From Jeff's Desk

Deliberately Consider: 2010 – 2013

Deliberately Considered has suspended the publication of new posts. I am now turning my full attention to a new project, Public Seminar. I thought I might be able to work on both DC and PS, but alas it is not possible. The new project is a seminar that has its roots in my intellectual home, The New School for Social Research, and in my experience here at Deliberately Considered.

The mission statement of the new project:

P.S.

“Confronting fundamental problems of the human condition and pressing problems of the day, using the broad resources of social research, we seek to provoke critical and informed discussion by any means necessary.

We use short form posts and long form essays, audio and video reports and discussions, and links to provocative materials of critical public interest anywhere we can find them. We are committed to creating a distinctive intellectual community, suspicious of clichés, informed by diverse experiences, theoretically heterodox, politically plural, worldly.

We work in the tradition of critical scholarship and public engagement of the original New School for Social Research (1919) and its University in Exile (1933). We seek to open the discussion of experts to broader publics, in the United States, and crucially far beyond, in the tradition of Charles Beard, John Dewey, Thorstein Veblen, Emil Lederer, Max Wertheimer, Frieda Wunderlich, Hans Speier, Leo Strauss and Hannah Arendt.

Public Seminar is an extension of The New School’s legendary ‘General Seminar,’ founded by the original exile scholars. Through it, we are constituting a public seminar for the 21st century.”

It is my hope that Public Seminar will continue and extend the work of Deliberately Considered. I developed Deliberately Considered with an understanding that more and more political, cultural and private life was developing in and through new media, and with a sense that this presented both great opportunities and great dangers. It opened public expression and discussion. More people could express themselves and a broader range of perspectives are expressed. Global conversations now occur. It is possible for the politics of small things to become large very quickly, dramatically revealed in the new new social movements of 2011, from the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street, and much in between. Classical eloquence again became a strong grounds for politics, as was revealed in the political life or Barack Obama.

We have observed these developments in the past four years, as we have also tried to avoid some of the evident problems of the new media environment, a deluge of questionable information, the confusion of news with rumor, tendentious political argument that confuses rather than illuminates, intellectual gated communities rather than open intellectual exchange. Our response to these problems is summarized by the name of our site Deliberately Considered. We tried to slow things down a bit, adding serious thoughts about the events of the day, from a variety of different perspectives, theoretical positions, experiences and places: left, right and center; East, West, North and South. I am proud to say that I think we have succeeded to a notable degree.

Yet, it is my judgment that we needed to broaden the circle of deliberation, that I needed to join up more explicitly with the traditions, practices and promise of the New School to succeed in using the new publishing and discussion qualities of the web to achieve the goals of Deliberately Considered. Thus, Public Seminar.

Over the past few months we have moved some of the posts on Deliberately Considered to Public Seminar. We will continue to do this. Eventually we may import the entire DC archive to PS, but that for the time being is technically challenging and too labor intensive. We, thus, will continue to make the past posts available at www.deliberatelyconsidered.com. Want to know the origins of the term “skin in the game” or consider whether there are any serious intellectual conservatives, or want to understand the Obama presidency as revealed in his speeches, and much more? You can still come here.

This site is my creation. It has been identified with my name, though this was probably a mistake. PS has a more collective identity, connected as it is to a discursive intellectual community. This is what I always wanted. It seems right to dedicate myself to that now. Yet, I want to thank all the loyal readers and the great authors of Deliberately Considered posts, from whom I learned a great deal. And especially I thank Naomi Goldfarb and Aron Hsiao, who made DC possible, and are now doing even better work as we extend the Deliberately Considered project:

“(Providing) a platform for informed response to the events of the day, by putting them in larger historical and theoretical contexts… dedicated to lending perspective by considering both what is close to home in the everyday life of ordinary people and what is happening elsewhere in other parts of the world, … not primarily concerned with who’s up and who’s down or tendentious polemics, but with trying to understand the promise and perils of politics and culture, exploring alternatives to prevailing clichéd ways of understanding and acting.”

As we withdraw from the active publishing here at Deliberately Considered, I encourage you to join us at Public Seminar. And perhaps sometime in the future, I may decide to return to DC if events of the day or in my life warrant it.