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Right to resist

“The question of dethroning … will always be, as it has always been, an extraordinary question of state, and wholly out of the law; a question (like all other questions of state) of dispositions, and of means, and of probable consequences, rather than of positive rights. … The speculative line of demarcation, whee obedience ought to end, and resistance must begin, is faint, obscure, and not easily definable. It is not a single act, or a single event, which determines it. Governments must be abused and deranged indeed, before it can be thought of; and the prospect of the future must be as bad as the experience of the past. When things are in that lamentable condition, the nature of the disease is to indicate the remedy to those whom nature has qualified to administer in extremities this critical, ambiguous, bitter potion to a distempered state. Times and occasions, and provocations, will teach their own lessons. The wise will determine from the gravity of the case, the irritable from sensibility to oppression; the high-minded from disdain and indignation at abusive power in unworthy hands; the brave and bold from the love of honourable danger in a generous cause: but, with or without right, a revolution will be the very last resource of the thinking and the good.”

aus: Edmund Burke: Reflections on the Revolution in France. London u.a.: Penguin 1986 (1790), S.116/117.

06/22

 

24/06/2022 (17:31) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::

Tradition

“‘Traditions’ which appear or claim to be old are often quite recent in origin and sometimes invented. …

‘Invented tradition’ is taken to mean a set of practices, normally governed by overtly or tacitly accepted rules and of ritual or symbolic nature, which seek to inculcate certain values and norms of behaviour by repetition, which automatically implies continuity with the past. In fact, where possible, they normally attempt to establish continuity with a suitable historic past. …

‘Tradition’ … must be distinguished clearly from ‘custom’ which dominates so-called ‘traditional’ societies. The object and characteristic of ‘traditions’, including invented ones, is invariance. The past, real or invented, to which they refer imposes fixed (normally formalized) practices, such as repetition. … ‘Custom’ cannot afford to be invariant, because even in ‘traditional’ societies life is not so. Customary or common law still shows this combination of flexibility in substance and formal adherence to precedent. …

Convention and routine are not ‘invented traditions’ since their functions, and therefore their justifications, are technical rather than ideological. …

Sometimes new traditions could be grafted on old ones, sometimes they could be devised by borrowing from the well-supplied warehouses of official ritual, symbolism and moral exhortation – religion and princely pomp, folklore and freemasonry (itself an earlier invented tradition of great symbolic force) …

It is clear that plenty of political institutions, ideological movements and groups – not least in nationalism – were so unprecedented that even historic continuity had to be invented, for example by creating an ancient past beyond effective historical continuity. … It is also clear that entirely new symbols and devices came into existence as part of national movements and states, such as the national anthem (of which the British in 1740 seems to be the earliest), the national flag (still largely a variation of the French revolutionary tricolour, evolved 1790-4) or the personification of ‘the nation‘ in symbol or image …” 1

“Tartan – that is cloth woven in a geometrical pattern of colours – was known in Scotland in the sixteenth century (it seems to have come from Flanders …), the kilt … – unknown in 1726, … suddenly appeared two years later … its inventor was an English Quaker from Lancashire, Thomas Rawlinson … [there was] no differentiation of clans, no continuity of setts … in October 1745 … the Caledonian Mercury advertised a ‘great choice of tartans, the newest patterns’ …” 2

“[During most of the nineteenth century, British] royal ceremonies were … remote, inaccessible group rites, performed for the benefit of the few rather than the edification of the many. … For the majority of the great royal pageants staged during the first three-quarters of the nineteenth century oscillated between farce and fiasco. … Slowly … [then, a] coherent syntax and language of symbols and meanings emerged. In 1887, after fifty years on the throne, the Widow of Windsor was persuaded – although only with the greatest reluctance – to participate in a grand state pageant in London. It was, indeed, a risk, for her unpopularity made it impossible to predict what sort of reception she would receive. … Nevertheless, the resulting Golden Jubilee … was a great success. … Meticulous planning, popular enthusiasm, widespread reporting and unprecedented splendour were successfully allied. … Three people … were of major significance: … [While] Reginald Brett, Viscount Esher … provided the expertise and organizing flair, and Edward [VII] himself supplied the enthusiasm and support, it was Elgar, whose compositions raised ceremonial music … to mere works of art of their own right. …” 3

1) aus: Eric Hobsbawm: Introduction. Inventing Traditions. In: Eric Hobsbawm / Terence Ranger: The Invention of Tradition, Cambridge University Press, 2020 (Orig.-Ausgabe 1982), S.2-7.

2) aus: Hugh Trevor-Roper: The invention of Tradition: The Highland Tradition of Scotland, im selben Band, S. 18.23.

3) aus: David Cannadine: The Context, Performance and Meaning of Ritual: The British Monarchy and the ‘Invention of Tradition”, c.1820-1977, im selben Band, S.111-136

06/21

26/05/2022 (1:07) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::

De-Democratization 2

“In 2002 … we were dragged down by the swamp of the Hungarian left. … But, Dear Friends, in 2002 we … did not adopt a defensive attitude, … we played to win and proclaimed the Reconquista. …

The plan succeeded. In 2010 we came back. … Hungary is the laboratory in which we tested the antidote to dominance by progressives. … This spring Hungary has received its fourth dose, … the patient has been completely cured. The medication is open-source, free of charge, and comprises twelve points …

[1] … Play by our own rules. The only way to win is to refuse to accept the solutions and the paths offered by others. … Those who play by their opponents’ rules are certain to lose.

[2] … National conservatism in domestic politics. The cause of the nation is not a matter of ideology, nor even of tradition. The reason that churches and families must be supported is that they are the building blocks of the nation. … The Achilles heel of progressives is precisely that they want to impose their dreams on society. But for us that danger is also an opportunity, … one must find the issues on which the Left is completely out of touch with reality and highlight them …

[3] … The national interest in foreign policy. Progressives always think that foreign policy is a battle of ideologies: a battle between good and bad … Something is wrong with that concept. Our response should be …: the Nation First! Hungary First! America First! … We know that Ukraine is not defending Hungary. That is a nonsensical idea! … Our aim is to restore peace, not to continue the war, because that is what is in our national interest. Hungary First!

[4] … we must have our own media. We can only show up the insane ideas of the progressive Left if we have media that helps us to do this. … Naturally, the Grand Old Party, too, has allied media outlets, but they are no match for the liberals’ dominance of the media. My friend Tucker Carlson stands alone and immovable. His show has the highest audience figures. What does this mean? It means that there should be shows like his day and night – or, as you say, 24/7.

[5] … expose your opponent’s intentions. … We must not only break down today’s taboos, but also tomorrow’s taboos. … For instance, there is the issue of LGBTQ propaganda targeting children. This is still a new thing over here, but we have already destroyed it. We brought the issue out into the open and held a referendum on it. The overwhelming majority of Hungarians have rejected this form of sensitization of children. By revealing at an early stage what the Left were preparing for, we forced them on the defensive, and when they attacked our initiative they were eventually forced to admit the reality of their plan. …

[6] … economic policies that benefit the majority of voters. … In the final analysis people want jobs: people want jobs, not economic theories. … If a government of the right is unable to deliver all this, it is doomed to failure.

[7] do not get pushed to the extreme. … What is the difference between the denial of science by the extreme right and the denial of biology by LGBTQ movements? The answer is simple: there is no difference whatsoever. We must render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, unto God the things that are God’s, and unto Science the things that are Science’s. We may gain immense popularity on internet forums by promoting conspiracy theories – … but in reality we will alienate a large proportion of the electorate, find ourselves pushed to the margins, and eventually we will lose.

[8] … read every day. A book a day keeps the defeat away. … Reading … helps us to understand what our opponents think and where their thinking is flawed. If we know that, the rest is mere technique. … It is true that the spin doctor is a useful species; but understanding the problem is something that must be done by us as policymakers.

[9] … have faith. A lack of faith is dangerous. If you do not believe that there will be a final reckoning and that you will be held to account for your actions before God, you will think that you can do anything that is in your power. …

[10] … make friends. Our opponents, the progressive liberals and neo-Marxists, have unlimited unity: they have one another’s backs. By contrast, we conservatives are capable of squabbling with one another over the smallest issue. And then we wonder at how our opponents corner us. We do indeed possess intellectual sophistication, and we care about intellectual nuance. But if we want to succeed in politics, we should never look at what we disagree on, but instead look for our common ground. … Believe me, if we do not, our opponents will hunt us down one by one.

[11] … build communities. … The fewer communities there are and the lonelier people are, the more voters go to the liberals; and the more communities there are, the more votes we get. It is as simple as that. …

[12] … build institutions. For successful politics, one needs institutions and institutes. Whether they are think tanks, educational centers, talent workshops, foreign relations institutes, youth organizations or whatever, they should have a political aspect. Let us not forget: politicians come and go, but institutions stay with us for generations. They, the institutions, have the capacity to renew politics intellectually. New ideas, new thoughts and new people are needed again and again. If they run out, we will run out of ammunition, and our opponent will show no mercy in laying us low.”

… Progressives are threatening the whole of Western civilization … Progressive liberals, neo-Marxists intoxicated by the dream of wokeness, those in the pay of George Soros, the advocates of the open society. They want to abolish the Western way of life that you and we love so much: what your parents fought for during World War II and the Cold War, and what we fought for when we drove the Soviet communists out of Hungary.

My Friends,

We must take up the fight … We must take back the institutions in Washington and Brussels. … We must coordinate the movement of our troops, because we face a great challenge. … The Hungarian lesson is that we have no silver bullet. We only have work. We need to do it. Let’s go out and do it! Thanks and good luck!”

aus: Speech by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the opening of CPAC Hungary, Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister, Budapest, 19.5.22, im Internet.

05/22

21/05/2022 (22:58) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::

Russia 3

“In general, there is the sense that a country whose leaders have long had their finger on the pulse of the Kremlin has lost the count. ‘There used to be the sense: we know these people; they know us,’ the Finnish thinker and legal theorist Martti Koskenniemi told me. ‘But you can’t negotiate with a power that no longer knows where its interests lie. And if the power is more powerful than you are – and becomes in a sense crazy – then membership in Nato becomes reasonable.’ …

‘It’s not that we were very insecure yesterday, and will be very secure in Nato tomorrow,’ he says. ‘It’s that this is a negotiation with a country that can no longer negotiate, and so Nato membership helps clarify our position to them.’”

aus: Thomas Meaney: Finland and Sweden may join Nato – but even they can’t guarantee that will make them safer, Guardian Online, 18.5.22, im Internet.

05/22

18/05/2022 (21:49) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland and Scotland should join the Irish Republic together. That would solve all the problems at once: Protestants and Catholics would be at roughly the same numbers in the New Ireland – none of them could subdue the other. Nobody would have to start an application procedure to the European Union, as Ireland could claim similarity of its extension to Germany‘s. No additional seat needed in the Council of the European Union, only some additional MEPs. And no border in the Irish Sea! Even the Tories could be happy: Without Irish nor Scots, they keep their majority in Westminster :-)

05/22

06/05/2022 (23:37) Schlagworte: EN,Notizbuch ::

Progress 4

“I used to believe several things about the 21st century that Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and Donald Trump’s election in 2016 have shown me are false. I assumed:

[1] Nationalism is disappearing.

I expected globalization would blur borders, create economic interdependence among nations and regions and extend a modern consumer and artistic culture worldwide.

I was wrong. Both Putin and Trump have exploited xenophobic nationalism to build their power. (Putin’s aggression has also ignited an inspiring patriotism in Ukraine.)

[2] Nations can no longer control what their citizens know.

I assumed that emerging digital technologies, including the internet, would make it impossible to control worldwide flows of information and knowledge. Tyrants could no longer keep their people in the dark or hoodwink them with propaganda.

Wrong again. Trump filled the media with lies, as has Putin. Putin has also cut off Russian citizens from the truth about what’s occurring in Ukraine.

[3] Advanced nations will no longer war over geographic territory.

I thought that in the ‘new economy’, land was becoming less valuable than technological knowhow and innovation. Competition among nations would therefore be over the development of cutting-edge inventions.

I was only partly right. While skills and innovation are critical, land still provides access to critical raw materials and buffers against potential foreign aggressors.

[4] Major nuclear powers will never risk war against each other because of the certainty of “mutually assured destruction”.

I bought the conventional wisdom that nuclear war was unthinkable.

I fear I was wrong. Putin is now resorting to dangerous nuclear brinksmanship.

[5] Civilization will never again be held hostage by crazy isolated men with the power to wreak havoc.

I assumed this was a phenomenon of the 20th century and that 21st-century governments, even totalitarian ones, would constrain tyrants.

Trump and Putin have convinced me I was mistaken.

[6] Advances in warfare, such as cyber-warfare and precision weapons, will minimize civilian casualties.

I was persuaded by specialists in defense strategy that it no longer made sense for sophisticated powers to target civilians.

Utterly wrong. Civilian casualties in Ukraine are mounting.

[7] Democracy is inevitable.

I formed this belief in the early 1990s, when the Soviet Union had imploded and China was still poor. It seemed to me that totalitarian regimes didn’t stand a chance in the new technologically driven, globalized world. Sure, petty dictatorships would remain in some retrograde regions of the world. But modernity came with democracy, and democracy with modernity.

Both Trump and Putin have shown how wrong I was on this, too.

Meanwhile, Ukrainians are showing that Trump’s and Putin’s efforts to turn back the clock on the 21st century can only be addressed with a democracy powerful enough to counteract autocrats like them.

They are also displaying with inspiring clarity that democracy cannot be taken for granted. Democracy is not a spectator sport. It’s not what governments do. Democracy is what people do.

Ukrainians are reminding us that democracy survives only if people are willing to sacrifice for it. … You may have to knock on hundreds of doors to get out the vote. Or organize thousands to make your voices heard. And stand up against the powerful who don’t want your voices heard. You may have to fight a war to protect democracy from those who would destroy it.

The people of Ukraine are also reminding us that democracy is the single most important legacy we have inherited from previous generations who strengthened it and who risked their lives to preserve it. It will be the most significant legacy we leave to future generations – unless we allow it to be suppressed by those who fear it, or we become too complacent to care.

Putin and Trump have convinced me I was wrong about how far we had come in the 21st century. Technology, globalization and modern systems of governance haven’t altered the ways of tyranny. But I, like millions of others around the world, have been inspired by the Ukrainian people – who are reteaching us lessons we once knew.”

aus: Robert Reich: Putin and Trump have convinced me: I was wrong about the 21st century, The Guardian online, 13.3.22, im Internet.

03/22

13/03/2022 (15:15) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::

Speaking

“If I don’t say them, it will put me in an even more dangerous situation. But if I say them, change may occur. To speak is better than not to speak: if everyone spoke, this society would have transformed itself long ago. Change happens when every citizen says what he or she wants to say; one person’s silence exposes another to danger.”

aus: Ai Weiwei: 1000 years of joys and sorrows. London: Bodley Head 2021, S.264.

Abb.: Ai Weiwei: Remembering. She lived happily in this world for seven years. 2009, im Internet.

03/22

04/03/2022 (2:55) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::

Art 2

“Dumpsters are everywhere in the streets of New York City, and you could probably find a number of masterpieces in them. I must have moved about ten times during my years in New York, and artworks were the first things I threw away. I had pride in these works, of course, but once I’d finished them, my friendship with them had ended. I didn’t owe them, and they didn’t owe me, and I would have been more embarrassed to see them again than I would have been to run into an old lover. If they were not going to be hanging on someone else’s wall, they didn’t count as anything at all. …

[Back in Beijing] young artists often came to me for counseling and like a traditional Chinese physician dispensing cures, I would … offer a prescription …: they should make no effort to please other people and just concentrate on preserving their vital energy. To conventional culture, I said, art should be a nail in the eye, a spike in the flesh, gravel in the shoe: the reason why art cannot be ignored is that it destabilizes what seems settled and secure. Change is an objective fact, and whether you like it or not, only by confronting challenges can you be sure you have enough kindling to keep the fire in your spirit burning. Don’t try to dream other people’s dreams. …

Art should be recognized, yes, but not in the form of expensive collectibles to be deposited in MoMA storage to molder – that’s simply a waste. … To me, art is a dynamic relationship with reality, with our way of life and attitude to life, and it should not be placed in a separate compartment. I have no interest in art that tries to keep itself distinct from reality.”

aus: Ai Weiwei: 1000 years of joys and sorrows. London: Bodley Head 2021, S.189, 201 und 234.

Abb.: Ai Weiwei: Hanging Man, 1985, im Internet.

03/22

04/03/2022 (0:14) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::

Opinion research (USA)

“Fortunately for all of us, … we are not living in a ‘post-truth‘ world. We are not on the brink of a civil war. The perception that we are is almost purely an artifact of people taking poll and survey data at face value

For instance, in the wake of the 2016 election, Trump claimed to have had higher turnout at his inauguration than Barack Obama did. … Respondents knew perfectly well what the correct answer was. However, they also had a sense of how that answer would be used in the media (‘Even Trump’s supporters don’t believe his nonsense!’), so they simply declined to give pollsters the response they seemed to be looking for.

As a matter of fact, respondents regularly troll researchers in polling and surveys – especially when they are asked whether or not they subscribe to absurd or fringe beliefs …

However, many academics and pundits do not seem to be in on the joke. Instead, post-2016, a consensus quickly emerged from credulous readings of polls and surveys that America is facing an epidemic of ‘fake news’, which was leading people to believe things that were obviously false …

Contrary to narratives that have grown especially ubiquitous in recent years, Americans are actually not very far apart in terms of most empirical facts. We do not live in separate realities. … Indeed, when respondents are provided with incentives to answer questions accurately (instead of engaging in partisan cheerleading), the difference between Democrats and Republicans on factual matters often collapses. …

There is strong evidence that many of the surveys and polls indicating support for, or openness towards, political violence hugely overstate actual levels of support in the American public. …

In general, behaviors are often a stronger indicator than attitudinal data for understanding how sincere or committed people are to a cause or idea. The number of people who are willing to rhetorically endorse some extraordinary belief tends to be much, much higher than the subset who meaningfully behave as if that claim is true. …

The big lie is no exception. … In a world where 74 million voted for Trump, and more than … than 50 million people … actually believed that the other party had illegally seized power and now plan to use that power to harm people like themselves, the events of January 6 would likely have played out much, much differently.

Indeed, had even the 2,500 people who assembled on the Capitol arrived armed to the hilt, with a plan to seize power by force, … things would have gone much, much differently. … Even when they breached the Capitol, most had no information about the layout of the building, little knowledge about the proceedings they were ostensibly striving to disrupt, and no clear agenda of what to do once they got inside.

There was a small number, dozens perhaps, who showed up to the Capitol with a clear intent to forcibly overturn the election … Yet, critically, even these actors were … motivated in part by frustration with the former president’s apparent inaction. In their telling, Trump himself wasn’t acting like he believed his own rhetoric. … The Oath Keepers hoped to engage in a radical act that would push the president to actually behave as if the election was stolen and the republic was on the line. …

Of course, even tiny numbers of genuine extremists like these can be extremely destabilizing under the right circumstances. Had Oath Keepers breached the Capitol instead of being repelled … January 6 could have played out much differently.

Nonetheless, there is a huge difference in talking about identifying and disrupting small numbers of highly committed individuals willing to engage in revolutionary political violence v tens of millions of Americans genuinely believing the election was fraudulent and being open to violence as a means of rectifying the situation. …

The good news is that the second problem, the tens-of-millions-of-Americans problem, is not real. It is an artifact of politicized polling design and survey responses, followed by overly credulous interpretations of those results by academics and pundits who are committed to a narrative that half the electorate is evil, ignorant, stupid, deranged and otherwise dangerous.

In fact, rather than January 6 serving as a prelude to a civil war, the US saw lower levels of death from political violence in 2021 than in any other year since the turn of the century. Even as violent crime approached record highs across much of the country, fatalities from political violence dropped. …

Indeed, far from giving up on elections, Republican voters are reveling in the prospect of taking back one or both chambers of Congress at the end of this year; they are eagerly awaiting the midterms (likely for good reason). …

In truth, most Republican voters likely don’t believe in the big lie. But many would nonetheless profess to believe it in polls and surveys … Within contemporary rightwing circles, a rhetorical embrace of the big lie is perceived as an act of defiance against prevailing elites. It is recognized as a surefire means to ‘trigger‘ people on the other team. …

For many reasons, this situation is also far from ideal. But it’s a very different (and much smaller) problem than partisans actually inhabiting different epistemic worlds and lurching towards a civil war. Glass half full.”

aus: Musa al-Gharbi: No, America is not on the brink of a civil war. It’s time to tell the truth about the big lie, The Guardian Online, 27.1.22, im Internet (mit massenweise Links zu Studien, die die aufgeführten Behauptungen belegen).

Abb.: Erika Rothenberg: American Statistics: The Sun and the Earth, 2021, im Internet.

01/22

28/01/2022 (13:12) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::

Stateless

“Nguyen Thi Thanh Mai is a young Vietnamese artist focusing on the plight of refugees of war and how displacement shapes a person’s identity and citizenship. Her projects worked directly with refugee communities in Tonle Sap Lake in Siem Reap province, Cambodia, and the border province of Long An, Vietnam whose populations are stateless and in the shadows of legitimacy; neither Vietnamese nor Cambodian. One of her interactive installations, ‘ID Card,’ is a collection of recycled fabric fashioned into identification cards for 340 refugees that have no official form of identification and therefore cannot secure employment, go to school, or establish residency.”

aus: Southeast Asia’s Activist Art Revolution, Asia-Society, New York, im Internet.

Abb.: Nguyễn Thị Thanh Mai, ‘ID Card’, 2014, im Internet.

01/22

24/01/2022 (13:15) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::
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