Another World is Coming: Liberals, Socialists and the New Right

by Chris Horner The political world is changing again. In place of the neoliberal politics of the last decades, capitalism and the nation state is undergoing one of its periodic metamorphoses. The period of what Nancy Fraser has called ‘neoliberal progressivism’ – broadly progressive stances by many governments on issues of sexual choice, reproductive rights…

The Guilty and the Responsible

by Chris Horner Where all are guilty, no one is; confessions of collective guilt are the best possible safeguard against the discovery of culprits, and the very magnitude of the crime the best excuse for doing nothing. – Hannah Arendt. The quotation from Arendt is often thought to apply to the aftermath of the events…

The Valet and His Hero

by Christopher Horner When the legend becomes fact, print the legend. —The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (dir. John Ford) No man is a hero to his valet. —proverb The highest act of reason…is an aesthetic act. —Holderlin (attrib) Sometimes it seems that growing up and learning things is one long process of disillusionment. Dis-illusion:…

From ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ to ‘Succession’: Reading the Themes

by Chris Horner Two series have been streaming recently, to considerable success – The Queen’s Gambit (a Netflix miniseries, now concluded) and Succession (HBO, two series so far and more planned). They are interesting for a number of reasons – both for what they show, and perhaps more for what they do not, possibly cannot,…

Bloc Thinking

by Chris Horner Not long ago there was an article circulating on Facebook about ‘Hating the English’, originally published in a large circulation newspaper. The Irish author says something to the effect that once she thought it was just a few bad ones etc., but now she hates the lot of them. It’s been stimulated, I…

The Promise of Happiness

by Chris Horner Beauty is nothing more than the promise of happiness —Stendhal How can beauty promise happiness? And what kind of beauty would this be? What sort of happiness? Happiness and Beauty have been central issues for thinkers since antiquity, and the question of what they really are, and whether we should even prize…

Moral Relativism and the Concrete Universal

by Chris Horner There are some notions, ideas and arguments, that no matter how often they are exposed as fallacious, are rebutted and refuted, seem to recur again and again. Moral relativism is one of them.[1] Put simply, this is the view that one’s moral judgments are delimited by the culture or period in which…

A Shift In The Ethical Ground

by Chris Horner There are times when customary evils become outlandish and intolerable. Then there is a call for irreversible ethical change, a transformation of more than the way we judge this or that, times in which which old laws are struck down and new ones framed. I want to suggest that a change in…

Politics and the Beautiful Soul

by Christopher Horner If you want to deserve Hell, you need only stay in bed. The world is iniquity; if you accept it, you are an accomplice, if you change it you are an executioner. —Jean-Paul Sartre We need to learn, or re-learn, how to build comradeship and solidarity instead of doing capital’s work for…

Morbid Symptoms: COVID-19 and Pathologies in the Body Politic

by Chris Horner The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear. —Gramsci Does a crisis show us what we are ‘really like’? Whether it does or not, it has already been instructive to experience this one,…

Liberalism and our Present Discontents

by Chris Horner The political philosophy, and more importantly, political practice that took root in the wake of the ‘Age of Revolutions’ (say 1775-1848) was liberalism of various kinds: a commitment to certain principles and practices that eventually came to seem, like any successful ideology, a kind of common sense. With this, however, came a…