Looking for the Keys in the Wrong Place

I am back to reading the news and opinion, seeking inspiration for these blog posts. Today it comes as it often does from an [op-ed](https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/21/opinion/this-century-is-broken.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-right-region&region=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region&_r=1) by David Brooks, entitled, “This Century Is Broken.” > Most of us came of age in the last half of the 20th century and had our perceptions of “normal” formed in that era. It was, all things considered, an unusually happy period. No world wars, no Great Depressions, fewer civil wars, fewer plagues. > > It’s looking like we’re not going to get to enjoy one of those times again. The 21st century is looking much nastier and bumpier: rising ethnic nationalism, falling faith in… Read More

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Truth or Consequences

I imagine that very few of those who read this blog will remember the old radio show by this title. [Here](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth_or_Consequences)’s how Wikipedia describes it: > On the show, contestants received roughly two seconds to answer a trivia question correctly (usually an off-the-wall question that no one would be able to answer correctly, or a bad joke) before “Beulah the Buzzer” sounded (in the rare occasion that the contestant answered the question correctly before Beulah was heard, the question inevitably had two or even three parts). If the contestant could not complete the “Truth” portion, there would be “Consequences,” usually a zany and embarrassing stunt. From the start, most contestants… Read More

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Truth, Trust, and the Constitution

The idea underlying freedom in the United States is government by the consent of the people. Most of us have been exposed to this somewhere along our educational path. I suspect, however, that very few have really thought about what it means. To truly understand what it means, you have to start with the previous post. Consent rests on a foundation of trust. And trust lies on a deeper ground of truth or facts. Consent always applies in practice to some form of commissive: a promise to do something. In a high level of generality in the context of government, it means to obey the law, pay your taxes, and,… Read More

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Politics and Philosophy

I have been struggling for the last few months to assess the possibilities for flourishing. Since I believe its possibility started dropping centuries ago when the key ideas about the way the world works burst forth, a few years wouldn’t seem to make much difference. I think it does, however. I have to focus on the United States for my lack of context about the rest of the world. The biggest event to examine is the election of Donald Trump. I will start my analysis by looking at what he represents as a potential window into the current cultural beliefs and values. He moves us quite a long way from… Read More

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Regulations Are Good for Us

It’s is a terrible deal to toss out two regulations for every new one as the President recently ordered. Regulations were invented to correct the raw mechanics of capitalism and minimize its harmful unintended consequences. I have lived through and worked with environmental regulations since they first showed up in the 1970’s. A company I started helped write the very first regulations put out under the Clean Air Act of 19790. I remember why they came to be. Smog events in Los Angeles with dreadful health consequences. The Cuyahoga River catching fire in Cleveland. Love Canal. Some 3000 excess deaths after an extended fog in London, England. Today Beijing is… Read More

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