of the policy levers have been found.”–Paul Romer, New Goods, Old Theory, and the Welfare Costs of Trade Restrictions
Since the year it was published, a preponderance of the scholarship devoted to Nozick’s Anarchy, State, And Utopia has focused on the first two thirds of his 1974 book. The first third, devoted to justifying the minimal state, has attracted the attention of anarchists and fellow libertarians. More…
Frederick Kagan didn’t understand why Rand Paul emphasized restraint and avoiding unnecessary wars:
America’s foreign policy today is hardly one of militaristic, imperialistic determination to intervene.
To put it charitably, this is an odd thing to say about the current state of U.S. foreign policy. U.S. forces may eventually be leaving Afghanistan, but most of them will still be there for most of the next two years. More…