Link to What's New This Week. Dear Habermas

Dear Habermas Logo: The Blue Angel. Link to latest updates and additions to files on site.

A Public Sphere Development Site

Volume 38, Issue No. 1, Week of April 17, 2011
of Dear Habermas
Home - About Us - Current Issue
Site Index - Chronological Index - What's NEW?

All underlines represent HOT LINKS. Just click on them.

We're Back

We're Back




University of Wisconsin, Parkside (UWP)
California State University, Dominguez Hills(CSUDH)
Created: April 12, 2011
Latest update: April 17, 2011

E-Mail for jeanne in L.A,E-Mail to Jeanne in L.A.
E-Mail Icon for susanE-Mail to Susan at UWP.


jeanne squiggle What's Happening? We're Back squiggle Susan

Susan and I have taken up again the cyclical publication of Dear Habermas. We have come increasingly to understand the extent to which the formalized educational institution can and does belong to the entire movement of community development. That means, in plain English, that learning is an integral part of the whole community, not just the institutionalized, public or privatized, schools and colleges. The world has changed. We have spent the last two years struggling to understand what we can take of our univeristy professorships into the world at large, contributing the skills we have honed over decades of teaching to developing a new model of citizenship that suits the multiple and overlapping communities to which we all belong, in the 21st Century, for all humans, creatures, and living things on this planet, in the universe we inhabit.

Maybe I can keep up our old pattern of a Weekly Journal and Forum. I have much to learn about new technology, like Go To Meeting, that permits us to meet over our computers instead of across the skies. Weekly might work. I have much to learn about Facebook and Twitter, and the extent to which they can help us in our hands-on approach to working with everyone who wants better governance, justice and respect for all. I did try opening a Facebook page, but I'm having an awful time trying to fit that concept into the field experiment in community development that Susan and I have just launched. I already spend hours every day writing. Perhaps some of you out there will be able to make useful suggestions. Many of our former students are now, themselves, teaching, in high school, community college, university level. As soon as I got the Facebook page up, many of them contacted me. You're all welcome back to take up your own part in this field experiment.

First thing is for me to build consistency back into a format that will effectively help us all function, over time, over distance, and with some sense of the values we all share and a theoretical base that serves us all, from younger children, through graduate students, and on into our working lives and after.. So I'm taking that as my first task. I may not manage to add material every day, but I'll try."

Jeanne's first Description of Dear Habermas' Raison d' Etre

Here's my first version of a description of what Dear Habermas represents to us. Susan's students, my former students, all of those participating in the formation of the Los Angeles Project in Community Development, in Cats who Crochet, and those who have been trying to find me on Facebook, which I rarely have time to get to, are welcome to join in making sure that this description fits what we all want.

"Dear Habermas, Volume 38, Number 1, posted on April 16, 2011. Dear Habermas, a journal and forum created and maintained interdependently with faculty, students, and community folks interested in sharing community-focussed activities while engaging in conversation on local-to-international social and economic justice issues that matter to us all. The site's founders and moderators, Jeanne Curran and Susan Takata, are committed liberals, equally devoted to social and economic fairness and justice, and to Juürgen Habermas' overriding concern that we humans should learn to live without killing one another over our differences: ethnicity, color, technical superiority, geographical origin or nation-state allegiance, or ll the other differences we seem to be able to dream up. Dear Habermas, dedicated to that Habermasian principle, is devoted to furthering understanding and respect for all of us, through our public sphere conversations, both within the academy and in our everyday encounters."

For now, use Dear Habermas to follow the project as it begins to take shape. Those of you who want to start community development projects based on our Dear Habermas experiences. should let me know, so that I'm sure to include you in our teaching information. Later we may want an Internet group, Yahoo or Google, of Facebook or Twitter, or all of the above, if someone else is willing to keep up with the correspondence there, to make communication more effective.

Any of you who are joining us for the first time, from various local community groups, Welcome! For example, if there are those who want to start such groups in New Orleans, Michael Katz, once at CSUDH, is now teaching college there. And Peter A. Aliguera is teaching at CSUDH. Hopefully, as the community develop project grows, we can all collaborate in these efforts. For now, e-mail me at E-Mail for jeanne in L.A,E-Mail to Jeanne in L.A.

Of course, you can e-mail Susan, too. But please remember that she's chairing the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Wisconsin, Parkside. Her plate is already full. If it's something I can do, send it to me. I'm retired, remember?

Sorry, but you'll all have to learn to work collaboratively, across thousands of miles, like Susan and I have had to do for so many years we quit counting.

Return to Top


Visual Memories


Topics for Discussion

  • "The Truth about Paul Ryan"
    Article in the Progressive about Paul Ryan. By Roger Bybee, March 2011 issue. Remember that one version of truth is a merging of what the hearer hears with what the sayer says, their combinative truth being how the perspective of each influences what he is willing to hear. Sartre would call such hearing the result of "listening in good faith." And I would call "good faith" listening with all the skills you have acquired to help the Other present his/her arguments, so that you can come closest to understand the Other's meaning. In this case, the sayer is the Progressive, a very liberal website. You must take that fact into consideration. One explanation I have for what André Gide said in "Je déteste" is that those who understand me too quickly haven't taken the time to really hear me and process fairly what I've said. That's also what Albert O. Hirschman is saying in the rhetoric of Reaction: Perversity, Futility, Jeopardy.

    Ryan wishes to preserve all tax cuts for the very wealthy, and privatize medicare. I'll try to put up a conservative piece on this. How do you feel about taking from the unemployed, the ill, the uninsured, the elderly, but giving even a greater share of the country's wealth to the very wealthy? What problems might he need to anticipate?

    Now, I stuck in a snide remark in the blurb on Edan St. Vincent Millay's Recuerdo: "Consider that you might want to visit a library (or, in the spirit of 2011, a private bookstore) for books to see how . . . . " What was snide about the remark? Especially given that a snippet on Congressman Paul Ryan from the Progressive Website follows that blurb immediately in this issue of Dear Habermas?

    Well, first, you need to recognize the name Paul Ryan as the Chair of the House Budget Committee, who has just proposed eliminating MediCare as we know it, and replacing it with vouchers. He says we can't afford MediCare anymore. He's gonna be the Budget policeman, and cut spending with little regard for eliminating waste and focusing on taking the spending cuts from so-called "safety nets." Now, I have an agenda. I'm a committed liberal. So you have to take my biases into account. But no one objected to the trillion dollar debt to China when Bush was giving two wars to promote democracy and the freedom it brings with it, and these budget police didn't bother to pay for either of the wars. They borrowed every penny, from foreign countries. They object only now, when we face financial ruin, based on the wars and on the dishonest wagering on loans for property they didn't even own (derivatives). (Needs reference from one of my financial books. jeanne) Hmmm . . . .

    Paul Ryan has an agenda, too. He believes in philosophy, as told in the novel, Atlas Shrugged, by the libertarian of fifty years ago, Ayn Rand. Reference up later. (jeanne) It's a novel, Mr. Ryan, from a time when being a libertarian had a whole different meaning for most of us. Along with vouchers with which to buy insurance, for which most of us elderly are not eligible because of pre-existing conditions, like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc., Mr. Ryan wants to restore permanently the tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, because Ayn Rand's view of philosophy is that those who make the most money are the most successful, and therefore, the wisest and most ethical of all. I do have a few questions about her premises, although I admit that politicians of the Atlas Shrugged period weren't nearly as corrupt as those today whose campaigns are financed by the new billionaires whose tax cuts they continuously enact. Sure, democrats take those campaign funds, too. That brings into question their morals, too. Corporations, whose sole mission is to increase profits for their shareholders are not citizens, pace Justice Roberts and the Supreme Court, for they have no mission to benefit and support any particular nation, sovereignty, people (as any group other than shareholders and directors like CEOs)., and that's just for starters. Corporations are not social creatures. They cannot and do not form human communities. They are nowhere held accountable for the extent to which they contribute to the moral, ethical, and humane values of the communities in which they thrive. 'Nuff said.

    It's time to hold our representatives accountable for the soundness and fairness and justice of the arguments that support their agendas. No more shouting of "perversion, futurity, xxxxx" (Hirschman reference). Arguments, not just conclusions. Facts, clearly stated facts, so we can negotiate over how to distribute all these very limited resources for all of humanity. jeanne

    Having summarized, albeit briefly, the differing perspectives between me and Mr. Ryan, I hope, you will be able to judge at least tentatively how you feel about our differing conclusions. My conclusion is that there are two groups, the very wealthy and the rest of us. One of the facts on which I base this conclusion is that the billionaires and corporations get richer and richer, while the rest of us are barely making it. (Needs reference on actual income distribution. jeanne) And because we are barely making it we have a hard time affording health care, police, first responders, education, environmental safeguards (Japan's 2011 nuclear disaster), etc. That fact has resulted in most of Los Angeles librairies having cut hours, or closed down, and having less access to both Internet and books. If you can't subscribe to major newspapers or the Internet or afford to effectively choose and buy the myriad books coming out, you just don't have access to information. Not the kind of information journalists, professionals, and academics afforded us in the past, through our 20th Century media. And that's really, really real scary. jeanne

    I haven't yet posted a Republican argument for Ryan's budget. My computer crashed, and won't be up again until tonight. Please forgive the temporary lack of balance. jeanne 04/18/2011.

  • America's War Without End Refers to the Civil War and the racism which lay beneath it.

    America's War Without End

    Jon Meacham
    April 10, 2011
    . . . 71Share
    NAACP members and other demonstrators protesting December's Secession Ball in South Carolina. [Photo: Alan Hawes]

    "As the nation prepares to mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War this month, we are learning anew the truth of William Faulkner’s observation that the past is never dead; it isn’t even past.

    "In Mississippi, the Sons of Confederate Veterans has provoked controversy by proposing a commemorative license plate honoring Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was also a leading member of the Ku Klux Klan. In Marshall, Ark., a mayor was ostensibly rebuked by his own city council after he flew the Confederate flag to honor Robert E. Lee on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. And at Georgia’s Gainesville State College, a painting showing a Confederate flag with Klansmen and a lynching sparked weeks of debate and was eventually removed from a faculty art show.

    "No one refights the Revolution or World Wars I or II, but what President Abraham Lincoln termed our “fiery trial” has proved to be an American war without end. From Appomattox forward, how we see the Civil War reveals much about what Dr. King called “the content of our character.”

    "Following World War II, with Jim Crow under attack, many Southerners reached back to the 1860s for imagery to lend historical drama and credibility to their resistance. After South Carolina’s Strom Thurmond defected from the Democratic Party in 1948 to form the pro-segregation Dixiecrats, he was greeted by supporters in the South waving Confederate flags. That same year, Ole Miss added the playing of “Dixie,” the unofficial anthem of the Confederacy, to its football pageantry. During the integration decisions of the 1950s, Georgia altered its flag to include the Confederate battle emblem. Ultimately, though, the bigotry and brutality of white authorities could not withstand the forces of justice and equality, and the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964.

    "Today, a new battle for history is being waged, with political conservatives casting the Civil War as a struggle against Big Government, with only tangential connections to slavery. These neo-Confederates contend that one can honor the South’s heritage without condoning its institutionalized racism. But as a historian and as a Southerner, I believe that is a losing cause. Without what our seventh vice president, John C. Calhoun, called the South’s “peculiar domestic institution,” there would have been no Civil War. There can be no revision of this inescapable reality.

    Placed here for backup so that students could find the article in the future. Jeanne found it at the archive. Please try to locate the article there, but if you can't find it, you can rely on this copy, made by jeanne on 04/16/2011.


    SquiggleRange of Online News Resources for Issues on the Site


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.
Individual copyrights by other authors may apply.