Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Fukushima, mon cher DSK

by proximity1 Wed May 18th, 2011 at 10:47:02 AM EST

 This is for comments on "l'affaire DSK" from a broader view.  It was gently suggested that a how-it-(may)fits-into-a-larger-picture approach would be better done in a separate space from the DSK-Part III thread.

  So, if you are one, as am I, of those who are fairly condemned to take a very wide and long perspective on the meaning and import of the news of the day, then this thread is for you--er, us.

Read more... (4 comments, 1859 words in story)

Authors & Books of the Year, 2009*

by proximity1 Sun Nov 1st, 2009 at 11:53:36 AM EST

  Books / Authors of the Year, 2009

    Here are my nominees, subjectively chosen, of course, for best (most important) political books of the year for 2009---with Emmanuel TODD's November 2008 publication included, since it's just a year out from its publication.

Read more... (6 comments, 221 words in story)

More thoughts on Lakoff and conceptual framing...

by proximity1 Sun Jul 2nd, 2006 at 03:51:00 PM EST

In Lakoff's view, the conservative political element has done such an effective job of «framing», that, for important segments of the public, some or many issues may be considered largely and conclusively already framed to the benefit of conservative interests and thus the openings in public consciousness for opposing views of the crux of issues are fewer and farther between than is the case for conservative views.

    Framing, then, by Lakoff's view, is a subtle process which predisposes large parts of the public to think in some desired manner.  Frames are to be thought of as accepted as by second-nature and thus too difficult for too many people to discern for themselves unless they are reminded to do so.   Fortunately,  with practice, these same people can learn to detect and counter their opponents' framing efforts and, moreover, it is in the deft use of their own concept-framing practices that  conservatives' opponents can advance their arguments just as it is in alertly detecting their opponents' framings and countering them that the best hope lies for disarming them.  

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Conceptual Framing as a political tool....

by proximity1 Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 02:01:03 PM EST

 How important, how effective is "framing the debate" in political discourse?

 Are Republicans beating up on Democrats in large part because the Democrats are very poor at conceptual framing?

 This diary is to pursue an exchange started with Migeru, whose alleged nerdiness seems to be much to his advantage in this discussion, since he has interesting things to say about "framing".

 More, for fellow nerds, below the fold.

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Communiqué of 16 June from URFIG's Raoul Jennar...

by proximity1 Tue Jun 20th, 2006 at 07:50:05 AM EST

I propose below an english translation of

"Libéraux de droite et de gauche réclament une Europe euro-américaine"
 --a communiqué from Raoul Jennar, posted at the urfig.org site in its original french version.

 ( To access the original text, open the link above and select the title as indicated here above.)

 Note: in translating "Libéraux", I chose the term "plutocrats" as this is the term which to me most precisely and accurately describes in english what is meant in french by "libéraux".  That is a choice which some may dispute. But, in taking the defintion of "plutocracy" found in the Oxford Concise Dictionary of English (government by an élite wealthy minority), I believe I'm more accurately presenting the term than could be done by the literal translation as "liberals", which, in english, carries many and contradictory conotations.

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Recommended reading list -- part 2 : internet references...

by proximity1 Mon Jun 19th, 2006 at 04:06:25 PM EST

To supplement the recommended reading list now residing in the ET Wiki, this "Part 2 recommeded reading list" is a selection of internet sites for useful reference reading on a variety of topics of interest. (the intra-document hyperlinkage may not work here yet, as I'm not sure how this is done. But the website hyperlinks ought to work. Please report any errors below. Thanks.)

Note to the user:

New entries may now be incorporated into existing topical headings. These are indicated by a note "added on dd/mm/yyyy" where m=month, d=date, etc. Use the CTRL+"f" combination and search for new entries by date or by key-terms "added". (09/07/2006)

Additions to the list were last made on:

09 July, 2006 at 19:30 UTC

Corrections to the existing entries were last made:

24 June, 2006 at 15:00 UTC

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Recent musings ... How about an " IDICP " ?

by proximity1 Thu Jun 15th, 2006 at 03:11:45 PM EST

 An International Directory of Internet-Based Cooperative Projects --

 Do you know of such a thing existing already?  If so please let us know more below...

 What does the above title indicate to you (as a name)?  Is it descriptive and informative?  If you were to name such a directory, what would you call it?

Read more... (1 comment, 247 words in story)

Little children shame us...

by proximity1 Wed Jun 14th, 2006 at 09:14:38 AM EST

 A few weeks ago, Nicolas Sarkozy, currently the Interior Minister of France and an odds-on favorite for his party's nomination in the next presidential race in 2007, sent out letters to the parents of hundreds of minor-aged school-children who are enrolled officially in french schools, informing the parents that they should prepare to leave France by a date-certain or face deportation by the authorities because these parents, whatever the legal status of their school-aged children may be, are not legal residents in France.

The reaction of these targeted children's class-mates at a number of schools was as categorical as it was immediate: no measure should be spared to prevent their friends from being removed from their school and deported.

 The children made banners, posters, colored messages of support, wrote and recorded poems and songs of support, drafted letters to officials and signed and sent them jointly, assembled with their parents and teachers in protests--all of this in coordination with a spontaneously-formed group called "Schools Without Frontiers"--a variation on Doctors / Journalists Without Frontiers.

From the diaries - whataboutbob ?

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Special to Poemless and Drew -- and _you_, too!

by proximity1 Mon Jun 12th, 2006 at 08:45:17 AM EST


 A while ago poemless wrote in
The Classroom of your mind : "I feel nothing I've read to date has adequately prepared me for this insanity I see around me. I can look within my heart and all, but surely some French philosopher or Italian novelist has more insight than this 31 year old American girl."

 There is in that felt need something of the same impulses which drove me to start up the "Intro to ' Europe as a buffer" diary.

 I had been looking for some useful frame in which to place and organize some of the most important political movements going on now all around us--this includes the left bank of the Atlantic particularly, but also the right bank, too.


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What are some steps to your vision of a more just society?

by proximity1 Sun Jun 11th, 2006 at 06:49:37 AM EST

your vision of steps to a more just society?

It's that, I think, to which most of us here are convinced we would like to contribute--a more just society, as we see it. If that misrepresents you, please speak up. The object of this diary is to call attention to some observations about our predicament in advancing toward visions of that more just society which the recent diaries of rdf (Robert's « 50 years of US(no) progress ») and Jared (on the YOYO [' You're On Your Own' ] policies of certain conservatives), taken together, bring into greater relief.  

50 Years of US (no)Progress by rdf

  The YOYO Handcuffs by Jared

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a proximity1 recommended reading list -appendable

by proximity1 Thu Jun 8th, 2006 at 11:31:43 AM EST

 The following list of recommended reading is a 'work-in-progress'.  There are authors whose listed works I've read, or am reading or intend to read.  Your corrections, comments and suggestions are welcome. I also hope, by this page which shall be available in the site's 'Wiki' archive, to encourage other ET participants to list their recommended reading under the "Arts & Culture" rubric for the benefit of the rest of us.

Though it should not be necessary, perhaps it would not hurt to remind the reader that the mere presence in the list of an author or a title should not be interpreted as necessarily an endorsement of the views of the author or of the arguments in the work listed.  If I list Leo Strauss or Niccolo Machiavelli, for example, it's because I believe that they have important things to teach us--and this could be as much by what they got wrong in their work as what they got right.  Indeed, it may be that authors' errors in their theory teach us more than works in which there is little with which to find fault.

Finally, we ought to assume that there are faults and weaknesses in every work and that our task as readers is to uncover the faults and profit by them.  It is in recognizing the faults as well as the valid points that we can benefit from a writer's work--whether we happen to agree with his main thesis or not.

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"Nation", not a "real", but a _necessary_ construct ?

by proximity1 Mon Jun 5th, 2006 at 10:31:41 AM EST

 This little diary takes its point of departure from DoDo's previous discussions of the concept of a "nation", and that it is more particularly an abstraction, a construct which cannot be said to have any "objective" existence.

Here's a quote from DoDo, drawn from a thread:

"No, objective nonexistence means I can't live in them, I just live among people who believe they exist :-) Upon checking I see I discussed my views on this subject months before your arrival (in my apatriot diaries and poemless's and others' what-is-Europe diaries, if you can be bored to dig up some overlong discussions :-) ). But I note that your point, especially given the apt collusion to religions, would be even enhanced if nations are only personal beliefs.

  found here

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Karl Popper on democracy via institutions...

by proximity1 Wed May 31st, 2006 at 02:35:26 PM EST

  As Gary J pointed out in the thread of a discussion about the Euro Constitution treaty referendum, it is only via institutions which democratic principles can be preserved and practiced.

 This insight is one that is badly needed today in many quarters of the political arena.  

 To promote some more thought and discussion of it, I'm putting into the debate an extended quote from Popper's The Open Society and It's Enemies as a diary entry.  It seems to me that, as a group which seeks to make and have a place for itself in the opening and promotion of debate in furtherance of a free, fair and united Europe, the membership of Eurotribune could surely do worse than making itself vigorous advocates of an understanding of democratic practice and of the institutional foundations that these require--as so ably explained in the following quotes of Popper's text.

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Intro to "Europe as a Buffer " -- please pick this apart...

by proximity1 Sat May 27th, 2006 at 12:49:16 PM EST

 (paraphrase) There is no 'Democrat' or 'Republican' way to pick up the garbage.
-- Fiorello Enrico LaGuardia  (December 11, 1882-September 20, 1947)  Mayor of New York from 1934 to 1945.

For much of their political history until roughly the end of World War II, with the exception of a few notable episodes, most of the people of the United States have acted as though they accepted as a given that, between the two main political parties, Republicans and Democrats, there was broad general agreement about what constituted the basic principles of democratic government. These were typically understood as the principles  set out in the text of the Constitution and its amendments.    There was even, for much of the public, a broad agreement about what were assumed to be the basic interests of the nation, its essential rôle in the community of nations, and about how to recognize the constituents of political freedom, economic prosperity and social progress--these latter being, for many practical purposes, almost considered as hardly distinguishable.

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by proximity1 Fri May 26th, 2006 at 11:28:25 AM EST

                 Whither  Europa ?

    Bless my soul!  I had not known before yesterday that, by arguing in defense of the belief that society has far more to gain by trying its best to ignore gender distinctions in all instances where value judgements are to be made about the just bestowal of rights or privileges than it does by interjecting gender as valid factor--deliberately  reserving a priori half of the praise , half of the blame, half of the prizes,  half of  the places, to one sex and the other half to the other sex, I was speaking in direct opposition to now-established European Union policy in some regards.

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Arbitrary and secretive use of power--has it always been thus?

by proximity1 Thu May 25th, 2006 at 04:06:39 PM EST

 Questions to the gallery ( in aid of my avoiding erroneous pictures of US political history in a diary I am writing up.)

  The diary concerns these essential points--

  In it I seek to argue that there are two very important aspects in which the Bush administration represents one of the most radical and dangerous departures from ordinary American political practice.  Second, it's an appeal for Europeans and their governments to recognize this state of affairs and do two things in response: 1) offer themselves as counter-examples to the American public and its government and 2) speak up and out about the dangerousness of these features of Bush's regime and what they mean for liberal democracies in the old-fashioned sense of liberal democracies--i.e. open societies based on the rule of law as administered through transparent and accountable institutions.

 So, what are the two main dangerous departures I have in mind?

  More below the fold --

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I found the limits of free speech toleration...

by proximity1 Mon May 22nd, 2006 at 04:33:44 PM EST

 It seems that I found the limits of free speech toleration practiced by the management of the Dailykos when I posted a comment in a thread which called into question the assumption that going off to fight in the Iraq war equals bravery.

Read more... (18 comments, 560 words in story)

War of Ideas-- On the sources of Bush's appeal & Poll

by proximity1 Fri May 5th, 2006 at 01:46:02 PM EST

In the just-published issue of Le Monde Diplomatique  http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2006/05/RAMONET/13422 , editor Ignacio
Ramonet presents a main feature called "War of Ideas". Among the articles is
one by Serge Halimi entitled, "Stratagème de la droite américaine,
mobiliser le peuple contre les intellectuelles".

(sorry, I could not make the lovely links appear without all the // stuff. )  

Read more... (7 comments, 1222 words in story)

Historicism II

by proximity1 Thu May 4th, 2006 at 02:54:01 PM EST

Historicism is a tendency, more or less pronounced, to see history as an unfolding process which is directed and informed by some fundamental principles or laws and which, when correctly discerned by the careful observer, not only reveal a kind of ordering sense to all that has happened in humanity's past, but which  also, just as much and more importantly, must reveal the direction and, with it, the meaning « behind » what unfolds in the present and in what is to come, in what, indeed, must come next.   The ways in which such a tendency of thought can express itself are quite varied.  It entails more than a search for patterns in the past or present, more than an attempt to draw « lessons » from a selection of historical facts.  It assumes, rather, that there is a general meaning and direction of all human existence--or even, for some, of all existence, human and otherwise--which, once grasped, should help inform us  as to what our destinies are to be as societies, as a civilization.  

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Common persistent errors (CPE) [ I ]

by proximity1 Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 02:40:25 PM EST

 Common persistent errors (CPE) [ I ]

      It isn't only in times of war, deep social division or economic upheaval that we ought to be on the look-out for common persistent errors in our everyday assumptions about politics, economics and other social phenomena.  There are always these factors at work--creating more or less havoc in our thinking, confusing us and misleading us into making sometimes catastrophic mistakes or supporting others bent on making them in our name.

Historicism [ I ]

   "Historicism" is the name coined by the Austrian-born philosopher, Karl Raiman Popper (1902-1994), to describe one--or rather a whole class of--such error.  He offers a detailed look at what he calls historicism (not to be confused with "historism") in two major works: "The Open Society and Its Enemies" (in two volumes) and "The Poverty of Historicism" (both published by Taylor & Francis's Routledge division).

  In this and subsequent diaries I want to present the main features of Popper's views on historicism and use his examples as an introductory guide--while trying to avoid the heavy use of citations from his books--to try and illustrate examples of some mischief currently in practice and due to this common persistent error in reasoning, "historicism".  It is the sort of error which is so multiform in its occurrence, so appealing, so seductive and subtle, that it has been the source of mistakes by some of the most brilliant minds in history starting, most notably, with Plato and continuing uninterrupted down to the present.

   The fundamental errors which led and continue to lead the Bush administration and in particular that group commonly referred to as "neo conservatives" within it to make such costly errors as the invasion and occupation of Iraq and  the "War on Terrorism", to mention only two, are, I'll try and show, prime examples of historicism at work today.

   Once you have a well-founded understanding of what historicism is and what its signature features are, you'll have little or no trouble recognizing examples of it around you.  

   There is ample information on the life and writing of Karl Popper easily available from Internet sites.  Those who prefer to do so can skip my discussion and simply read Popper's two works mentioned above for themselves and get a far fuller and better exposition than I'll be able to offer here.  I assume, however, that most people reading this won't do that; and so as an alternative to leaving many with no more than a few book references, I regard it as important enough to take some time and put forth in a number of diary entries some of the most important elements of historicism, so powerful is it in its light-shedding effect.

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