Telos Press http://www.telospress.com Critical Theory of the Contemporary Wed, 22 Jun 2016 04:03:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Britain, Europe, and the West: Reflections on the UK’s EU Referendum http://www.telospress.com/britain-europe-and-the-west-reflections-on-the-uks-eu-referendum/ http://www.telospress.com/britain-europe-and-the-west-reflections-on-the-uks-eu-referendum/#respond Wed, 22 Jun 2016 04:01:44 +0000 http://www.telospress.com/?p=6425 As a German national living in Britain for two decades, I have followed the political debate on whether the UK should stay in, or leave, the European Union (EU) with utter dismay. The two official campaigns have prophesied disaster of biblical proportion in the event of Britain either exiting (Brexit) or remaining (Bremain). Economic doomsday and a return to the violent state of nature in case of Brexit, as the “In” camp would have us believe. Alternatively, subjugation to a sinister super-state and marauding masses of migrants in case of Bremain, so say the “Out” camp.

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Christopher Lasch on Liberalism and Civic Virtue http://www.telospress.com/christopher-lasch-on-liberalism-and-civic-virtue/ http://www.telospress.com/christopher-lasch-on-liberalism-and-civic-virtue/#respond Tue, 14 Jun 2016 12:00:56 +0000 http://www.telospress.com/?p=6409 Christopher Lasch's "Liberalism and Civic Virtue," from Telos 88 (Summer 1991), seeks to gain a better understanding of the internal contradictions of liberalism in one of its most optimistic moments. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, Western economic and political liberalism stood as the last-remaining major ideology of the twentieth century. Amidst the euphoric optimism surrounding the "end of history," Lasch looks at the challenges that liberalism, with no major competitors on the world stage, poses to itself rather than those posed to it from the outside; for it might just be that liberalism itself is decaying like other major twentieth-century ideologies, though this process is merely delayed.

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Telos 175 (Summer 2016): Political Theory, Political Theology http://www.telospress.com/telos-175-summer-2016-political-theory-political-theology/ http://www.telospress.com/telos-175-summer-2016-political-theory-political-theology/#respond Mon, 13 Jun 2016 04:01:25 +0000 http://www.telospress.com/?p=6390 Critical theory inherited the mission of philosophy to know the world and to pursue the good life. Careful examination should shed light on the cosmos and our place within it and contribute to a beneficial ordering of human concerns, when wisdom informs governance. Yet that aspiration to know the world encountered the limits of intelligibility, beyond which reason could not proceed. Meanwhile, the efforts to remake the world in the spirit of reason elicited processes of rationalization, as deleterious to the world around us, the natural environment, as to the world within us, the ongoing cultural crisis of modernity and its social corollaries. That is Horkheimer and Adorno's dialectic of enlightenment at the foundation of the critical theoretical tradition that continues to provide a framework with which to articulate a critique of the contemporary in its many heterogeneous facets: the disruption of all forms of solidarity, the pressures on family structures, the erosion of educational opportunities, the growing gap between rich and poor. Add to this the ominous shifts in the international order, including the breakdown of state structures from North Africa through the Middle East, the strains on the European Union, and the return of a repressive semi-dictatorship in Russia, while—at this point in the presidential election season—the United States seems to be tumbling dangerously toward Weimar conditions.

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Reading Schmitt contra Schmitt http://www.telospress.com/reading-schmitt-contra-schmitt/ http://www.telospress.com/reading-schmitt-contra-schmitt/#respond Tue, 07 Jun 2016 14:00:28 +0000 http://www.telospress.com/?p=6405 In "On the Political: Schmitt contra Schmitt," Benjamin Arditi is occupied with the task of revitalizing Carl Schmitt, to open or retrace various interpretative paths that allow us to use Schmitt in trajectories that he did not envisage or did not pursue. Arditi takes his reader by the hand into an exploration of a series of issues arising from Schmitt's theory: disputes regarding the bellicose nature of the political, the identification of politics in the political, the charge of formalism, and the normative dimension of order.

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Refugees, Xenophobia, and Islamist Politics: Two Letters http://www.telospress.com/refugees-xenophobia-and-islamist-politics-two-letters/ http://www.telospress.com/refugees-xenophobia-and-islamist-politics-two-letters/#comments Mon, 06 Jun 2016 06:14:41 +0000 http://www.telospress.com/?p=6395 Mina Ahadi is an Iranian exile, living in Germany. She opposed the Shah as well as Khomeini. In 1990 she fled to the West. An adamant secularist, critical of all religion and therefore an opponent of Islamist politics, she does not appear to distinguish between "Islamic" and "Islamist" in her prose. She identifies herself as a communist, she is a leader in the "Central Committee of Former Muslims," and she is a principled defender of human rights. In two recent open letters, she stakes out positions that not only provide insight into contemporary German political discussions but that are directly relevant to U.S. debates as well.

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Sklar: Left and Right http://www.telospress.com/sklar-left-and-right/ http://www.telospress.com/sklar-left-and-right/#respond Thu, 02 Jun 2016 14:00:14 +0000 http://www.telospress.com/?p=6376 This is the fifth—and last—in a series of posts that introduce the thought of historian Martin J. Sklar, as a prelude to a print symposium on his life and work in a future issue of Telos. For a fuller introduction, refer to the head note to the first TELOSscope post. On the basis of his understanding of political economy (see the third post) and international relations (see the fourth post), and building on his longstanding critique of sectarianism and vanguardism in left-wing politics, in his last decade Sklar argued that U.S. politics were undergoing what he termed a "transvestiture of left and right," whereby each side of the political spectrum was (however unwittingly) adopting positions that are historically more in tune with the other end of the spectrum. Sklar's argument will be more fully articulated in the posthumously forthcoming book American Century and World Revolution. For now, the following selections provide a window onto his evolving thinking.

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