What was once a routine celebratory national ritual—the inauguration of a new president—grows near, the political and cultural tensions grow evermore severe. Not only is the national Capitol subject to assault by a ragtag mob of self-appointed “patriotic” seditionists, incited by none other than the president himself. We are also unfortunate to observe the chaotic … More Has the Nation Gone Mad? Well, Sort Of…
Climate scientist Dr. Andrew Glikson’s brief assessment of our global prospects in his article, “How long for civilization?” is uncomfortably right on target. He begins his short essay, published the day after Christmas, 2020, with an epigram consisting of Albert Einstein’s famous statement, ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over … More Earth System Discontent with Civilization
With all the crises and stress in our family and in the world, we decided to spend a good part of Christmas day watching old Christmas movies. First, we watched the 1946 classic “It’s a Wonderful Life,” starring James Stewart, which I had not seen in decades. Then we watched the 1984 version of “A … More It’s a wonderful life, but not for Ebenezer Scrooge
Yes, we do live in interesting times, which does not mean that we understand very well our place on time’s arrow. We pine for an idyllic past, misinterpret what is going on right now, and imagine a utopian future that cannot be. If only the experts will come up with impossible new technologies and materials … More Past Perfect, Present Imperfect, and Future Extreme
The nation appears to disintegrate before our eyes. Suspicion proliferates. What were once ‘normal’ channels of communication about politics and the state of the world are no longer trusted. Trump’s repeated assertions (even before it began) that the 2020 presidential election was rigged have failed the test of multiple lawsuits, each thrown out of court … More Acceptable Lies: Believing Dystopia
“Nobody could have seen it coming or how bad it could be.” Wrong! Epidemiologists and virologists saw the earliest warnings of the global danger of the COVID-19 pandemic and warned the politicians. Even I, with my modest background in epidemiology, knew as soon as I saw the characteristics of this novel corona virus that its … More Dress Rehearsal: Failed Pandemic Response is the Harbinger for Climate Chaos Policy Failure
Recent and current trends in political chaos, fear, and hatred raise some serious questions about “the American character.” The nation seems so divided that one might even question whether such a thing exists. Partisans in every direction try to capture “American” as their own exclusive property while casting doubt on the legitimacy of the Others. … More American Character: Which Way Did It Go?
The tension in America has hardly lessened by the fact that Trump is now a “lame duck” president wallowing in his infantile denial of failure, unwilling to cooperate in the American tradition of a peaceful transition of power. Instead, he continues to rally his ‘base’ with foolishly tweeted feeble claims of, “I won!” or that … More Moral Fraud: Liberty, Responsibility, and Mutual Aid
The Trumpist anti-science strategy for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic is eminently and notoriously political. Of course, the virus has no politics, except for its strategy for self-replication and spread. It is a biological empire of death. At the same time, most folks who are paying attention know that a significant history exists of effective … More Is “Herd Immunity” actually “Culling the Herd”?
The diverse conspiracy theories, the denial of scientific knowledge, and the demands of an absolute individualism against the public interest, which have arisen lately, certainly give one pause for thought. The historical parallels to the rise of fascism are stunning. The ability of a president—who in no way represents the actual interests of the American … More Performing Fascism: It’s about Behavior, not Theory