Showing posts from January, 2018

The Holocaust and the Risk of Silence

On Friday, I gave an introduction at our Jockey Club to selections from Hegel's Philosophy of History (the 1830 Lectures on World History). During the discussion, a debate erupted regarding whether the Holocaust was comparable to other historical atrocities—whether every century and people have suffered their own respective catastrophes, therefore rendering Auschwitz a symbol of the defining tragedy of the 20th century in the West.  This affirmation of a type of historical relativism was, of course, not swallowed easily by everyone present. It prompted additional conversations between friends after the Jockey Club about what is so unique about Auschwitz. Why is it utterly incomparable to other historical disasters? What type of violence does it do the lives of its victims and survivors to relegate their fate and experience to just another bad period in the course of history? Emil Fackenheim explored exactly this question in To Mend the World . He there expresses the key issu

Trump's Inconsistent Tweets: Why He Doesn't Serve You

Today in a vague tweet, Donald Trump expressed a new position on the role of CHIP (the Children's Health Insurance Program) in the proposed short-term (stop-gap) funding bill. This confused both the Republican and Democratic parties mere hours before the House was set to vote on the latter. Trump's tweet that "CHIP should be part of a long term solution, not a 30 Day, or short term, extension" contradicted the official position of the White House (in support of the bill) and forced the House Speaker Paul Ryan to exert damage control, stating " I am sure where he stands. He fully supports passing this legislation. " Members of his own party were set into a frenzy trying to " decipher " the tweet.  I've been thinking about the social and political significance of the President tweeting a policy position that disorients the public, his own party and the opposition.  It firstly demonstrates that Donald Trump does not conceive of himself