Political Animal Magazine2019-03-27T14:53:23+00:00

SPOTLIGHT

What Are Rights? Two Early Modern Attempts at an Answer

December 6th, 2019|

By: Brandy Harrison

You only have to turn on the television or glance at the news headlines to encounter it: the rhetoric of human rights. Maybe it’s an editorial in the New York Times worrying about the possible erosion of “women’s rights” under the Trump presidency, or perhaps there is a story about “human rights violations” that has gone viral on social media this morning, destined to provoke outraged responses from people all around the world moved by the plight of civilians in, say, Syria, or horrified by a so-called honor killing in rural Pakistan. There have been heated debates in recent years concerning our “right” to freedom of speech, especially in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacres in France. The language of human rights is, as Richard Tuck (1) and Michael Ignatieff have noted (7), of immense importance in contemporary political and international relations, but what exactly do we mean when we talk about our rights? What are rights? Where do they come from? Who gets to determine which rights we have, who gets to have them, and what – if any – limitations should be placed upon them? How do our conceptions of rights differ from those held by our ancestors? (more…)

Open Letter to the People of Planet Earth

November 29th, 2019|

The Galactic Gardeners’ Forum

This may not be the best time to contact you, but waiting may only make things worse.  Since we’re your first neighbors in the galaxy to make contact, we hope you’ll consider us a welcoming committee with a warning.  We’ve hacked into all your major channels of communication to transmit our message in every human language.  We do not want to go through “official channels” or speak only with your corrupt rulers.  We want our words to reach everyone.

We come from a remote handful of living planets and moons scattered across this galaxy.  We are a network of galactic gardeners who nurture life by sharing our stories, experiences, knowledge, and ideas.  We offer each other encouragement, constructive criticism, advice, and hard-won wisdom.  But unfortunately, the vast distance between our worlds deprives us of the joy of actually meeting face-to-face.  We’ve decided to contact you because we cherish life everywhere we find it—and life on your planet is in grave danger.

You inhabit an astounding planet.  It supports a living tapestry of great vibrancy and splendor.  We’ve witnessed Earth-life evolve for eons. Because you are such a young, impetuous species, we’ve refrained from contacting you.  We did not know how making contact would affect you, since your awareness remains fractured by conflicts between the powerful rich and the powerless poor; as well as between nations, races, and religions.  But we felt compelled to act because your carbon-addicted way of life has made you a threat to yourself and the magnificent biosphere that made you. (more…)

THEORY

Arguing Dialectically about Abortion

By |August 23rd, 2019|0 Comments

How do we talk about abortion? How do we make arguments about a topic that evokes such strong reactions? In opposing articles, Nathan Nobis and Kristina Grob and Hendrick van der Breggen, approach the issue dialectically. One approach is to think dialectically--to critically examine arguments pro or con, in order to uncover the assumptions and grounds they rest on, and develop new arguments that respond to the faults we find in our prior positions.

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PRACTICE

Jagmeet Singh, Abortion, and Illogic

By |October 18th, 2019|0 Comments

I favor the pro-life position on the abortion issue, all the while realizing that many good and decent people disagree with me. Why do they disagree? It seems they are influenced by popular claims and arguments favoring the pro-choice view. I intend no disrespect to anyone in saying this, but I think that many popular claims and arguments favoring the choice for abortion consist of knots of illogic that should be untangled.

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JUSTICE

Long Walk to Freedom: Xenophobia Continues Against African Migrants in Johannesburg, South Africa

By |October 4th, 2019|0 Comments

South Africans need to have a national dialogue about what it means to have immigrants in their midst and what part of this falls outside the country’s earlier vision of being a Rainbow Nation. South African cannot continue to preach the gospel of African Renaissance while it practices the talk of xenophobia

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ARTS & LETTERS

Woodstock Turns 50: Behind the Curtain with John Morris, Head of Production

By |August 15th, 2019|0 Comments

When you have a master or a leader, there’s always another master somewhere fighting them off or trying to contest them. The masters of other people can look pretty annoying to you, if not contemptible, irrelevant, reprehensible. I think about Beatlemania, where people were just horrified — What the hell is going on? These four guys with weird floppy haircuts. Or with Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, or any of the other rock stars. The disgust and terror that people have that others are caught up.

A Tribute to D.A. Pennebaker

By |August 8th, 2019|0 Comments

When you have a master or a leader, there’s always another master somewhere fighting them off or trying to contest them. The masters of other people can look pretty annoying to you, if not contemptible, irrelevant, reprehensible. I think about Beatlemania, where people were just horrified — What the hell is going on? These four guys with weird floppy haircuts. Or with Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, or any of the other rock stars. The disgust and terror that people have that others are caught up.

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