Old Westbury Review

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    Old Westbury Review. Volume 1 No. 2
    (State University of New York College at Old Westbury, 1986-09) Taves, Michael
    Welcome to the second issue. Our main purpose is to reinstate a classical tradition in terms of the role of the intellectual and of scholarship in society: to offer art and critique of relevance and value to the concerned citizen. This attitude requires an openly analytic and critical posture that offers creative interpretation, and suggests strategies of ideological and structural transformation. Each issue focuses on a specific topic. We expect that authors will provide an analysis that transcends or challenges the rigid boundaries that constrict the way we see and interpret social reality. Moreover, we will encourage debate and comparison that crosses intellectual, cultural and national borders. We encourage contributors to take a position which is independent and self-conscious of the common assumptions of social opinion. As a journal of "critical opinion", our task is to offer material which is more than mere reportage or traditional research. Rather, we seek material which is both critical of commonly-held and unquestioned assumptions and offers an opinionated interpretation of the problem at hand. We seek to restore opinion to its rightful place in scholarly, political and cultural discourse.
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    Old Westbury Review. Volume 1 No. 1
    (State University of New York College at Old Westbury, 1986-01) Taves, Michael
    We are prompted in this enterprise by several convictions. The range of intellectual exchange outside the realm of corporate discourse seems to be narrowing, and we see neoconservative values and perspectives as rapidly achieving a powerful status in our cultural life. These views are realizing a certain dominance in the convergence of political policy and ideology with corporate priorities, not only because of sophisticated political networking but also, it must be admitted, because of the artistry and self-assurance of many neoconservative voices. The message may be regressive and historically defensive, but with a high quality of presentation and control of the political apparatus it has the desired effect of closing off alternative discourse. We seek to be an alternative voice in this context, serving as a vehicle for the intellectual and cultural critique of the value assumptions, power relationships, and cultural institutions through which neoconservatism, and the structure of power it temporarily represents, now asserts its dominance. Our intention is not to convince but to provoke. to provoke dialogue by serving as a forum for "critical opinion." Opinion, of course, is cheap, while rigor is not. In the past and to the present, most political opinion and moral positions have passed on the basis of implied assumptions held in common by those within any particular persuasion, whether liberal, conservative, or other, with little concern for rigor and quality. At this point a simple assertion of old political positions without a self-conscious examination of their assumptions will not do. Critical opinion, to achieve respect and influence in the present, requires that it meet rigorous standards regarding the quality of argument or artistry. We will strive to insist upon and meet such standards, and expect that our ability to do so will improve over time. We not only seek to achieve an equal level of artistry and self-assurance, but also to be honest and self-conscious of our methodology and assumptions. Our method is critique, whether through art in expressing an alternative view of history or possibility, through a journalistic account offering a perspective otherwise unrevealed, or through a political analysis critical of assumed ideology or imposed policy. We intend to promote this method through a wide variety of approaches and a diverse range of authors. As for assumptions, one might say we model our editorial position on the political idea of being nonaligned; to take a position that is independent and self-consciously critical of the current allocations of power. To be nonaligned is a position we take to be very different from what is now called pluralism, the outlook that all views should somehow coexist with equanimity. Under certain circumstances nonalignment may be very opinionated; for some even too opinionated. In the current world it can mean a very critical and sometimes even strident stance against a present expression of power on the side of the inhumane or destructive. Weassume the proposition that the current configuration of domestic and geopolitical power is not working to reduce the threat of war or the misery of poverty, is not working to protect the ecosystem or human rights, or to promote a true realization of freedom, self-determination, or moral justice. Therefore, we stand opposed to it, and seek to serve as a forum for the dialogue provoked by this opposition in the expression of critical opinion; opinion that is analytical and independent, and that, it is hoped, out of its critical stance, provokes debate. Debate gives contrast to differences, clarity to alternatives.