“Culling the herd” may be a crass way of referring to what is going on in too many states and cities today. However, we may learn something by considering the parallels and differences. In the wild, large predators such as lions or cheetahs cull herds of gazelles, zebras, etc. by attacking the old, infirm, or … More Culling the Herd with Arrogant Ignorance
Most folks assume that authority rests with some sovereign person or government entity and that its power flows from the top down. That’s what kings, princes, and wannabe dictators would have you think. They invoke all sorts of justifications, from the divine right of kings or other presumed blessing of power, right down to the … More How to Distribute Authority
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
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced to the surface some very peculiar ideas about American values. Those values have changed significantly since the explosive century of industrial consumerism. As industrial extraction, production, and consumption expanded through the twentieth century, right up until the pandemic, economic change has transformed the character of the old “rugged individualism” as … More Public Health, Personal Liberty. and the Scourge of Interdependence
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
Sadly, the science of epidemiology is about as well understood as science itself. In the case of the current COVID-19 pandemic, many are grasping at straws to find comfort in some quick “cure” or other. Unfortunately, life is not that simple. Science and Medical Treatment Scientists estimate the efficacy of a drug based on the … More The Science and Politics of Medical Treatments in a Pandemic Emergency.
Sometimes we resist forces that take us out of our “comfort zone.” These days, two such forces, one new and in our face, and the other not so new but consistently resisted as its danger grows, now vie for our attention. A viral pandemic and a global climate crisis seem so different. But are they? … More Two Emergencies: Coronavirus and Climate Collapse
Thomas Friedman is a very slick writer who always promotes the interests of the political economy of the corporate elite while genuflecting to liberal causes. He has done it again in his latest opinion piece in the New York Times. That’s why Friedman is so popular among Times readers, so many of whom are of … More The Bloomberg Pitch
In a number of posts, I have discussed various social illusions such as the idea that the extractive industrial consumer economy could just keep growing permanently, as so many economists implicitly insist. That deeply flawed illusion rests on some equally defective assumptions. Many people also believe that as industrial materials reach a state of depletion … More Let’s Get Real: What is Sustainable in Markets, the Biosphere, and Society?
A president can be impeached, tried, and removed from office for “high crimes and misdemeanors,” including bribery and treason. That seems clear on the surface, but what specific acts fall within these categories? Well, that is less clear, but a lot of hints are out there. Let’s consider a couple of examples. Bribery seems clear-cut. You … More Traitor, Treason, Treachery, or Mere Trumpery