2. People cannot eat ideology. [On starvation in Venezuela in the serve of its ideological state building project (here, and here)].
3. Ideology cannot cure the sick; but it serves as a tonic for those who can afford it. [On the problems of insurance markets based health care programs (here) and on preparations to repeal Obamacare (here, and here)].
4. The paradox of American progressives--orthodoxy that freezes progress to a time, place, and form. [the political relevance of identity politics (here)]
5. The paradox of American orthodoxy--progress, that fatal inability to preserve intact the spirit and approaches of a time, place, and form. [the political relevance of traditional conservatism (here)]
6. The politics of legitimacy replaces that of values; or rather has made values impervious to politics. [On the debates about the legitimacy of Donald Trump (here, here, here, and here)].
7. The grand gesture at the end of a term of office tends to have the inverse of its effect had it been made at the beginning of that term of office; the former speaks to cowardice in politics, the latter to courage. [The U.S. actions around the U.N. vote on Israeli settlements and the Secretary of State's speech in justification (here, here, here, here, here and here) and the U.S. National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (here)].
8. A politician invoking a principle is like a criminal invoking justice; in both cases the invocation comes too late to overcome motive or action. [on the nomination of Mr. Garland to the Supreme Court and the refusal to conform (here, here, and here)].
9. Politics is the art of the right emotional performance to the wrong question; politics might be better served by requiring its leaders to formulate and justify their questions rather than deepen error by answering the spurious or strategic question. [On the failures of the theater provided by the political debates in the 2016 Presidential campaign (here, here, and here)]
10. The attachment of people to their racialized view of religion increases as the stakes of the political ends to which these are put grow; in all cases the political ends shape the language and thrust of discourse and construct it objects to its needs [Marking the year for its exposure and refinement of the construction Jewish people as European and ethnically homogeneous in the service of theories of settler colonialism or as the construction of a state as the ultimate safe space; to mark Muslims as the "everyman" in the service of theories of innocuous migrant post colonialism or as a terrorist; to see in Islam and European Christianity the means to civilize otherwise inferior African and African disasporic religions communities; or to invert each of the to opposite ends (e.g., here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here)].
11. Burning witches is both an act of power and an expression of the fear, by communities, of personal power; the act is the ultimate narcissism: yet those who biurn witches ought to be burned on the pyres of their own acts--those who burn witches seek a reflection of themselves in the flames and the consumption of its power through a ritual act that is itself the symbolic performance of communal witchcraft. [That communities continue to burn witches--now sometimes men and women--reminds us that the rituals and symbols of power remain a potent force in development and in inter-religious relations (here, here, and here)].
12. Abstract bodies are always incarnated in physical space; not that the space changes, just itrs meaning; but in investing a space with meaning the physical space changes as well--it cannot be seen in the same way again. [On efforts to preserve sacred native spaces in the Dakotahs, among indigenous peoples in Latin America, Hagia Sophia and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (herem here, here, here, and here)].
Death (here, here, here, here)
13. Death: liberates society from a responsibility in the present, a lived responsibility; it transforms current issues to be confronted into historical memory to be contemplated; that is it transforms actors from the active to the passive principle of effect.
14. Death: the death of an individual once a critical actor in the social, political, economic and religious sphere, has a wholly psycho-symbolic effect--it changes the character of his influence in the world from a contemporary reality to a historical event; it moves the individual from the present to the past; that is the real marker of death in time.
15. Death: freed of the body that constrained it, death abstracts that body and re-incarnates it in the physical forms of memory; it is in this sense that one better understands the need for statues and other memorials to the body of the individuals the consequences of whose actions remain very much alive.
16. Death: if death converts its object into history, into a passive principle; it also empowers those who seek to preserve the essence of the dead to transform that essence in whatever form they like--there is no one around to authjorita9iively contradict those efforts; it is for that reason that great thinkers are most useful dead than alive.