A Brief Education on the Source and Nature of the Crisis in American Politics

Many of us sense that there is something very wrong with the policy ideas the GOP has been pursuing. To understand this, we need to look at the explicit philosophy that has been motivating activists on the American right since the 1980s. In this brief essay, I seek to explain the source and origin of the deep philosophic confusion in the GOP today. There are two strands to the ideology held by many...

Towards a Second Order Moral Value Recasting the American Political Project.

Since the ethical and political disaster of electing Trump, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to move to the next iteration of the political Enlightenment, which is dying rapidly. (Conservatives and liberals are both quite lost in this regard. Anarchists are worse off: delusional.) The primary need of this new paradigm will to be the jettisoning of the assumption that society can function well...

How the American Far Right Wins: by appealing to resentment.

It’s important for the public to know that the American far right has been deliberately whipping up resentment since Nixon. Below is an excerpt from the linked article in the New York Review of Books. Kevin Phillips was a well known conservative figure in the 1980s. Note the nasty goals spelled out for the GOP in this book ghostwritten for Goldwater, who famously claimed that extremism in politics...

Goldman Sachs asks a fundamental question about capitalism today.

The secular left is not effective at criticizing capitalism. For the same reason that the so-called “conservatives” and Libertarians are at defending it: Both sides make moral arguments that miss the point – e.g. neither show understanding of the express purpose of the American political system. There are two justifications for capitalism as a system. The Good American Citizen is...

The Oregon Trail: American pioneers as a living metaphor for any of our serious struggles.

I’ve become interested in what it was like for the earliest settlers and pioneers and have gotten it into my head that the American pioneer experience is sort of like any individual’s experience going through obstacles and barriers, anxieties and fears yet making a decision, one day at a time, to continue on. According to the author noted here, the biggest thing the pioneers confronted was...

Stephen Colbert: integrity, humor and care for the common good.

It was a great pleasure to discover this interview of Stephen Colbert on an obscure Catholic interview talk show and find a truly profound discussion. It needs listening to twice. Colbert shows nuance and sophistication towards the most important question any public figure must reflect on who seeks to impact this American society for the better: How to convey truths of life in a society like ours, which...

The American founders and religious passion.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how important the repression or at least marginalization of religious passion was to political thinkers in the 16 and 1700s. This was because of the “100 years” of religious and civil wars in Europe in the 1500s. While Europeans are generally educated about their own history and know that this is the reason they tend to be aloof from organized religion,...

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