Tag: Christopher Lasch

The Second Time Around: James Traub on Neoliberal Technocracy

James Traub—last seen in the 1990s (when it was fashionable to shit all over public institutions that helped advance the cause of black and brown people) attacking Open Admissions at CUNY, which had done so much to make higher ed accessible to students of color—is back, calling, in the wake of Trump and Brexit, for a global realignment of political forces. In a blog post at Foreign Policy titled, “It’s Time for the Elites to Rise Up Against the Ignorant Masses,” Traub writes: One of the most brazen features of the Brexit vote was the utter repudiation of the bankers and economists and Western heads of state who warned voters against the dangers of a split with the European Union. … That is, chunks […]

The Bullshit Beyond Ideology

I have a great impatience with people who—whether for normative or empirical reasons (the second is often driven by the first)—claim that we need to dispense with terms like “left” and “right.” The world is too complicated, they say, for such simpleminded categories. We need a Third Way, they say (and have said since the French Revolution). My ideology is “neither Right Nor Left,” they say, which is what fascists so often said of themselves. I am beyond ideology. Some of the reasons for my impatience were laid out by the Italian political theorist Noberto Bobbio in a short masterpiece he penned in the last decade of his life: Left and Right: The Significance of a Political Distinction. But another reason has to do with the bad faith—and political […]

How We Do Intellectual History at the New York Times

You see, says Sam Tanenhaus, it’s not just that Thomas Piketty may be right, or that he’s been doing this research for years, or even that he’s tapping into widespread concerns about inequality. No, it’s that every decade, America needs an icon of ideas, who embodies in her person (rather than her arguments), the dream life of the nation. In the 1960s, it was Susan Sontag. In the 1970s, it was Christopher Lasch. In the 1980s, it was Allan Bloom. In the 1990s, it was Francis Fukuyama (who wrote his essay in 1989, but decades will be decades). In the 2000s, it was Samantha Power. Yes, Robert Putnam was a “gifted thinker,” but remember the Rule of Decades: you can […]