With the final day of June, LGBTQ Pride Month comes to a close for 2016. The Wiley Blackwell Team hopes to serve the LGBTQ Community by continuing the much needed discussion. As a reminder, all of the curated research collections for Pride Month will be freely available through July 31.
With the final day of June, LGBTQ Pride Month comes to a close for 2016. Just last year, same-sex marriage was federally legalized in the United States. In sharp contrast, this year’s pride month was shadowed by the devastation of the Orlando shootings. We were all painfully reminded that despite great strides made by the LGBTQ community, hate and inequality still run rampant. Through this grim reality, the outpour of love and support that emerged from such a violent act of hate is a testament of hope and strength.
Thanks for visiting us each week this month to continue the necessary discussion on LGBTQ rights and issues. As a reminder, all of the curated research collections for Pride Month will be freely available through July 31.
This collection explores the past, present, and future of LGBTQ law, politics, and activism which seeks to ensure effective change in social policy and legal protection.
To celebrate the first full week of LGBTQ Pride Month, the Philosopher’s Eye has curated a special collection under the theme LGBTQ Rights. This collection explores the past, present, and future of LGBTQ law, politics, and activism which seeks to ensure effective change in social policy and legal protection. Enjoy this research freely through July 31, and don’t forget to comment and share below!
And, don’t forget to come back each Monday as we post think pieces from Wiley authors and LGBTQ advocates centered around a new theme. You’ll also get unlocked access to journal articles and book excerpts that examine the ethical, social, and philosophical issues faced by the LGBTQ community. Thanks for joining us as we continue the necessary conversation on LGBTQ rights, awareness, and support.
Philosophy scholar and guest blogger, Thomas White, speaks to the Trump Phenomenon and the dangers of Moral Evil as the ‘Privatized Self.’
I popped open my laptop after breakfast to catch up with the latest news. To no surprise, Donald Trump’s face was plastered all over Internet. This time Trump had posted a picture on social media, eating tacos from Trump Tower, wishing everyone a Happy Cinco de Mayo, and exclaiming that he loved “the Hispanics.” Seriously? How could someone so blatantly insensitive be a legitimate candidate for the office of the President of the United States?
Suppressing an overwhelming urge to post a nasty, personal comment on some website about this picture, I instead surfed over to a poetry site where I reread these profound lines from that most philosophical poet, T.S. Eliot, one of my favorites:
We are the hollow men/ We are the stuffed men/ Leaning together/ Headpiece filled with straw.
Alas! / Our dried voices, when/ We whisper together/ Are quiet and meaningless
Vowing to resist the mindless tide of angry Trump-related polemics, which has swamped any effort to restore even the most minimal rationality to the American political conversation, I decided to act appropriately (rationally), and begin this calm philosophical study of Donald Trump: What is his relationship to knowledge and language? What is the nature of his mind? What is his relationship to other persons qua moral agents?
Eliot’s verse certainly goes a long way to answering these questions: Trump is a Hollow Man, whose mind is filled with nothing but “meaningless”, dead clutter –no poetry, no wit, no knowledge, and no empathy for other persons. This taco stunt revealed not only his ignorance about Spanish culture—Spain and Latin America have a varied ,often European, non-Mexican cuisine—but a blatant willingness to crudely stereotype others that has become his trademark— a failure of empathy, or emotional intelligence. Trump helps us answer the fascinating philosophical riddle posed by Eliot’s opening lines: a mind can be “hollow” yet “stuffed”– that is filled with emptiness (lack of moral feelings, absence of knowledge etc.). Donald Trump is the abyss Nietzsche warned us against.
The one apparent trait described in Eliot’s profile of Hollow Men—they speak in “quiet” ”dried” voices like the elderly—that Trump does not seem to fit actually is appropriate. His trademark bellicose, bullying style masks his hollowness. George Orwell in 1984 captured the emptiness of this demagogic mind. The Orwellian dystopian state mixes political rallies filled with rage and bullying directed at crude political stereotypes, with a political language –Newspeak—that has been emptied of any references to “freedom” or “human rights.” (Significantly, Trump never refers to the language in the Declaration of Independence, or any other key historical document that defends freedom, though he has advocated torture, which is Big Brother’s standard operating procedure).
When I mull over of all of these traits, as well as that cringe-worthy, taco-related photo-op, I think immediately of another philosophical concept: Solipsism.
British philosopher, A.E. Taylor defined Solipsism as the doctrine in “which I have no certain knowledge of any existence except my own, everything else being a mere state or modification of myself.”
Though philosophers long ago refuted this theory—how can I communicate the theory of Solipsism to other minds if the latter are problematic?—“Solipsism” actually serves another important goal, namely as a conceptual framework useful to profile the emerging privatization of the self as a culturally, politically, and socially significant trend. What a privatized self/ solipsistic self is was described nicely in this blog about Donald Trump posted on Huffington Post—though the author does not use those terms:
[Donald Trump is an] “emptiness [filled] with a sound and fury meant to gratify his needs in the here and now,” … “others exist only as an extension of himself.”… [His] “behavior… “reflects the hollowness within… the humanity of others [being] of no concern.”
In this taco photo-op Trump is immersed only in his own consciousness; the independent humanity of his ‘Hispanic’ audience is problematic. In other words: a portrait of unsullied solipsism.
These are exactly the representative traits that I profile in my CrossCurrents essay as generally emblematic of the privatized Hollow Men, who lack empathy with the suffering of others, while dominating them for their own personal gratification and private ends. As I observe in this essay, such selves occupy every level of contemporary society. Donald Trump is not unique.
About the Author
Thomas White is an independent scholar, who has published essays, poetry and fiction , both in print and online journals, in Canada, United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom. White is also the founder of the Takoma Park (MD) Socrates Cafe discussion group, facilitating from 2008 to 2013. He loves the Socratic adventure, and specializes in demonstrating the perennial relevance of philosophy to every aspect of the human condition.
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At the end of 2014, there were an estimated 19.5 million refugees worldwide. This crisis was drawn once again into sharp light as Syrian refugees flooded Europe in recent months. Many of these people are families with children, forced to flee their homes or risk their safety.
Dr. Immanuel Ness is a professor of political science at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. Editor-in-Chief of The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration, Ness’ research focuses on labor, urban political economy, migration, imperialism, and social mobilizations, worker insurrections, strikes, solidarity in Global North and Global South.
He is a labor activist who founded the New York Unemployed Committee, Lower East Side Community-Labor Coalition and labor organizer for several unions.
Dr. Serena Parekh is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Northeastern University, where she also holds the position as Director of the Politics, Philosophy, and Economics Program. Her primary research interests are in social and political philosophy, feminist theory, continental philosophy, and the philosophy of human rights.
Dr. Parekh has contributed to noted journals such as Hypatia, Philosophy Compass, and The Southern Journal of Philosophy. She is also the Editor of the APA Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy.
Dr. Reenee Singh is a family therapist based in London at the House Partnership. She is also Co-Director at the Tavistock and UEL Family Therapy and Systemic Research Centre as well as Editor of the Journal of Family Therapy.
Singh holds a particular interest in the intersection of therapy, race and culture. She attributes her personal history and cultural context, growing up in India and having lived and worked in Singapore, as an influence her approach to therapy, research, supervision and training.