5 Nov 2021(3 Comments)

My slow-progress dwelling on liberal and fascist ways of understanding and producing social / political order in connection with each other has found some juice lately with a series of short online lectures, a public-access version of an ‘American Ideologies’ course for undergrads, given by Pepperdine political philosophy prof. Jason Blakely.

Blakely is visible in circles of my acquaintance in part by way of his criticism of figures of the ‘national conservatism’ gaining notice in the last few years alongside Trump’s rise — as for example in an Oct. 2020 article for Commonweal, ‘The Integralism of Adrian Vermeule,’ where among other things he remarks on Vermeule’s appeals to Nazi legal theorist Carl Schmitt.

One thing Blakely’s about in this course is introducing the case for, and offering illustration of, an approach to the political drawn from the school of thought he identifies as his own philosophical home, known as hermeneutics — a school strongly associated, it has to be noted, with another Nazi, Martin Heidegger. The Nazis are always close at hand for us, I reflect (with no strong conclusion) in a longer post last year; no running or hiding from them, only confronting. That isn’t Blakely’s subject in these talks, but I would say that calling one another to courage to meet pasts full of ominous meaning is the spirit, at least, of his guidance through a catalog of perhaps falsely familiar terms for speaking of political existences in the modern period. It’s helpful material, prompting rather than settling questions.

3 thoughts on “5 nov 2021: Jason Blakely, ‘American Ideologies’”

  1. I listened to a wee bit of his problematizing of the word ideology but not theology. I preached a sermon on Sunday about the widow of Zarephath using the secondary reading in the lectionary. I find the deuteronomistic historian to be highly problematic in his theology & politics. Thanks to this note, I resisted the urge to call his views ideology & what I was doing theology. I still worried my sermon was the sermon of the white moderate that MLK detested but I am still not sure it was. I’m not sure I always make it to preaching on behalf of God’s justice while not being bound up in partisanship since we all have an ideology & we’ll all end up partisan in some way. Lord, have mercy.

  2. My guess is that Blakely’s just drawn lines pretty carefully around what to consider in the course of necessity, but yeah, boy would I like to hear him stumble into theology & religion discourse a bit — especially since, I mean, it’s America, right?

  3. Ha, spoke too soon. He was holding the religion material for the second part of his ‘nationalism’ segment — posted yesterday — it seems. Still: questions.

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