Living "Life as Art:" The Ana Kasparian Interview

In our most recent episode: "Living 'Life as Art:' the Ana Kasparian Interview," we revisit our most favorite theme. In a past episode titled, "Life as Art," we raised the question of what it would be like to treat consciousness, meaning, and even life itself as an aesthetic experience. Living life as an artistic process means to find the emotional strength and creative clarity to give one's life meaning, beauty, and value. In this episode we interview Ana Kasparian and discover how she found the emotional strength and the creative and intellectual energy to re-imagine her own life and career, and in doing so, has managed to re-define the social and political space. Powerful stuff. Enjoy. 

Listen on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/living-life-as-art-the-ana-kasparian-interview/id725224550?i=1000384293429&mt=2

Download MP3: http://traffic.libsyn.com/urdsu/Life_as_Art_Ana_Kasparian.mp3


Deconstruction of the Administrative State

In a recent interview, Stephen Bannon, the Chief Advisor and Intellectual Strategist of the Trump Administration, said that the Primary Goal of the Trump Administration is the "Deconstruction of the Administrative State." In our most recent episode, titled, "The Mythology of the 'Deconstruction of Administrative State,'" we examine Bannon's provocative assertion. Placing Bannon's assertion in the deeper historical and philosophical context of the Enlightenment, we demonstrate how Bannon is not only misinformed about the nature of the "Administrative State," but more importantly, how the strategies and policies of the Trump Administration are actually doing the very opposite of what they claim: They are deepening and almost perfecting the "Administrative State." Enjoy. 



The Crisis of Legitimacy of Meaning and the Rise of Informational Tribalism

Recently, Donald Trump stated: "The Past 'Phony' Jobs Numbers are now 'Very Real.'" In our last episode, "A Very (Brief) History of Truth," we investigated the philosophical meaning of the "Truth" and traced its historical transformation across different philosophical epochs. In our follow-up episode, "The Crisis of Legitimacy of Meaning and the Emergence of Informational Tribalism," we explore the crisis of meaning that threatens to destroy the very foundation of our social and political space. The emergence of "Fake News," "Alternative Facts," and the collapse of the "Fact/Value" Distinction has brought us to an unprecedented moment of Informational Tribalism where "Meaning" and "Reality" serve the Whims of those in power, or those who are willing to exercise power to impose their "Reality." Contrary to what many believe, Donald Trump is not the cause of this, but rather a symptom of a crisis in meaning and information that has now reaching its perfection. 



A (Very) Brief History of Truth

The headlines declare: We live in a Post-Truth world, characterized by Alternative Facts and Fake News. What the hell is going on? In our most recent episode, "A (Very) Brief History of Truth," we discuss the historical origin and philosophical meanings of the idea Truth. In order to try to disentangle what is meant by Post-Truth and alternative facts, we have to establish the philosophical assertions about Truth, trace the the transformation of the idea of Truth across historical epochs, and identify the boundaries and implications surrounding the debates about Truth. Only then can we investigate what Post-Truth and Alternative Facts really mean. Enjoy! 



Liberal Philosophy, Happiness, and Affluenza Anonymous

In our most recent episode, "Liberal Philosophy, Happiness, and Affluenza Anonymous," we continue our discussion of the Ancient-Modern debate surrounding the meaning and pursuit of Happiness. In this episode, we investigate the historical and philosophical origins of the Modern, Liberal conception of Happiness and investigate the personal and political consequences. Has the Modern, Liberal account of happiness made us happy?  Or, has it turned us into a culture of addicts and prepared the way for political authoritarianism?  Controversial stuff, no doubt. Enjoy.



Bloomberg Article:





Locke's Prerogative Power, Trump's Executive Order, and the 'Appeal to Heaven.'

In light of the extraordinary legal, social, and political events of the past week, we return to an examination of Locke's notion of Prerogative Power, The Take Care Clause, and Executive Orders.  In addition, we examine Locke's fascinating and terrifying analysis of what happens when there is a potentially irresolvable conflict in the political community between the citizens and the President about the legality and public good of the President's Executive Order.  Locke's famous statement that when this arises, there is only an "appeal to heaven" is code for the potential and justification for revolution. This is very serious stuff.




The Great Debate Between Hobbes and Locke Finally Settled?

While Hobbes and Locke are two of the most important thinkers of Modern, Liberal Political Philosophy, they had radically different views about the best sort of regime human beings could create through the Social Contract. According to Hobbes's pessimistic view of human nature, he believed individuals were too vainglorious and ambitious to create, and participate in, a representative democracy. Only an all-powerful authoritarian ruler would be able to keep the citizens in line and the state stable and secure. Locke took a different approach. Individually and passionately opposed to any form of monarchy or centralized power, Locke argued that individuals were more reasonable than Hobbes thought, and the civil institutions of society more deeply grounded. Human beings could, Locke argued, create a democratic form of government with limited power, and sustain the enterprise over time. As we know, Locke seems to have one the debate, but recent socio-cultural and political events may prove Hobbes right. 


The Philosophies and Tactics of War and the DAPL Protestors

In our most recent episode, "The Philosophies and Tactics of War and the DAPL Protestors," we examine the recent, alarming events at Standing Rock, North Dakota. Grounding our conversation in Locke's famous warning to all citizens, that if you are not vigilant and on guard against the extraordinary acquisition of power by government, then the day will come when your right to protest, resist, or alter the direction of power may be impossible. We have arrived at that day. There are two elements to Locke's warning. First, the acquisition of sophisticated technology and military instruments by government may make government power so overwhelming that physical and material resistance is impossible. Second, the decision by the government to deploy tactics and strategies of war on citizens will erode and ultimately dissolve the distinction between Citizen and Enemy Combatants. The recent decision by the government to threaten a Siege and denial of resources to protestors, to criminalize other citizens for attempting to supply protestors with food, medicine, and materials, and the FAA creation of a No-Fly Zone over the protest site, effectively demonstrate the government's deployment of Techniques and Strategies of War on Citizens. Siege and No-Fly Zones are both tactics of War. The threat of Siege, the criminalization of support for the protestors, and the creation of the No-Fly Zone effectively means that the government has declared war on its own citizens.



Boethius' Philosophy of Happiness and False Happiness

In our Thanks giving episode, "Boethius' Philosophy of Happiness and False Happiness," we explore Boethius' ancient and powerful account of human happiness and fortune. In this episode we investigate Boethius' philosophical and poetic fusion of Platonic philosophy and Stoicism. By identifying Boethius' account of Reason and Fortune, we are given deep insights into the meaning and purpose of human life, the emotional and rational strength necessary to survive the blows of Fortune, and the clarity to avoid being seduced by False Happiness. It is a perfect discussion in this time of giving thanks. 



Liberal Philosophy, Tolerance, and Where We Go From Here

In our first episode after the most controversial Presidential Election in American History, we return to a discussion of the fundamental and irreconcilable differences that generate Liberal Philosophy and the creation of American Democracy. Intimately connected to the recognition of irreconcilable difference is an understanding of what Tolerance is, and what it is not. We conclude with a discussion of where we go from here by contextualizing our current political situation in the historical and theoretical account of Locke's notion of Revolution and Civil Society. Enjoy. 



Answering the Big Questions: What can be done? Where will we be in Ten Years? Will Wikileaks' Revelations Lead to Political Transformation?

We are living in an existential, social, and political maelstrom. In our most recent episode, we take a step back from the flames and present the audio from our first Dungey State University Facebook Live Event. Here we respond to three critical questions: What can be done on the personal and political level? Where will we be economically and politically in ten years? And, will the Wikileaks' revelations lead to political transformation? Enjoy. 



The End of Legitimacy?

During the final Presidential debate, both candidates where asked, once again, if they would accept the outcome of the election. Before 80,000,000 viewers, Donald Trump said, "I'll tell you at the time. I'll keep you in suspense." Donald Trump made this extraordinary comment because he believes the "Election" is rigged. However, by "Election," Trump does not mean simply the technicalities of the voting process. When Trump claims the "Election" is rigged, he is referring to the entire economic, legal, informational, and political system. In response, Hillary Clinton recently stated that, "Trump's claims are an existential threat to Democracy." BOTH ARE RIGHT. In this episode we explore both claims and discuss what this means for the ritualized re-authorization of American Democracy. Enjoy. 



Machiavelli, Public and Private Positions, and Hillary Clinton

In a recently revealed document, Hillary Clinton said to a group of real estate investors, "you need both a public and private position." Earlier in the year, during a highly paid speech for executives at Deutsche Bank, Hillary Clinton said that she dreams of a "hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders." Just last week, speaking to unemployed and marginalized American workers, Hillary Clinton said that she opposes the Trans Pacific Partnership (hemispheric common market with free trade and open borders), and she will protect American manufacturing and jobs. In order to understand this, we situate HRC's Public/Private views in the historical and deeper theoretical context of Machiavelli's "The Prince." Caution: this is dark stuff. You may not like what you hear. Enjoy.



JS Mill's Philosophy of Anxiety and its Role in Personal and Political Transformation

This is the season of Political Anxiety. A recent article in Reuters recommends to Americans anxious about the current political environment to "stop reading the news and take up yoga." While yoga is a wonderful practice, we do not advise Americans to stop reading the news and tune out. In our latest episode, "JS Mill's Philosophy of Anxiety and its Role in Personal and Political Transformation," we investigate the powerful role anxiety, and bearing witness to anxiety, plays in our individual and political elevation. Anxiety, and the way it makes us uncomfortable, is the energy of growth and political improvement. Enjoy. 



Locke's Philosophy of Law, the State of War, and Wells Fargo

The only separating the State of War from the Political community is the law, and the willingness and ability of the legal and political institutions to enforce it. When individuals or corporations engage in deliberate, on-going, and pervasive criminal activity on a massive scale, and the legal and political institutions are unwilling or unable to criminally prosecute those responsible to the fullest extent of the law, then the law dies. When the law dies, tyranny emerges, and when tyranny emerges we return to the State of War. In our most recent episode, "Locke's Philosophy of Law, the State of War, and Wells Fargo," we investigate these issues and try to determine whether we live in a political society or a State of War. Enjoy. 



Donald Trump, Guns, and the On-Going Crisis of Political Legitimacy

In a recent speech about the issue of gun ownership in America, Donald Trump said about Hillary Clinton: "I think that her bodyguards should drop all weapons . . . I think they should disarm. Immediately . . . . Let's see what happens to her. Take their guns away . . . . It'll be very dangerous." Trumps comments set off a firestorm of criticism. In our most recent episode, "Donald Trump, Guns, and the On-Going Crisis of Political Legitimacy," we situate and analyze Trump's comments in the deeper, and more ominous context of the on-going erosion of the delicate line between a pre-political, unstable, and often violent existential condition, and the establishment of legitimate legal and political institutions designed specifically reduce violence and establish order through the authorization of legitimate uses of force. 



Colin Kaepernick, Martin Luther King, and the Philosophy of Protest and Civil Disobedience

Two weeks ago, Colin Kaepernick decided to "sit-out" the National Anthem. He did so to call attention to, and protest, what he believes to be systemic and institutional racism in American culture and law enforcement. His simple, passive, and non-violent protest ignited a firestorm of controversy and set into motion a national debate over the questions of patriotism and respect for the the American Flag. In our most recent episode, "Colin Kaepernick, Martin Luther King, and the Philosophy of Protest and Civil Disobedience," we attempt to situate Kaepernick's political activity in a deeper historical and philosophical context. Enjoy. 



Requiem for Liberal-Democratic Capitalism

In a recent editorial in the "Financial Times," the eminent British economics writer, Martin Wolf, warned that Liberal Democracy and Capitalism are heading for a cataclysmic rupture! In this episode, "Requiem for Liberal-Democratic Capitalism," we agree with Wolf's assessment, but argue that Mr. Wolf's analysis is at least two years late to the party. There can be no immanent rupture between Liberal-Democracy and Capitalism because these ideas no longer exist in the way that most people think they do. More interesting in Wolf's essay are his predictions for what is coming. Sorry again, Mr. Wolf, we are already there. 



Locke, the US Constitution and the New Machiavellian Prince

"In our fourth and final installment of our series on the transition from Liberal Democracy to Authoritarian Democracy, "Locke, the US Constitution and the New Machiavellian Prince." we examine the theoretical and political justifications for the emergence of a completely legitimate, Authoritarian Executive. In this episode we examine Locke's notion of Prerogative Power, the way this extraordinary idea/power is written into the US Constitution, and how this lays the foundation for the creation of an New, more Vigorous version of Machiavelli's Prince. Enjoy." 



Hobbes and the Democratization of the Prince

In Part 3, "Hobbes and the Democratization of the Prince," of our on-going series on the transition from Liberal Democracy to Authoritarian Democracy, we explore the way Hobbes agreed with Machiavelli's fundamental observations about human beings and the natural world, but rejected Machiavelli's political solution. In this episode we identify how Hobbes democratizes the Prince and in doing so creates a proto-form of Authoritarian Democracy. This move is both essential for the ultimate formation of Liberal Democracy and lays the foundation for its return to Authoritarian Democracy. Enjoy.