@fitnessfeelingz posted a recent Twitter thread arguing that Covid is a modern myth. By this he means not that the pathogen SARS-COV-2 is not real, but that the existence of the pathogen does not account for its manifold social and political impacts. To make sense of these, we turn to René Girard’s understanding of myth as a social technology that binds societies together in response to a common enemy. We consider how Covid-19 has come to perform this function, and why its limited efficacy in this regard only spurs more ritualized responses to it.
In The Mind of the Censor and the Eye of the Beholder, the legendary First Amendment lawyer exposes the tricks of today’s “anti-free speech movement.”
The history of censorship in the United States is a long and ugly one—and far from over. It’s also a deeply ironic tale, with seemingly successful attempts to stamp out unwanted expression ultimately giving way to more and more freedom of speech.
In The Mind of the Censor and the Eye of the Beholder, legendary First Amendment lawyer Robert Corn-Revere documents how attempts by legendary censors such as Anthony Comstock (the head of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, whose name became synonymous with priggishness), Fredric Wertham (the communist-friendly psychiatrist whose crusade against comic books changed the publishing industry), and Newton Minow (the sainted FCC chairman who memorably—and incorrectly—denounced television as a “vast wasteland”) ended up creating backlashes that undermined their attempts to control what Americans could read, watch, and listen to.
Corn-Revere tells me that although no one cops to being a censor these days, attempts to delegitimate the First Amendment are everywhere around us, especially when it comes to limiting speech in the name of supposedly protecting the feelings of religious, ethnic, and sexual minorities. “If you look at the history of this, you find it is the protection of individuals’ speech rights that has made all of the mass movements by minorities and previously marginalized people possible,” says Corn-Revere. “There wouldn’t have been a gay rights movement or a women’s movement. Certainly the civil rights movement was a defining time for protecting the speech of individuals.”
This week’s show is a continuation of last week’s show. The point of the effort is to describe the various aspects of the ruling regime. We don’t have a good name for this form of rule and one reason for it is it just sort of happened. Unlike various forms of socialism, there is no one guy at the center of it. It is the combination of historical and economic events over the last two centuries. The great contribution of Karl Marx was having a last name that made for a pithy label.
In last week’s show, I thought the segment on managerialism was the best, but it is also the most studied aspect of the system. We have 80 years of writing on the growth of the administrative state. This week I think the two segments that are most important are Custodialism and Quadripartism. This growing sense by our rulers that they need to take care of us is rising from and encouraging this blending together of the power centers of the American empire.
There is a feudal aspect to this arrangement. People think of feudalism as knights saving damsels in distress. That makes for good story telling, but it was really a fully integrated social control system. The reciprocal relationships between the warrior elites evolved into a set of customs governing all of society. The duties and responsibilities the warrior elite had with one another became a model for society. The life of every person was defined by his duties and responsibilities.
Something similar is happening with the power centers of the empire. They are working out the rules with which they regulate behavior towards one another. At the same time, they are working out rules to govern those within their domain. Instead of a code of chivalry it is terms of service. Like life in feudal Europe, people are either compliant or non-compliant. The compliant get the privileges and protection of the system while the non-compliant are fair game.
Source: The World State II | The Z Blog
Cultural critic Henry Giroux on his article “Amid Apocalyptic Cynicism, Let’s Embrace Radical Hope in the New Year” for Truthout.