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Category Archives: Political issues

How the South Won the Civil War

How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America. Heather Cox Richardson, Oxford University Press, April 1, 2020. 240 pages. This book was published only 60 days ago. Every day since then, its premise has gotten more and more true. In the U.S., we’re now seeing […]

Jonathan Haidt

White House photo A couple of days ago, The Atlantic published a flattering portrait of Jonathan Haidt: Jonathan Haidt Is Trying to Heal America’s Divisions. “Over the past decade,” wrote Peter Wehner, “no one has added more to my understanding of how we think about, discuss, and debate politics and religion than Jonathan Haidt.” Haidt […]

Scary new predictions from Nouriel Roubini

Scheduled air traffic, 2009. Wikipedia. I owe a great deal to Nouriel Roubini. I had been a liberal prepper since 9/11. I was preparing for retirement as the Bush-Cheney financial bubble grew — and grew and grew. If you believed the horsewash and the noise in the media, it was a fine time to borrow […]

A real-world test for the authoritarian mind

There are three conditions of the human psyche that are puzzling and frightening to those of us who don’t have those conditions. Those conditions are authoritarianism, religious fanaticism, and not being very smart. All three of these conditions are commonly found in the same person. To have even one of them can be debilitating. To […]

Goodbye, Pete Buttigieg

I am saddened this evening to learn that Pete Buttigieg has dropped out of the race for U.S. President. I admire him for doing it, though. He is a realist, so he has taken a realistic look at the numbers. I feel sure that one reason he announced this decision two days before Super Tuesday […]

Lest we forget: Nature bats last

“The Course of Empires: Destruction.” Thomas Cole, 1836. Click here for high-resolution version. About two years ago, I reviewed Kyle Harper’s book The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire. Harper drew on new climate research and what we might call archeological microbiology to remind us that political histories are only […]

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