Posts Tagged

Ideology

  Big vs. small government, Blue vs. Red states, the Union vs. the Confederacy: each of these pairings represents different iterations on a recurring theme in the history of American politics. Now, more than ever in recent memory, these competing ideologies are emerging as polar opposites that threaten to drive the US political establishment into a stalemate. For progressives, there is the warranted fear that this deadlock is quickly devolving into a zero-sum game, in which the extreme conservatism of the Right has already won. As I watched the Tea Party-sponsored Republican debate, I was disturbed by the lack of compassion for the disadvantaged touted by several of the candidates, Ron Paul in particular. Bolstered by applause from the audience, …

Pardon the self-promotion: I reviewed a new book on Reinhold Niebuhr, a theologian and realist political thinker during the Cold War, in last week’s Economist. Niebuhr died in the 1970’s but both Democrats and Republicans lean on his advice (even if misread) to guide their modern foreign policy views. Here is a snippet from my review of the book, Why Niebuhr Now?, by John Patrick Diggins, the late American intellectual historian. AFTER years in the doldrums, Reinhold Niebuhr, an American theologian, is enjoying a comeback. Although Niebuhr died in 1971, he is nowadays often name-dropped in opinion columns and highbrow chat as the ideal mind to help guide 21st-century political leaders through the ups and downs of world affairs. It …

As regular denizens of Oxford’s Centre for Political Ideologies (a research centre in the DPIR) know, unlike most branches of political theory and political philosophy, studying ideologies requires more than unpacking the canonical texts of great thinkers. Not always bad things (like totalitarianism or fundamentalism), ideologies occupy the space between ivory tower ideas and day-to-day politics and thus come in many forms – speeches, slogans and sermons. But even ideology-focused students, including your blogger, forget to look for political messages in more creative spaces. Like dance. Luckily this is what my Dphilling colleague Dana Mills, an accomplished dancer herself, focuses on most. Dana always urges me to look at the similarities between my word heavy work on liberalism and the …