Benjamin Studebaker

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

Category: Politics

A Class Analysis of the Twitter Crisis

In recent weeks, there have been extensive conflicts between Twitter workers and Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk. One user made an attempt to analyze the conflict in class terms, framing it as a clash between “entrepreneurial capital” and the “professional-managerial class”:

I think this badly misreads the situation. The professionals who work at Twitter are wage-earners who don’t even have a labor union. They don’t dominate anything. But it also made me think–why isn’t there a better class-based reading of the conflict? Let’s give it a go.

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The Midterm Elections Don’t Matter

As the midterm elections approach, the political class is working very hard to increase voter turnout. President Biden has given a big speech accusing the Republicans of posing a grave threat to democracy. We are inundated with political ads in which the Democrats accuse the Republicans of plotting to ban abortion and the Republicans accuse the Democrats of causing inflation. None of the arguments offered by either side have much to do with reality, and it is increasingly difficult to find anyone who will even make a sincere effort to discuss what’s going on without incorporating distorted partisan messaging. If we look at the issues, it’s clear that the composition of Congress is not going to make much difference over the next two years.

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The Republican Model and the Crisis of National Liberalism

I’ve published a piece in Cosmos + Taxis about some of the tensions between nationalism and liberalism. Cosmos + Taxis‘ readership skews libertarian, and many of its readers are frustrated with the constraints nationalism imposes upon liberalism. There’s a lot of right libertarian interest in republicanism and federalism. I make the case that republicanism can only compete with nationalism insofar as republics offer citizens more extensive sets of rights–including economic rights–than they can have through nationalism. In this way, I pitch the libertarians on adopting more conventionally left-wing economic positions. It’s a sincere effort to make an argument that might be appealing to someone with a rather different set of starting points from my own. You can read the whole thing here.

A Critique of Biden’s Student Debt Reforms

I’ve written a new piece about the state of the American university system for Sublation. You can read it here:

https://www.sublationmag.com/post/the-american-university-system-is-a-rotting-carcass

Thinking More Clearly About the Idea of “Rights”

I have a new piece out for Current Affairs about rights, and whether we ought to think of them as natural, human, or civil. You can read it here:

https://www.currentaffairs.org/2022/05/thinking-more-clearly-about-the-idea-of-rights/