Tedenski izbor

branje1

What must one take for granted in order for same-sex marriage to be intelligible? (This is not a question about the motives or beliefs—which can seem quite humane—of those who support same-sex marriage.) It is commonly argued that marriage is no longer principally about the procreation and the rearing of children but that it centers instead on the companionship of the couple and the building of a household. The courts have repeatedly accepted this reasoning. And yet, if same-sex marriage is to be truly equal to natural marriage in the eyes of society and the law, then all the rights and privileges of marriage—including those involving the procreation and rearing of children—must in principle belong to both kinds of marriage, irrespective of the motives impelling a couple toward marriage or whether, once married, they exercise these rights and privileges.

With same-sex couples this can be achieved only by technological means. And so the case for companionate marriage has been supplemented again and again by the argument that we must endorse reproductive technologies that eliminate any relevant difference between a male–female couple and a same-sex couple. This elevates these technologies from a remedy for infertility, what they principally have been, to a normative form of reproduction equivalent and perhaps even superior to natural procreation. But if there is no meaningful difference between a male–female couple conceiving a child naturally and same-sex couples conceiving children through surrogates and various technological means, then it follows that nothing of ontological significance attaches to natural motherhood and fatherhood or to having a father and a mother. These roles and relations are not fundamentally natural phenomena integral to human identity and social welfare but are mere accidents of biology overlaid with social conventions that can be replaced by functionally equivalent roles without loss. The implications are enormousexistential changes to the relation between kinship and personal identity, legal redefinitions of the relation between natural kinship and parental rights, and practical, biotechnical innovations that are only beginning to emerge into view and will be defended as necessary for a liberal society.

(…)

Whether this is the logical outworking of the metaphysical and anthropological premises of liberalism or a radically new thing (…), it marks a point of no return in American public philosophy. And it effectively brings the civic project of American Christianity to an end.

The Civil Project of American Christianity – Micheal Hanby, First Things

 

***

You may not be interested in the culture war, but the culture war is definitely interested in you.

(…)

If by “Christianity” we mean the philosophical and cultural framework setting the broad terms for engagement in American public life, Christianity is dead, and we Christians have killed it. We have allowed our children to be catechized by the culture and have produced an anesthetizing religion suited for little more than being a chaplaincy to the liberal individualistic order.

Christian and Countercultural: A Response to Michael Hanby – Rod Dreher, First Things

 

***

 

I am interested in writing as though the past happened, and that means acknowledging the limits of such ‘declinist’ discourse. I don’t begrudge my peers for looking a bit squinty-eyed at the anxious rallying cries we’re hearing about gay marriage within the church. I wager few of today’s college students know the Religious Right ever happened, and sometimes I’d like to forget about them myself. But they did. And like it or not the image—regardless of its accuracy—of the fearful evangelical leader shouting about decline still pervades our media world.

And here is the unfortunate effect: by overreacting against various non-offenses and impotently shouting about real shifts in the world that they had no real power to prevent ruined the rhetoric of ruination and decline for the rest of us. Having played the same song so often, evangelical writers—like me—invariably have a credibility gap with anyone who isn’t already convinced. Young conservative evangelicals have been placed into a relatively tricky conundrum: the misuse of narratives of decline have left us without a potentially helpful tool to overcome and resist the naivety of our peers about the social transformations afoot. But carrying on as usual gives such rallying cries the atmosphere of a winnowing, so that anyone who demures is de facto on the outside. And therein lies a path where the declinist narrative becomes its own self-fulfilling prophecy: embattled and thriving, until it’s only we happy few who exist to die.

(…)

The striking thing about the evangelical rhetorical environment among those who write about these matters is not that conservative Christians are necessarily wrong: it’s that the whole business sounds so cheerless. With a few exceptions, no one seems to be having much of a good time.

(…)

We need courage: but we also need a sense of humor, because if we don’t have that the world is not really worth fighting for.

(…)

Reading Dickens is a great help: it’s hard to be unhappy about the world whilst being perpetually amused by it. In fact, reading anything for pure entertainment is a help. The real point of the culture wars is to destroy culture, and it’s impossible to fight well if we’ve forgotten what we’re fighting for.

(…)

It is that kind of cheer which evangelicalism’s greatest virtue—its legitimate and real concern about the world and its inhabitants—potentially throttles. In this case, we may have to be good pagans before we can be good Christians: eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow they’re gonna come for your tax breaks.

I’d note as well that it’s this kind of cheerful disregard for things which Chesterton aptly said was the heart of courage

(…)

And here I signal my last worry about the way the rhetoric of “countercultural” has functioned within the evangelical world. By drawing our energy out of the opposition to the world—by thriving in the embattlement—we tend to foreclose the possibility that we could win, finally and decisively, the very cultural struggle we are waging. By enshrining its status as a cultural minority, the ‘countercultural’ approach contributes to the conditions which ensure nothing changes. The culture war is self-perpetuating

 

Writing as though History Happened: Being Countercultural Christians – Matthew Lee Andersen, Mere Orthodoxy

***

Progresivni liberalizem je prevladal, ker je bil intelektualno bolj pošten, bolj sproščen, bolj spoštljiv do notranjih razlik, kulturno bolj inovativen in bolj zabaven. Ker je imel Jone Stewarte. Konservativne ideje so zastopale javne osebnosti, ob katerih inteligentnega človeka zaboli glava, če jih posluša.

To je univerzalni nauk Jona Stewarta: Vse neumno in neprepričljivo bo poraženo.

Jon Stewart zapušča Daily Show – Luka Lisjak Gabrijelčič, FokusPokus

***

While Fifty Shades subverts Christian sexual morality, it subverts the modern crusade for “genderlessness” all the more.

For the past forty years, there’s been a concerted effort to minimize or eliminate the sexual differences between men and women. The sought-after utopia is the “truly equal world” envisioned by Lean In author Sheryl Sandberg, in which “women [run] half our countries and companies and men [run] half our homes.” According to this view (and contrary to the scientific data), the differences between the sexes are merely social constructs: the culture is to blame for women being feminine and men being masculine.

Fifty Shades against Gender Neutrality – Joseph Heschmeyer, First Things

***

Pri nas se na fakultete vpisuje bistveno prevelik odstotek študentov. Tega ni nikjer v Evropi. Dejstvo je, da so sposobnosti porazdeljene po Gaussovi krivulji. In s tem nikakor nočem omalovaževati drugih poklicev, nasprotno, cenim visoko sposobne kvalificirane mojstre, ki znajo odlično opravljati svoj poklic. V tem je veliko več kreativnosti, kot pa če nekdo konča fakulteto, potem pa za okencem vtipkava podatke ali za bančnim okencem izdaja denar. Daleč od tega, da bi to zaničeval, ampak za to ni treba na fakulteto. Pri nas pa je odstotek mladih, ki gredo študirat, višji kot kjer koli drugod v razviti Evropi. To avtomatično vodi v to, da se raven kakovosti študija niža. Včasih so učenci zaradi različnih razlogov odpadali že v osnovni šoli, v srednji šoli pa je bil osip še večji. Zdaj pa je samoumevno, da na tej stopnji izobraževanja »vsi pridejo skozi«, potem pa se tak način v veliki meri prenese tudi na univerzo. Razlog je tudi v tem, da je bilo financiranje dolgo odvisno od tega, koliko študentov je fakulteta vpisala in koliko jih je diplomiralo. To pa je naravno spodbujanje nekvalitete.

Manj bleščeča plat znanosti – intervju s prof. Alešem Igličem, RTV SLO

***

In zakaj je zgodba o neujemajočih se revizijskih poročilih in popravljanju izgub še kako pomembna za vnovično vstajenje tranzicijske elite? Ker se zaradi nje javnost ukvarja z namišljenimi aferami, namesto da bi se temeljito preizprašali, kako in zakaj smo v tem razredu bančnih kekcev sploh pristali. Ker namesto, da bi diskreditirali ljudi, ideje in sistem, ki so naše banke pripeljali v situacijo, ko ni bilo več nebolečih rešitev, zdaj diskreditiramo ljudi, ki so boleče rešitve končno implementirali. Torej reformiste, kot so Jazbec, Šušteršič in tudi Čufer. Ker se poskuša s ščuvanjem na trojko odpravili vsako upanje na napredek in reforme, začenši s privatizacijo. Ker prikriva dejstvo, da če bi banke privatizirali že pred krizo, ne bi z njimi imeli težav ne podrejenci ne davkoplačevalci, tako kot jih niso imeli v nobeni tranzicijski državi. To je pa res kriminal.

Jazbec in jazbečarji – Blaž Vodopivec, Finance

***

Groups such as Rethinking Economics, a London-based network of student reformers, emerged to challenge the conventional wisdom of the classroom. At Manchester University, a student revolt led to plummeting satisfaction scores, driving the economics course down the league table.

Teachers have now responded. (…) The old textbooks had things the wrong way round, Ms Carlin says. They taught concepts like supply and demand in an abstract way and then illustrated them with simple examples, such as the market for apples and oranges. By contrast, the new material challenges students to consider real-world topics from the outset. The section on labour supply begins with the history of real wage growth. The new course also acknowledges the limitations of basic models: the trade-off between efficiency and fairness is mentioned early, for instance. Students consider only the first in most introductory courses elsewhere.

(…)

Mainstream economic models rely heavily on the concept of equilibrium—a state in which nobody has an incentive to change their behaviour. Critics say this is never reached in the real world, so is a flawed starting point. They want more philosophical discussion about how best to approach economics, and point to Leeds, Greenwich and Kingston universities as models of how to do this.

The Demand Side – The Economist

***

Zakaj je zgodovina za Slovence tako travmatična?

V svojih čikaških študentskih letih sem se učil o kognitivni disonanci in o neizmerni potrebi vsakega človeka, da ohrani samospoštovanje. Brez spoštovanja do samega sebe ni identitete ter integritete osebe. Pride torej do dezintegracije osebnosti. S to grozljivo preteklostjo, s slovenskim kolektivnim umorom, ropom in prevaro se bo neposredno soočila verjetno šele naslednja generacija, ki ne bo imela problemov z identiteto in strahu in groze pred tem umorom “za-nič”, kot bi rekel Tine Hribar. Šele takrat bo poleg osamosvojitvenih vrednot za središče te nacije pripoznan tudi grozd zgodovinskih anti-vrednot: nie mehr, never again, nikoli več.

Peter Jambrek: “Nima smisla zapravljati časa za navidezno demokracijo” – Marko Crnkovič, Fokus Pokus

***

Neither Tsipras nor his party, Syriza, is tainted by their predecessors’ disastrous policies. This should be a good thing, as it could enable Europe’s leaders to understand at last that what is at stake in Greece is the fate of a people, not the survival of a failed political class. But Tsipras’s first decisions have antagonized the EU and created a climate of confrontation.

The problem is that Syriza is not truly an anti-austerity party. (…) Rather than criticizing austerity as a well-meant policy error, he condemns it as an assault on Greece, a neo-colonial imposition, or a hostile ideological project gone wrong. His language is one of resistance to conquest.

Thus, it is no accident that Tsipras chose the far-right Independent Greeks party as his coalition partner. Both parties speak the same language – that of virulent nationalism – used by Europe’s enemies, whether in Dresden or Moscow.

The Dark Side of Syriza – Pavlos Eleftheriadis, Project Syndicate

***

You can argue that Greece brought its problems on itself, although it had a lot of help from irresponsible lenders. At this point, however, the simple fact is that Greece cannot pay its debts in full. Austerity has devastated its economy as thoroughly as military defeat devastated Germany — real Greek G.D.P. per capita fell 26 percent from 2007 to 2013, compared with a German decline of 29 percent from 1913 to 1919. Despite this catastrophe, Greece is making payments to its creditors, running a primary surplus — an excess of revenue over spending other than interest — of around 1.5 percent of G.D.P. And the new Greek government is willing to keep running that surplus. What it is not willing to do is meet creditor demands that it triple the surplus, and keep running huge surpluses for many years to come.

Weimar on the Aegean – Paul Krugman, The New York Times

***

Even by the demanding standards of European dysfunction, the continuing standoff between Greece and the other euro countries is impressive. On substance, the distance between the two sides has narrowed almost to nothing — yet the stalemate and the risk of a new financial crisis drag on as if it were vast. The EU is staking the future of its monetary union not on principles but on semantics.

(…)

The need for a new deal isn’t seriously disputed. The existing bailout imposed too tight a fiscal squeeze, which held back growth. The country’s debt burden therefore failed to shrink as intended in relation to gross domestic product. The error has been widely acknowledged, including by the International Monetary Fund (one of the plan’s architects) and by other EU governments.

Designing new terms won’t be easy, but the case for a gentler program is compelling.

Europe and Greece Are at War Over Nothing – Bloomberg View, uvodnik

***

Anybody who thinks the loan package forced on Greece in 2010 (with the collusion of the Greek elites) was fair treatment should read the protests by every member of the IMF Board from the emerging market nations. With slight variations, all said Greece needed debt relief from the outset, not fresh loans that stored greater problems. All said the bail-out was intended to save foreign banks and the euro itself at a time when there were no EMU defences against contagion, not to save Greece.

(…)

It is a view shared by German eurosceptics such as Gunnar Beck, a legal theorist at London University.

“Germany’s leaders can’t let Greece leave the euro, and the Greeks know it. They will die in a ditch to defend the euro. This is our Eastern Front, our Battle of Kursk, and I’m afraid to say that it will end in unconditional surrender by Germany,” he said.

ECB risks crippling political damage if Greece forced to default – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph

***

With Germany saying Nein today just to extend talks without granting any concessions, it is now clear that the whole situation may actually blow up this time.

Greece will then have to make a tough choice. They will either need to accept total defeat and continue on with the terms of the bailout agreement, which would probably result in a Greek default in a few months time, or they can institute capital controls (which would restrict people’s ability to withdraw cash), default on the bailout now, and leave the euro.

Will the Grexit cause the euro to fall apart?

Germany may have just put the nail in Greece’s Euro zone coffin – Cyrus Sanati, Fortune

***

Gracy Olmstead: You write a lot about the importance of conservation—which, really, conservatism is supposed to be about. How have conservatives lost an understanding of proper conservation?

Wendell Berry: For those who enjoy absurdities—as I do, up to a point—“conservatives” opposed to conservation are vibrantly absurd and worth at least a grin. But such conservatives have achieved this amusing absurdity by a radical and dangerous narrowing of purpose. They apparently wish to conserve only the power and wealth of the most powerful and the most wealthy.

The conservation of wilderness and “the wild” seems now to be recognized as a project belonging exclusively to “liberals.” But that also is a dangerous narrowing of purpose. It is true that “liberal” conservationists also fairly dependably oppose the most excessive and sensational abuses of “the environment,” such as oil or slurry spills (in some places), surface mining (off and on, never enough), extreme pollution of air and water (mainly as it affects cities), and so on.

Wendell Berry, Burkean – Gracy Olmstead, The American Conservative

***

Most people have good ideas all the time, they just prefer not to notice them. Yet the authors just mentioned found solutions to conflicts that were bothering or even tormenting them, conflicts that must have seemed like holes or impossibilities at the time, and which eventually demanded a creative leap into a new way of seeing. Their imaginations were transformative, a going beyond, requiring that a new thing be made out of old things, which were then put together in shocking and disruptive combinations that are fresh even today.

It could easily be the case that unbearable conflict might produce depression or self-hatred. You could call depression a failure of the imagination, a self-sabotaging refusal to consider a creative solution or look forward. Such conflicts might also produce art, the work itself representing the “impossibility”.

What they don’t teach you at creative writing school – Hanif Kureishi, Daily Telegraph 

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