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Category Archives: Political issues

The yield curve and the coming Trump recession

A Facebook meme One of the first rules of managing your money is never to give, or to accept, advice about money. I’m not giving any advice in this post. But I am suggesting that now is a good time to take a good hard look — according to one’s own lights — at the […]

The global rot of billionaires

The list of things that make American deplorables so deplorable is very long — racism, vile religion, anti-intellectualism, appalling ignorance, love of propaganda, and tolerance for violence, to name a few. But one of the worst vices — taught by their sorry politics as well as their sorry religion — is the glorification of the […]

The authoritarian lust for scapegoats

Transgender teenager Ally Steinfield, who was murdered last year in Missouri. Her body was mutilated and set on fire. We live in a strange society in which a rather sad, vulnerable, harmless teenager like Ally Steinfield is seen as sick and dangerous. Whereas the people who have a mysterious need to scapegoat people like Ally […]

Privilege and humiliation

The American people are getting some excellent — and I suspect lasting — new insights into the ugliness of unearned privilege. But unearned privilege is only half of the problem that requires fixing. The flip side of that coin is undeserved humiliation. The two things together — the increasing humiliation of the many and the […]

Loyalty vs. justice

Matthew Trudeau Photography via Wikipedia Regular readers here know that I find Jonathan Haidt’s “moral foundations theory” a very useful tool for understanding the minds of conservatives vs. the minds of liberals. However, I part company with Haidt when Haidt asserts that the moral foundations of conservatives and the moral foundations of liberals are equally […]

A simple case study: How propaganda works

There are very few exceptions: Right-wingers and the Republican Party cannot win elections or have their way without lying and cheating. Without a sophisticated propaganda system (and, increasingly under Trumpism, the demonization of the responsible media), the right wing would be exposed as what it truly is: A radical minority with a highly unpopular agenda, […]

Environmental justice: The people fight back

Al Gore This is a rather long photo essay. I hope you’ll bear with me. People sometimes ask me why I choose to live in a rural and seemingly backward place like Stokes County, North Carolina, after 18 years in an urbane place like San Francisco. Stokes is a poor county in the foothills of […]

Hiding in the woods indeed

I watched this doe for a good while yesterday. She couldn’t see me. I was at a window facing the orchard gate. She skulked out of the woods and made for the nearest patch of clover. Then she tore at the clover as though she was starving. Though her ribs were slightly visible, I don’t […]

Old Scotland and the modern world

How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The true story of how Western Europe’s poorest nation created our world and everything in it. By Arthur Herman. Random House, 2001. 472 pages. The title and subtitle of this book contain quite a lot of hyperbole. Of course the Scots didn’t create the modern world and everything […]

The paradoxes of purity

Jakub Józef Orliński, YouTube. What is he singing? Please don’t play the video yet. We’ll watch it in a second. Far more than we realize, the idea of purity affects how we see, and how we react to, the world. Yet we’re barely conscious of our reactions based on purity. We can’t talk about purity […]