Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Calling all liberals!

I'm pleased to announce that Philosophy, et cetera will be hosting the 25th Carnival of the Liberals, with a meta-politics theme (explained below), on November 8. The deadline for submissions is noon the previous day, my time, which I gather is 9pm EST, Monday 6 November for all you temporally backward Americans. Submissions may be sent in either via the blogcarnival form or by emailing cotl-submissions@carnivaloftheliberals.com with your post details.

Note that CotL is more selective than many carnivals: as host, I'm charged with whittling it down to the best 10 entries from the liberal blogosphere. The choice of topics is largely unconstrained: you're welcome to submit any substantial piece of writing from a liberal perspective. However, I'd like to take this opportunity to especially invite "meta-political" submissions that step back from the fray and instead assess the state of political discourse, or the question of how politics should be conducted. Some examples of specific issues one might explore here include:
  • The relative merits of conventional advocacy, or "working within the system", vs. radical activism.

  • Which is more important in politics: means or ends? Liberals are often committed to both first-order ends (e.g. equality) and meta-political ones (e.g. respect for due process, constitutional limits on executive power, and the rule of law). When these conflict, which takes priority?

  • Questions of rhetoric and framing: should liberals aim to persuade others through rational arguments or emotional appeals (or both)? Should we focus on dangers or opportunities? Is it important to improve the tone and quality of political discourse and public debate? If so, how might this be achieved?

  • What would be the ideal democratic institutions? What reforms can you think of that would improve our current process? Is a two party system better than the alternatives? If you could amend the U.S. Constitution, what would you change? Or, on a more concrete level: how can we best protect against corruption, vote tampering, voter intimidation and disenfranchisement, etc.?

That should give you a rough idea of the sorts of questions that qualify as 'meta-political'. I'm sure you can think of more. If you still don't know where to start, the axes of the metapolitics quiz could give you a position to defend. Alternatively, you can always submit an entry on a more "traditional" liberal topic, exposing Bush's latest dastardly deeds, or whatever. (Though note that an insightful analysis is more likely to make it into the final ten than just any old rant!) So: send me your best!


  1. Thanks for hosting. I think this is a vital and underserved area of discussion. I submitted a post about how poorly liberals have framed the discussion of religious influence and participation in politics. We can do better and I am seeking suggestions toward that end.

  2. Great idea for a blog carnival. I made a submission, but it was more rant than meta-political, http://arevolutionofone.blogspot.com/2006/11/swift-boated-again-doh.html. In any case, I look forward to seeing the winning entries. Should be interesting. Thanks.

    -arevolutionofone - Fighting the Global War Against the Man.

  3. I guess as usual I am a day late, but I have what you might find to be of interest on my Blog http://freedemocrat.blogspot.com/
    I located the relevant articles in the upper corner as "some basic concepts"


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