Do You Have Ideas, or Do Ideas Have You?

neil postman

Charles Hayes: What could be more disturbing than to discover that your life’s goals and ambitions are the result of an ideology about which you remain unaware?

Preparing Not To Forget

dementia

Charles Hayes: The gradual slide into dementia that my own parents experienced serves as a constant reminder about what can happen when one gives up rigorous thinking.

Ideological Amplification: When Ideology Turns Toxic

angry mob

Charles Hayes: Ideological amplification in politics is analogous to conflict-ridden emotion on steroids: the only purpose served is to move each side further and further apart.

The Small Government Fallacy

grover norquist

Charles Hayes: American history shows beyond a doubt that our health as a nation is dependent in large part on a vibrant middle class. Extreme inequality severely weakens our economic foundation.

Duped By the Freedom Ploy

chinese foxconn workers

Charles Hayes: Any country that cannot generate enough goodwill to see that everyone has access to adequate medical care should be embarrassed to refer to itself as the greatest country on earth.

An Open Letter to Richard Cordray

richard cordray

Charles Hayes: Please rename your agency. Stop calling us consumers. We are Citizens with a capital C. In addition, please lead an effort to ask all kinds of media to follow suit.

Politics: It’s About Identity, Stupid

blame

Charles Hayes: Elections are won and lost through appeals to identity. It’s that simple and that complicated. This is why symbols and 30-second, hot-button commercials sway public opinion.

What Do You Mean By Socialist?

Stéphane Hessel

Charles Hayes: One of the biggest fallacies of contemporary economics, and right-wing propaganda in particular, is that a progressive income tax is counterproductive because it dampens incentive. This simply is not true, and yet it is repeated as gospel truth ad nauseam.

An Ayn Rand Train Wreck

ayn rand

Charles Hayes: Now they say it’s time to admit that the whole damn thing is your fault. If you were John Galt, they would let it slide. But you’re not. Your name is Barack Obama.

Conservatism’s Growing Affection for Ignorance

newt-curtain-wide

Charles Hayes: If we elect a Republican as president in 2012, we deserve the calamity that will follow. After all, “stupid is as stupid does.”

Empty the Tea Pot

upset teapot

Charles Hayes: The progressive political agenda for 2012 has never been clearer: Empty the Tea Pot. Remove the Tea Party ideologues from office and those who cater to their whims.

Class Warfare: Is It Real? Is It Over? Or Has It Just Begun?

great depression

Charles Hayes: Now in my seventh decade, I haven’t been able to rid myself of the unrelenting impression that America as a land of opportunity is, for an ever-increasing percentage of our population, a losing proposition.

Misguided Disciple: Paul Ryan in the Shadow of Ayn Rand

ayn rand

Charles Hayes: At the core of Rand’s philosophy is a psychopathic contempt for the kind of people who constitute the majority of Americans. The fact that a budget prepared by one of her disciples sanctions a war against poor people should not be a surprise.

Will the Social Animal Achieve Adulthood?

Impeach Obama 375

Charles Hayes: How disturbing a notion that many of our daily behaviors are reliably predictable. How disappointed would you be to discover that some scientist could study the details of your life and then accurately predict the things you will do or say in the near future?

The “Other As Enemy” Is Enemy to Democracy

sam-keen-wide

Charles Hayes: Keen shows how utterly easy it is to alienate one’s imagined opposition in such a way as to justify any and every means of obliterating them.

America’s Greatest Enemy: Ignorance

dunce1-wide

Charles Hayes: Nothing is more insidious and more threatening than ignorance. Nothing is more pervasive and more unrelenting in deleterious effect than being unaware of the vital matters that should command our attention.

Time, Politics, and Change

Arthur Schopenhauer

Charles Hayes: When I think about the prospects of individuals standing up these days and making some kind of a qualitative political difference in the world, I can’t help, but wonder what it must have been like to be an Abolitionist in 1850, trying to change popular sentiment about slavery, or a suffragette, arguing for women’s rights.

Raging Inequality and Red-State Rationale

texas-wide

Charles Hayes: Republicans are celebrating the 2010 Census because it reflects a gain in congressional seats in traditionally conservative states, but it would be wise of them to realize that a significant number of these people are moving because they can’t find work. Many of them have lost their homes to foreclosure, and if the Republican Party doesn’t get a clue pretty soon, these states may turn a brighter shade of purple with a tint of blue.

Meat: Politics and Perspective on Steroids

Sleeping Calf Cow

Charles Hayes: As those who participate already know, the greatest lesson of all of self-education is that things are seldom as they seem. Examining the food industry is a good way to prove this to yourself. Then apply what you’ve learned to politics.

What’s the Matter with America? The Big Disconnect

palin and miller

Charles Hayes: If America is going to have a better future, we need to put our Stone Age feelings of exceptional identity aside and intellectually guard ourselves against emotional manipulation while reasoning our way forward.

Discombobulated Wingnuttery

If a person is uneducated to such a degree that articulating their political views rationally and coherently is not possible, then emotion is all they can bring to the table. If a person knows little of history and little of the dynamics of human behavior and politics, then any and all arguments that they don’t fully understand are perceived as an assault on their identity.

Symbol Madness

Book Burning Quran Koran

Charles D. Hayes: If any individual or group is going to burn a book, or a flag, or build a structure on their own property that reminds you of something you would rather not think about, the problem does not exist in the desecration or the construction of these items. The problem, plain and simple, is in your own head.

Heroism, Cowardice, and the National Tragedy of Hidden Guilt

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Charles Hayes: Today I feel very differently about the Vietnam War than I did in my youth, but my own feelings of guilt during that time give me a unique kind of insight into the psychology of courage and commitment. America has never had a shortage of courageous citizens willing to take up arms and fight to the death for reasons and causes beyond their own understanding. Arlington Cemetery in Virginia serves as proof. But my sense of the decades since the end of World War II is that America has and is experiencing a courage crisis of shameful origin and of tragic consequence.

Deliver Us from Ignorance: Freedom’s Higher Meaning

freedom of thought

Charles Hayes: as is often said in America, anyone has the right to sleep under a bridge, the rich included, although the rich seldom take advantage of the opportunity. If people can’t quit their low-paying jobs for fear of losing their health insurance, are they free? What about individuals who are so inhibited by what others might think of them they never do anything they really want to do, but instead restrict their life choices to only those acts that they believe will gain them social approval? Are such people really free? How about the groups with which we identify—have you ever considered how they might influence our idea of freedom?

Coffee Time: Reason, Bigotry, and Tea Party Angst

Tea-Party-Violence

Charles D. Hayes: Both liberals and conservatives choose relating over reasoning at times, but research shows that conservatives place much more value on in-group loyalty than liberals do. There is plenty of research data to back up this assertion; one doesn’t have to resort to anecdotal evidence of flag waving and lapel pens, although it’s hard not to notice such behavior.

Celebrity Ego versus Democracy

glenn beck fearmonger

Charles D. Hayes: The state of public discourse in this country has deteriorated to such a degree that few public discussions ever go much further than the echo chambers in which they originate. A significant number our citizens behave as if they no longer believe in democracy at all.

The Dynamics of Disingenuous Dialog, Page 2

Charles D. Hayes: uman history demonstrates beyond doubt that both liberals and conservatives are necessary for the common good and that veering too far in either direction is a recipe for ruin.

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