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.
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.
May 17th, 2021
America has maximized human and societal potential in many ways – we are truly a republic of great potential and productivity. Of course, being black, Holliday experienced an appalling side of America first-hand, one grossly shy of the beautiful principles on which it was founded. We are the best and the worst of everything in humanity. It is fair, recognizing slavery and poverty and vicious wealth inequality since ideals such as liberty, inclusion, democracy, and opportunity are unambiguously glorious values and aspirations we do treasure here. We must be truthful and integrate all our past and reconcile our darkness with our light. Anyway, Billie Holliday represented something special to many people, and I think the story of her song “Strange Fruit” is quite relevant to the idea of integration – both on a personal level, and certainly on a societal one.
March 9th, 2021
Is the American “capitalistic” system fair and functioning well? What makes a society good and economically just? Does America show satisfactory respect for the dignity of its citizens based on the economic system is created? Have things gotten worse since the COVID-19 pandemic? Whether wealth and income inequality are fair and morally justifiable hinges on what one believes about the nature of the socio-economic system in question. The 18th century theorists of great renown, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Adam Smith both have opinions relevant American-style capitalism, economic justice, and rights/fairness. In the end, I do not believe either would see a justification for the “capitalistic” system America has created.
March 6th, 2021
Empathy is the degree to which a person can place oneself in another’s shoes. Anyone can feel pain when someone steps on their toe, but what if you see someone else wincing in pain, grasping their own toe? The question is related to what you experience when you determine, perceptually, that someone else is suffering in some way. Empathy is a key driver of moral goodness, I believe. Another way to describe this phenomenon is, acting right is about empathizing with the other. What follows is my rationale.
July 17th, 2020
“Political correctness is the idea that assumes that the worst thing we can do is offend somebody,” said actor
May 19th, 2020
I’m not the “most Jewish” person around, that’s for sure. One thing I do have, though, is that I connect my Jewishness up with empathy for what African-Americans have gone through and still experience. We Jews ought to have special insight into America’s long history of racial, ethnic, and class discrimination because of our unique history. My wife came up to me tonight, flaming mad, about another example of the mistreatment of, discrimination toward, and prejudice directed at black people in America. It was heartening to see her make an astute connection, and the point of this blog is to elucidate that thesis for you.
April 26th, 2020
Remember that old Mel Brooks line, “It’s good to be the king!”? Ya, well as we can see from the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on rich and poor, he ain’t lyin’.
March 10th, 2020
The New York Times columnist David Leonhardt worked his way into my respect naturally. Somehow, the NYT started sending me his opinion pieces maybe three or four times a week, and my first thought was, “Who’s the new guy?” A page that has featured Charles Blow, Thomas L. Friedman, Maureen Dowd, Nicholas D. Kristof, Paul Krugman, and Bob Herbert creates a high bar in my mind. But, over time, Leonhardt has grown to be one of my favorite and most-quoted writers. In one piece, he gives voice to a core is a political philosphy precept of mine: social cohesion depends on political progress. Another way to phrase this idea would be: social welfare vs. individual supremacy vis-a-vis political progressivism.
October 11th, 2019
What happened to America’s heroes? True, we have television shows now that elevate someone as a crafty and lucky game show contestant, a dexterous modern ninja, or a brave kid with astounding talent. As I write, the Trump scandal about Ukraine is unfolding. I turned off the television when he alluded to capital punishment for the folks in the White House who were implicated as informants on his repetitive, unpatriotic scandals. Frankly, the most we tend to see about this abomination of an Administration are anonymous opinion pieces in a newspaper, folks being forced to resign for not toeing the line, and occasionally someone will sort of allude to the fact that they left the Administration because they weren’t seeing eye to eye with Trump. Where are the heroes who stand up and say they will not accept scandalous, unethical, and outrageous behavior on the part of the President?