Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Category: Miscellaneous

Legitimacy Crises in Embedded Democracies

My article in Contemporary Political Theory came out today. It directly challenges the prevalent idea that American democracy currently faces existential threats. I’ve been given a link that will allow you to read it even without institutional affiliation. Check it out:

https://rdcu.be/cViBD

I have spent years refining the argument, and I am hoping to spend many more years further developing my theory of chronic legitimacy crisis. It is central to my understanding of politics in countries like the United States and the United Kingdom. Anything that you’ve read on this blog for the past 5 years or so has been heavily influenced by the argument I make in the article above.

Proportional Representation is a Terrible Idea

I have a new piece out for Current Affairs criticizing proportional representation and the tendency to fixate on reforming democratic procedures. You can read it here:

https://www.currentaffairs.org/2022/06/proportional-representation-is-a-terrible-idea-that-the-left-should-not-embrace

The Consequences of Catholicism for Political Theory

There’s an endemic debate over what people are saying when they refer to ‘the west’. Is the west defined by its whiteness, its wealth, its liberal democracy? Should we call it the ‘highly developed countries’, the ‘advanced economies’, the ‘first world’, or the ‘global north’? I think most of these terms misses what is distinctive about this set of places. The countries we think of as ‘western’ are all countries where Catholicism was once dominant but is now in varying levels of retreat. Western countries are ‘post-Catholic’.

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A Realistic Left-Wing Strategy for Red States

In recent years, the left has been excited about electoral breakthroughs in college towns and big cities. But these regions aren’t enough. To pass signature legislation like Medicare-For-All, the left must establish a Senate majority. This means that somehow, rural red states have to elect senators who are willing to get behind these proposals.

The left hates thinking about this problem, because it requires acknowledging the limitations of its existing approach. The strategy that seems to work well in New York and California has no traction at all in Middle America. Proponents of the coastal strategy love to daydream about circumventing the problem. They indulge in idle fantasies of abolishing the Senate and electoral college, they delude themselves about demographic shifts, and they mock red state voters for choosing their cultural values over their economic interests. Of course, they never consider making cultural concessions to red state voters because they themselves care more about progressive cultural commitments than securing economic rights. They have the same priorities they mock.

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An Argument with Nathan Robinson about Whether the Left Should Support Joe Biden in the General Election

Nathan Robinson and I have written two very different pieces about whether the left should support Joe Biden in the general election. We got together to debate the issue, and our discussion is now available to you on YouTube:

Here’s my piece: https://benjaminstudebaker.com/2020/08/31/the-left-case-against-supporting-joe-biden-in-the-general-election/

Here’s his piece: https://www.currentaffairs.org/2020/08/an-ineffectual-biden-presidency-is-better-for-the-left-than-an-actively-authoritarian-trump-presidency