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…
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 is palpable almost anywhere I turn. We have an incumbent president who will not commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses the election. He blatantly claims that voting by mail is subject to widespread fraud, yet nobody had found any evidence to support his claim. He encourages “Trump trains” of … More What to Do Now: Saving Electoral Democracy from Autocracy
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”?
Most of us remember at least vaguely the constitutional admonition that any authority it does not explicitly assign to the federal government, “are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” (Amendment X, to the Constitution of the United States of America) We also remember how southern politicians weaponized the principle of “states rights” … More A New Meaning for “States Rights”: Community Sovereignty for Health and Safety
In a recent post here, I asserted, “the title to Naomi Klein’s book, This Changes Everything, may apply to everything now, not least of which is the human behavior in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Well, as the current frenzy grows, that seems a gross understatement. As recent events and global trends grow more … More Frenzy: When Murder, Pandemic, and Eco-Chaos Collide
Ideologies defend the status quo; utopias propose perfect futures to replace the difficulties of life in the present. Strangely, sometimes the two get all mixed up together. That is the case today. The corporatist culture frames a utopian future as its ideology used to justify “staying the course” of the present globalized economy of endless … More The Ideology of Utopian Dreams Confronts the Looming Dystopian Future
It seems that the title to Naomi Klein’s book, This Changes Everything, has taken on even greater meaning now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Klein’s book is about the politics of the climate crisis. But the title applies equally to the sudden appearance of the novel coronavirus that spread so rapidly and extensively … More The Ethics of Pandemics
When investment banks talk of the known reserves of oil and gas that may be left in the ground if climate policy ever were to sequester them, they call them potentially “stranded assets.” The investment banks that finance exploitation, drilling, fracking, and pipelines, see all forms of petroleum only as financial values once inserted into … More Stranded Assets and Planetary Liabilities
Today is Veterans Day. When I hear the ritually grateful expression, “Thank you for your service,” offered to a veteran or current military service member the speaker has never met before, I wonder why the statement makes me uncomfortable. Perhaps it is because such ritual expressions of appreciation for military service reflect no real understanding … More Thank You for Your Service to the Rich and Powerful