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on the Bard College Berlin Student Blog

This an article that covers the main themes of Taun N. Toay’s “Trumponomics” Lecture which includes his insights on polling, the working class, the appeal of Trump, the economic effect of his policies and his view on the resistance. Then the article continues with my personal experience of an anti-Trump protest that I attended and my reflections about what this type of dissent means.

Trumponomics lecture poster (Credit: Bard College Berlin)

Trumponomics lecture poster (Credit: Bard College Berlin)

On the 2nd of February, in the times of pre-judicial halts of Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban Executive Order, the students and faculty of Bard College Berlin had the pleasure (and discomfort) of listening to Taun N. Toay’s lecture “Trumponomics: How the United States Accepted Authoritarian Populism”. Taun N. Toay is the Annandale-based Managing Director of Bard College Berlin and of the Levy Economics Institute at Bard College. Armed with his economic background, Toay aimed to give a crowd of concerned U.S. and non-U.S. citizens an economics-centered explanation of this political phenomenon that most of us mention at least once a day now, because, honestly, how can we not?

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ECLA Guest Lecture: Devin Stauffer on Justice and the Structure of “The Republic”

Devin Stauffer

Having already adjusted to the academic environment of ECLA, the 2008-09 AY students had the opportunity to accompany their growing familiarity with Plato’s Republic with the lecture of Professor Devin Stauffer, a scholar of classical political philosophy. His impetus for reading and discussing Plato comes from his deeply ingrained belief that Platonic works contain “a richer and truer account of human life, of the soul and its deepest concerns, than one can find even in the greatest works of modern philosophy”.

The lecture started with a reference to the composition of The Republic, and the possibility of distinguishing “Book One” from the rest of the text, as two different dialogues. “Book One” is concerned with the various definitions of justice, while the rest of the work encompasses the conceptualization of the ideal city. Professor Stauffer quotes Friedrich Schleiermacher for this thesis; together with Friedrich Schlegel, Schleiermacher translated Plato into German at the beginning of the XIXth century. Unfolding upon his observations, Stauffer searches for the philosophical cement holding the two parts together, and finds it in the speeches of Glaucon and Adeimantos at the end of “Book Two”. What had happened in the first part was dissatisfying to the expectations of the two men, and culminated with the definition of justice given by Thrasymachus, namely, the advantage of the strong. Thus they urgently demand a more vigorous refutation from Socrates, prompting the entire utopian construct in the second part. Glaucon’s speech appears to be the most impressive, requesting a defense of justice as an ultimate goal, and expecting to hear about its inherent value; to render its advantages, he puts into balance the life of the perfectly just man with that of the perfectly unjust.

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