The Debate Link: On Jouvenel

Months ago David Schraub and I exchanged some books we’d like to see the other read. Now at, The Debate Link: Jouvenel David reads Jouvenel, or most specifically Mahoney summarizing Jouvenel. I’m not yet going to dive in and comment on Mr Schraub’s take of Jouvenel vs mine, he’s only started reading and that’s too soon to muddy waters. However, when he writes:

Ironically enough, it is Yoshino’s Covering that explains why, noting how people are forced to significantly alter their public persona, behavior, and speech due to some external pressure (if that isn’t power, what is?). Sometimes these are governmentally mandated, and sometimes they are “just” social norms, but often times they are the function of “private” entities like corporations, run by the very barons Jouvenel (descriptively) believes the state should be suppressing the power of, and (normatively) should be working to counter the power of the state. Yet, what we see instead is state organs explicitly sanctioning serious corporate restrictions on the activities and presentment of their employees. Some companies could fire me for writing this blog, others for wearing my hair in a certain ways. Even the supposedly liberal 9th Circuit has held that a women who is otherwise excellent at her job (as a bartender) can be fired for not wearing make-up.

I thought it worthwhile commenting, as Covering was a book he asked me to read, and I did (here).  And I think what I wrote in my second essay from that book speaks here to Mr Schraub’s remarks. Mr Yoshino in his covering misses universal and far more common practice which I in response to the term “covering” termed badging. Badging is the book Mr Yoshino, or someone needs to write, in reply for it is the other half of covering. Most people don’t cover, they badge. We significantly alter our public persona, behavior and speech in order to signify joining, to willingly if not eagerly show our membership our assent and unity with various groups in our society. The missing part of Mr Yoshino’s dialectic is a recognition of the value men (and women) place on badging, for I found little if any recognition that badging forms a universal and important part of every culture. The negative reaction to covering is in essence a reaction to counterfeit badging.  I’ll admit that covering is difficult for some. Mr Yoshino and others have to also admit the good that is to be found in badging.

Corporate standards of behavior and dress are in no way forced on an individual. Labor is not, liberal presentiment to the contrary, purely a buyers market. We are free to go into business on our own, work for companies with different standards and so on.

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  1. Badgery…

    Responding to a part of my reading of Jouvenel, Mark Olson cites back to his own response to Covering (which I recommended he read) to argue that people “badge” more often than they “cover.” (Go ahead, read that again to be sure you get the thread….