Mark Lilla


Born
in Detroit, The United States
April 03, 1956

Website

Genre

Influences


Mark Lilla is an American political scientist, historian of ideas, journalist, and professor of humanities at Columbia University in New York City. A self-described liberal, he typically, though not always, presents views from that perspective.

Average rating: 3.82 · 2,931 ratings · 491 reviews · 18 distinct worksSimilar authors
The Once and Future Liberal...

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The Shipwrecked Mind: On Po...

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The Stillborn God: Religion...

3.55 avg rating — 253 ratings — published 2007 — 9 editions
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The Reckless Mind: Intellec...

3.81 avg rating — 334 ratings — published 2001 — 18 editions
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The Legacy of Isaiah Berlin

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4.06 avg rating — 16 ratings — published 2001 — 3 editions
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G. B. Vico: The Making of a...

4.38 avg rating — 8 ratings — published 1993 — 2 editions
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New French Thought: Politic...

3.89 avg rating — 9 ratings — published 1994 — 6 editions
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La gauche identitaire : L'A...

it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 1 rating
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Il naufragio della ragione:...

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Pensadores temerarios : los...

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“The more obsessed with personal identity campus liberals become, the less willing they become to engage in reasoned political debate. Over the past decade a new, and very revealing, locution has drifted from our universities into the media mainstream: 'Speaking as an X' . . . This is not an anodyne phrase. It tells the listener that I am speaking from a privileged position on this matter. (One never says, 'Speaking as an gay Asian, I fell incompetent to judge on this matter'). It sets up a wall against questions, which by definition come from a non-X perspective. And it turns the encounter into a power relation: the winner of the argument will be whoever has invoked the morally superior identity and expressed the most outrage at being questioned. So classroom conversations that once might have begun, 'I think A, and here is my argument', now take the form, 'Speaking as an X, I am offended that you claim B'. This makes perfect sense if you believe that identity determines everything. It means that there is no impartial space for dialogue. White men have one "epistemology", black women have another. So what remains to be said?

What replaces argument, then, is taboo. At times our more privileged campuses can seem stuck in the world of archaic religion. Only those with an approved identity status are, like shamans, allowed to speak on certain matters. Particular groups -- today the transgendered -- are given temporary totemic significance. Scapegoats -- today conservative political speakers -- are duly designated and run off campus in a purging ritual. Propositions become pure or impure, not true or false. And not only propositions but simple words. Left identitarians who think of themselves as radical creatures, contesting this and transgressing that, have become like buttoned-up Protestant schoolmarms when it comes to the English language, parsing every conversation for immodest locutions and rapping the knuckles of those who inadvertently use them.”
Mark Lilla, The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics

“[R]esitance is by nature reactive; it is not forward-looking. And anti-Trumpism is not a politics. My worry is that liberals will get so caught up in countering his every move, essentially playing his game, that they will fail to seize -- or even recognize -- the opportunity he has given them. Now that he has destroyed conventional Republicanism and what was left of principled conservatism, the playing field is empty. For the first time in living memory, we liberals have no ideological adversary worthy of the name. So it is crucial that we look beyond Trump.

The only adversary left is ourselves. And we have mastered the art of self-sabotage. At a time when we liberals need to speak in a way that convinces people from very different walks of life, in every part of the country, that they share a common destiny and need to stand together, our rhetoric encourages self-righteous narcissism. At a moment when political consciousness and strategizing need to be developed, we are expending our energies on symbolic drama over identity. At a time when it is crucial to direct our efforts into seizing institutional power by winning elections, we dissipate them in expressive movements indifferent to the effects they may have on the voting public. In an age when we need to educate young people to think of themselves as citizens with duties toward each other, we encourage them instead to descend into the rabbit hole of the self. The frustrating truth is that we have no political vision to offer the nation, and we are thinking and speaking and acting in ways guaranteed to prevent one from emerging.”
Mark Lilla, The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics

“People who know what kind of new world they want to create through revolution are trouble enough; those who only know what they want to destroy are a curse.”
Mark Lilla

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