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Essays by

Jonny Thakkar

 

On Birthrights

Whatever one thinks about the moral status of the existing global order, it is hard to imagine circumstances in which philosophical critique would make a difference to it. What came about through the workings of power politics will almost certainly end, if it ever does end, through the workings of power politics. The question for politically engaged intellectuals is what to make of that fact.

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Quiet Time

For the first six hours of my daughter’s life, I felt no love for her. I smiled for my camera and I smiled for my wife, but what else was I going to do?

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Executive Decisions

Corey Brettschneider is a professor of political science at Brown University who has written extensively on constitutional law, freedom of expression and democratic rights.

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On Being an Arsehole

A few months into a cushy postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton, where the walls were a soothing yellow and poached salmon was a staple, it dawned on me that I could reasonably be considered an arsehole.

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Mobilizing Mutual Learning

I had come to Estonia hoping to find a certain strangeness, perhaps in the form of an administrative subculture where everyone spoke bureaucratese in their sleep—“Deliver the key player to the change agent! Mobilize the mutual learning action plan while there’s still time!” What I found was in some ways stranger.

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Bob Dylan’s Super Bowl Ad

Critics have been more than a little down on Bob Dylan’s Super Bowl spot: it seemed like a sellout and an embarrassing one at that. As a recovering Dylan-obsessive I can’t help thinking there was a bit more to it than that, and not just because Dylan likes to confound expectations.

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No Such Thing?

Insofar as economic inequality is the left’s principal field of battle in contemporary political life, the fact is that it has no real response to neoliberalism. Idealists without an ideal, moralists without morals, to be on the left today is frequently to be both helpless and hypocritical. Faced with such a predicament, hating Thatcher is the easy part.

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Socialism We Can Believe In

The problem was that neither Obama nor Occupy was able to give the idea of fraternity any real substance. For Obama, it seemed to imply campaign contributions; for Occupy, endless discussions.

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Hail Mary Time?

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of American sports from a European perspective is that for all their consumerist glitz, the leagues themselves are exemplary not of capitalism but its seeming opposite: socialism.

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Why Conservatives Should Read Marx

Every thriving political movement contains diverse and often warring elements bound together by little more than strength of feeling and the lure of power, so […]

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Examined Life

“Examined Life” cannot be a model for the serious yet popular philosophy we crave. But perhaps its most successful moments point to someone who can.

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Obama: Philosopher-King?

In hindsight, the Obama campaign was most notable for the passion it excited. After a period in which apathy seemed endemic to prosperous democracies, politics […]

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The Withering of Narcissus

Like mirrors, our profiles allow us to see ourselves as an outsider might. But lives do not come carved into Facebook’s categories.

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