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Feb
10

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...
Feb
3

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...
Jan
31

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...
Dec
28

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...
Nov
20

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,...
Nov
14

Remarks on the extremes in American politics today.

There is tremendous pressure in American civilization today coming from two forces: a philosophy that claims that “big government” is bad, and with it anything associated with a pro government philosophy we lived under from 1933 until 1980. The other force is religious fanaticism, which began to grow deeper roots in the US for the first time in its history between November 9 1989 and September...
Oct
28

On the Opaque Structure of the Federal Reserve Bank

This short NYTimes Magazine article is one of the best explanations of the purpose behind the diffused structure of the Federal Reserve that I’ve seen. Note the reference to the “hubris” of Alan Greenspan, who this writer claims went against the tradition of the Fed by making himself a focus of attention. Here are some key excerpts: “Journalists try to personify the Fed by talking...

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