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Category Archives: Political issues

A parable of justice

In the Shadow of Justice: Postwar Liberalism and the Remaking of Political Philosophy. Katrina Forrester, Princeton University Press, 2019. 402 pages. ★★★★ A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, liberal ideas ruled. There had been a terrible Depression, followed by a terrible world war. Seventy-five million people died. Great cities and vast […]

Conservatism, with lipstick and without

Roger Scruton. Wikipedia photo. The Washington Post has an obituary this morning for Roger Scruton, whom the Post describes as a “British philosopher, author and high priest of conservatism.” Scruton was a lipstick conservative. By that I mean that his fundamental meanness was masked by good manners, nice clothes, connections to Cambridge, and even a […]

Richmond, Jan. 20: I’ve got a bad feeling about this

“Unite the Right” rally, Charlottesville, Virginia, August 2017. Wikipedia photo. I had been wondering when the mainstream media would write a proper piece about the gun-rights rally planned for Richmond, Virginia, on Jan. 20. The Washington Post finally has it today: Prospect of gun control in Virginia draws threats, promise of armed protest. Because I […]

A video for the 39th anniversary of John Lennon’s death

Needed: An honorable calculus of civility and incivility

Rosa Parks is fingerprinted after she was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white person, 1956, Montgomery, Alabama. Wikipedia photo. Here are some sample problems to solve with a calculus of civility and incivility. What do you think?: 1. If a friend of a friend on Facebook trolls […]

Hastening their own demise

The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, now a museum. Wikipedia photo. The Economist has an article today with the headline “Arabs are losing faith in religious parties and leaders.” The article reports not only a sharply declining trust of religion in politics in the Arab world, but also that Arab young people are losing their religious […]

The duties of decency

One of the things that astonishes me and scares the daylights out of me, while watching the House impeachment hearings, is what the Republican Party has become. The vileness and just plain meanness of Reps. Jim Jordan and Devin Nunes are on full display as they spit and rant and bully to create sound bites […]

At last we see the tip of the iceberg

For those of us who have been paying careful attention to the crimes and treason of Donald Trump and connecting the dots as best we can, this morning was a milestone. When Gordon Sondland, in his opening statement to the House Intelligence Committee, threw everyone under the bus — Trump, Pence, Pompeo and all — […]

What authoritarians see

This photo, which I assume is an official White House photo, is historic. We’re going to see it for the rest of our lives, in documentaries about Donald Trump’s impeachment and how we almost lost the American republic to a gang of tawdry, slow-witted, money-grubbing little boys who grew up mean and twisted. Nancy Pelosi’s […]

A history of tyrants

Tyrants: A History of Power, Injustice, and Terror. Waller R. Newell, Cambridge University Press, 2016. 254 pages. The Crisis of Church and State 1050-1300. Brian Tierney, Prentice-Hall, 1964. 212 pages. One book leads to another. While reading Nigel Tranter’s historical novel Sword of State, set in Scotland in the early 1200’s, one thing that struck […]