politics

politics


Free Speech in Modern America

free speech November 16th, 2022

Freedom of speech is a liberty that is woven into the very fabric of the United States. We have a long history here of continuing the tradition and system set up by the founders of America, such as Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine. Except for certain periods of a marked diminution of free speech and dissent (such as the Alien and Sedition Acts, McCarthyism, and the juggernaut of the post-9/11 Middle East wars), one could rest assured that if they wished to stand on a soapbox and absolutely trash the POTUS, one would not be prevented from doing so. Of course, there are libel and slander laws, which make it illegal to lie about someone in public (i.e., to besmirch their good reputation). And yes, in the age of social media free speech, freedom of expression, and the liberty to be who one chooses to be are greatly stressed.

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A Nightmare About America

America November 13th, 2022

While jogging at sundown one day in April 2003, I had a very moving experience, one that may indeed have bridged my conception of the spiritual and the worldly. My wandering mind juxtaposed my impression of American Indian culture, spirituality, worldview, and morality with the current state of affairs and mentality in European-American culture. I experienced a combination of seemingly coincidental events that struck me as conveying great meaning: that we may come to face a startling reckoning for our legacy and lifestyle.

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Skepticism, Belief, Doubt, & Evidence

evidence November 9th, 2022

We all believe some things without sufficient (or, perhaps “good”) evidence to support the belief. It is often innocuous—”My son is going to win his game this Saturday!”, or “Our financial problems will get better, don’t worry, honey”, or “Go Pats!” However, belief without evidence is highly questionable. This blog gets into religion, politics, and such from the perspective that belief in something should, by and large, be apportioned based on what the balance of solid, dispassionately-perceived evidence indicates.

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Times Are A-Changin’

September 25th, 2022

As Bob Dylan wrote in 1964, the times they are a-changin‘! That might be an understatement when applied to today, in fact. The changes are coming in very rapid succession nowadays, and much of it ain’t good, as Dylan might have put it…
It’s not just a right-of-center phenomenon, since I too think that more progressively-minded people are right to lament ways in which society has changed since Reaganism was first ascendent (these individuals are relatively much more focused on the ways in which society is being prevented from changing by those at the top—more than any kind of moral degradation that has to do with the country failing to uphold its proper Christian values and virtue on the whole).

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Do Humans Deserve Climate Catastrophe?

climate catastrophe September 13th, 2022

Does America deserve to survive and thrive on into the future? We are facing a veritable climate catastrophe, yet our sense of alarm is about “3” on a scale of 1-10. Does that mean we deserve (morally) to suffer whatever fate the gods have in store for us, if you will? I am talking here about responsibility, wisdom, and proactivity. Bottom line: there really is no excuse; we are out of time; it’s a climate catastrophe that should trump Trump, cultural disputes, and the status quo.

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Ignorance is Often Not Bliss

ignorance September 9th, 2022

There is a saying that passes as folk wisdom: ignorance is bliss. That is, if a person ignores information, facts, and wisdom (and remember that ignore comes from the same root word as ignorance, of course), or is otherwise benighted, misinformed, mentally lazy, or superstitious or biased to an adequate degree, then they will be happier, so it is claimed. Not so! I consider it dangerous, not a route to happiness. What follows are some thoughts I have about what a state of stupidity we humans seem to consistently find ourselves in. It’s a species-wide flaw!

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The Danger Posed by Far-Right Extremism

extremism August 20th, 2022

I wish to make three points which, hopefully, will lead a reader to accept my conclusion. The premises are: a) Donald Trump is a very mentally ill individual, and probably fascistic and authoritarian and criminal in his heart; b) political extremism on the Right is out of control and untethered to reality or decency; and c) far-Right extremism is buoyed by a noxious media echo chamber, fueled by white supremacy, and these individuals don’t seem to have much to lose. They are armed and they are endlessly aggrieved. The conclusion I draw is that America is facing unparalleled danger from far-Right extremists because they are buying this malarkey, have very little “reality-testing” (as psychiatrists call the ability to think critically and avoid delusional thinking), and are quite aggrieved. When combined with the fact that they tend to be armed and hostile and groupthink-y, it adds up to a powder keg of violent extremism.

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Social Justice on This July Fourth Holiday

social justice July 4th, 2022

This is one of the hardest starts I have had writing a blog – and usually they just pour out of me. I think it is because the present topic is very disturbing to me as a Jew, a liberal, a person who is fairly educated. I also have feelings of hatred inside me, and that is uncomfortable and hard to deal with – obviously, I don’t want to vomit a screed of ill-conceived hatred onto your screen. At any rate, I will try to share some of my feelings and a few thoughts as well!

The topic: what has become of almost half the population of the United States, vis-a-vis social justice, racism, privilege, demagoguery, and authoritarianism.

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Dignity as an Antidote to Partisanship and Economic Despair

dignity June 25th, 2022

E. J. Dionne of the Washington Post suggested (a while ago now) that dignity is an antidote to partisanship and economic despair, and can be the best way to defeat Trumpism, which is, appallingly, still a scourge on the American republic. Perhaps until we root out the essential causes and contributors of how it is that so many Americans are so disaffected and so susceptible to propaganda and white supremacy and violent extremism, we will not be back on track. Perhaps this will all end up being a crucible through which Americans had to pass in order to transcend the figurative adolescence in which we have clearly been stuck.

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A Time of Unprecedented Tribalism in America….

unprecedented tribalism June 21st, 2022

Now is a time of heightened threat, trouble, tribulation, and tumult for America.

We are beset by anxiety, risk, lack of clarity, fear, and in-fighting.

I really worry that we are facing a panoply of dangerous (and often self-created) problems!

Can we rise to the occasion, or will we crumble in the face of myriad threats and internal vulnerabilities? Will we listen to “our better angels,” as Lincoln put it? Or tear ourselves apart as we did in the Civil War?

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