A Green New Deal (But Not Enough)

Brought back to life by Democrats in both the US Senate (Ed Markey) and House of Representatives (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), the Green New Deal (GND) resurrects a platform proposed by the Green Party in 2006. The proposal, in the form of a Resolution, aims at both the threat of global warming and economic inequality. The key elements are: Guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States. Providing all people of the United States with – (i) high-quality health care; (ii) affordable, safe, and adequate housing; (iii) economic security; and (iv) access to clean water, clean… Read More

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Murder and the Internet

The murder of so many innocents at a mosque in New Zealand, as expected, has brought forth the words of many who try to explain why. Like so many similar instances of wanton killing, there is no single answer. An abused child. A rejected adult. A radicalized follower of a hate-filled group. And so on. In this case, one finds the Internet implicated as the means by which the killer found a community that agreed with and promoted his twisted ideas. Reinforcement of the rightness of your intentions can open the doors of action. Ironically, that same technology that can connect a network of like-minded individuals for whatever purposes, and… Read More

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Leonardo’s Brain

  Those who have followed by blog for a while know that I have written quite a bit about the divided-brain model of Iain McGilchrist. I mentioned the book, Leonardo’s Brain, a few posts ago as providing confirmatory evidence for that model. I thought it worth while to go beyond that mere mention. The author, Leonard Shlain, a doctor, basically echoes McGilchrist. Early in his book he writes, “…one fact remains without doubt: Natural Selection [his avatar for evolution] designed each cortical hemisphere in the human brain to process dramatically different functions.” A few pages later, he writes,”The left brain, the seat of the ego and superego, defined itself as… Read More

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First Things First

You should know by now, after 10 years of blogging, that I am a pretty liberal Democrat, but also a democrat. The lower-case version is more important that the party affiliation, especially at the present time. All the ideologies and left-right tilts will not protect our basic freedom and the rights that constitute it. Now that the Democrats have recovered control of the House, the headlines have shifted a bit from concern over democracy to intra-party battles about how far to the left the Democratic party should be if they are to win the 2020 Presidential election. This is the wrong battle. Before any debate and focus on policy differences,… Read More

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It Will Take More Than Love

Once again, David Brooks is my muse. His columns and public utterings tell me he has come to understand that the US is suffering from a lack of connections and, consequently, from the absence of love. Love, that is, of my variety, which is caring and accepting of the legitimacy of the other to exist, just as the actor does. But he has yet to get to the bottom of the situation and understand why the present condition has come to be and persists. In today’s column, Brooks writes, “What is the core problem facing America today? It is division: The growing gaps between rich and poor, rural and urban,… Read More

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Seeing McGilchrist Everywhere

I found McGilchrist’s divided brain model compelling on its own neurological bases alone, but what really sold me on its importance is the number of instances where it explains cultural phenomena. I will being using my blog to post examples when I come across them. Today’s post comments on the influential strong/weak ties model of Mark Granovetter. His work remains one of the most cited in the field of sociology (Granovetter, M.S. “The Strength of Weak Ties” Am. J. Sociol. 78 (6): 1360–80). Here is a key paragraph: From the individual’s point of view, then, weak ties are an important resource in making possible mobility opportunity. Seen from a more… Read More

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Long Absence Over

What a mess. Hacked again. This site is not some Danish household goods shop. In any case, I am back and refreshed. I noticed this is the first blog in 2019. I am resolved to do a better job of posting regularly, so please do not abandon me. The empty space was largely the result of finishing my book manuscript and getting it off to the publisher. Yes, it has found a home at Routledge. I have appeared in a number of edited volumes for them, but this this the first (and, probably, last) time all on my own. I haven’t a publication date yet, but, hopefully, this summer. To… Read More

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The Chilling Effect of Labels

What is a socialist? What is a capitalist? Both are labels for a set of ideas that include some beliefs and norms. Both incorporate beliefs about human nature and economic activity. Both also include prescriptions of certain behaviors or norms. Whenever we use these labels in discussions, we attach specific fixed beliefs and norms to them, regardless of the fuzziness of the labels. In a sense, their use is a form of political racism: all capitalists, as we label, or all socialists are bad. Or capitalism is bad. Or socialism is bad. The same kind of labeling and its consequences applies to liberal and conservative. The error in reducing complex… Read More

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Needed: A New Self-Consciousness

Among other sources of the good and bad news that permeates the internet and other media these days, I follow a couple of ambitious news groups: The Great Transition Network (GTN) and the Sustainable Consumption world (SCORAI). Both are worthy sources of some very clear thinking about what will be needed to secure a just and sustainable future. But both (and virtually all others seeking an effective path forward), I believe, are missing an essential prerequisite: a shift in human self-consciousness. Put into other words, until human beings begin to think of themselves as caring creatures (Homo curitans), rather than adopt the current dominant view as selfish, needy, violent actors… Read More

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Trump’s Walls

About the only wall we hear about in the news media is the one that hasn’t yet gone up along the Texas-Mexico border. Given the split House of Representatives, it is now more unlikely to be built. But that is not the wall we should be worried about. There are other walls being constructed silently that are much more dangerous to health of the body politic. One is the wall formed by the huge economic gap between the super-rich and the rest of us. It’s not the old story about the rich and the poor, but a about a tiny group of people that have gathered in the bulk of… Read More

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