Details of the conference, to be held at Durham University’s Institute for Advanced Studies on 11-12 December, are now available: Portraits of Integrity Conference. We’ll update the page as plans are finalised. You will also find a call for papers. Please do circulate widely. The deadline for proposals is August 7th.
Interview with Norman Finkelstein on Democracy Now drawing some lessons for the contemporary left and for Palestinians in the occupied territories from the lessons of Gandhian non-violence. Gandhi is the subject of today’s Portraits of Integrity meeting.
A comment piece from the New York Times, Ideology and Integrity, discussing the importance of ‘intellectual integrity’ in our politicians. Highly relevant in the UK, which goes to the polling booths on Thursday. Here’s an extract:
You see, you shouldn’t care whether a candidate is someone you’d like to have a beer with. Nor should you care about politicians’ sex lives, or even their spending habits unless they involve clear corruption. No, what you should really look for, in a world that keeps throwing nasty surprises at us, is intellectual integrity: the willingness to face facts even if they’re at odds with one’s preconceptions, the willingness to admit mistakes and change course.
What’s especially interesting is the way in which “an open mind, willing[ness] to consider the possibility that parts of the ideology may be wrong” are associated with integrity, and opposed to ideological commitment which renders one unable to change course and admit error.
A comment piece by Owen Jones in today’s Guardian. I think it’s rather optimistic to think that this is a tactic only gone in for by the right:
The modus operandi of the right is to target anyone vaguely leftish and make the debate about them, rather than what they believe. I’ve written this before, but if you believe in social justice, they will find any reason to trash you. If you’re too poor, they’ll accuse you of envy; too rich, of hypocrisy; too young, of naivety; too old, of being a dinosaur. Above all, the right obsessively hunts anything that can be twisted into hypocrisy. If you think poverty is basically a bad thing and something needs to be done about it, then you have to live in a shed and forage for berries, otherwise you are a hypocritical champagne socialist.