What Is True Political Wisdom? A Primer for the 2012 Election

political magic

Walter Moss: We want our leaders to exercise political wisdom. At least, we do if we think about it. Does anybody really desire unwise leaders? But what do we mean by political wisdom? What virtues and values does a wise leader possess?

Politics: It’s About Identity, Stupid

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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.

David Brooks’s Anti-Poverty Program: “Bourgeois Paternalism”

david brooks

Joseph Palermo: After telling his readers he isn’t going to blame the poor for being poor because of their bad behavior, David Brooks plows right ahead and blames the poor for being poor because of their bad behavior.

State of the Union: The Only Time Congress Deals In Virtual Reality

obama oval office

Anthony Samad: President Barack Obama laid out the reality of our nation, his accomplishments despite obstruction, in front of Congress and the nation. He did it in real time, in virtual reality, in jaw-dropping fashion.

What Americans Must Utter to Reclaim the Human

huckleberry finn

Kathleen Peine: In much the same manner as Huck Finn, scores of individuals in America feel ill at ease with everyday imperatives. For some it’s the Imperialism, even if they don’t know what to call it. For even more it’s the degrading, soul eroding workplace.

An Open Letter to Supporters of Occupy Wall Street

occupy veteran

David Kristjanson-Gural: I am asking you to continue to lend your support to the Occupy gatherings. Just show up as you are able, on top of everything else you are doing, to lend your encouragement and support to others and, in turn, to gather strength of purpose.

Hunter-Gatherers Lost in the 21st Century

hunter gatherer

Christine Celata: It is much easier to ignore inequity when it happens to strangers than when we are knit together with those strangers until they are friends. As an individual you can make a difference. One person with compassion can change many lives, even if it is one at a time.

The Christian Fascists’ Personhood Campaign

human egg

Sikivu Hutchinson: Ever immune to morality, reason, church-state separation precedents and an understanding of the basic laws of biology, the most flat earth reactionary segment of the pro-death anti-choice movement wants to circumvent constitutional protections for abortion by conferring personhood on fertilized eggs.

Is Consumer Capitalism Outdated?

Walter Moss: If consumer capitalism is indeed replaced by a new economic structure, many capitalist bricks may still be needed for any new construction. Whether we choose to attempt new building or just apply a little patching here or there is up to us.

Why Conservatives Need to Support the #OccupyWallStreet Movement

occupy wall street

David Love: Conservatives proclaim that they believe in freedom and the free market. But freedom never meant the right of a handful to steal most of the nation’s wealth, run roughshod over the rest of us and wreck the country for a buck.

Why Libertarians Should Not Scorn Occupy Wall Street

occupy wall street

Wendy McElroy: Protesters have been maced, beaten, and arrested by the police for peacefully exercising their right to free assembly and free speech. Libertarians who put their disapproval first and foremost are missing the proper emphasis.

Reimagining Capitalism: An End to Mythologies

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John Peeler: The economy, like the polity, ought to be democratically controlled. Democracy should operate at the level of the firm as well as the community: employees should be owners.

The Beauty of Emptiness

gregory colbert

Rev. Dr. Jim Nelson: The story goes in Hasidic Judaism that in the beginning, or in the time before the beginning, before history, before there was anything other than God, God decided to create the world. Why is a mystery; perhaps he was bored, perhaps she was lonely; maybe he had read a self-help book about expressing her inner artist. No one knows.

You’re Not Supposed to Be Happy

original intent

Tina Dupuy: The whole idea of a democracy is accepting you’ll never fully get your own way in government.

Zen and the Art of Presidential Politics — or Not

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Michael Sigman: The only Zen you find in politics is the Zen in ironic headlines to show how little Zen there is there. I mean, they can’t be serious. Can they?

Misguided Disciple: Paul Ryan in the Shadow of Ayn Rand

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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.

The “Other As Enemy” Is Enemy to Democracy

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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.

Black Atheists in the Pulpit

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Sikivu Hutchinson: Congregants of Zion Hill Baptist Church in South Los Angeles probably thought Pastor Seth Pickens was certifiable when he proposed a community dialogue with the L.A. Black Skeptics Group.

America’s Greatest Enemy: Ignorance

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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.

3D Decision-Making Model

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Ron Wolff: Robust cognitive ability, a healthy emotional outlook, and high ethical standards will combine to produce decisions fitting our complex society.

Then Just What Is Freedom?

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Steve Hochstadt: Isn’t freedom more than having a low tax rate? Doesn’t freedom mean the ability to direct our own lives, to influence the big decisions that affect our families, our workplaces, and our communities?

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.

Who Says Republicans Have No New Ideas?

herbert hoover

Robert Reich: Republicans haven’t come up with a single new idea in almost 60 years. Herbert Hoover was the last Republican president to introduce a new Republican theme back in 1952 at the Republican National Convention. Since then they’ve repeated the message. Of course, Herbert Hoover, you may remember, didn’t have a sterling record when it came to the economy. As president, he presided over the Great Crash of 1929 and ushered in the Great Depression.

To Be Atheist, Feminist, and Black

Black Woman

Sikivu Hutchinson: Sadly, there is still a fair amount of ignorance and bigotry toward black non-believers in African American communities due to the stereotype that atheists are immoral, rudderless, and not authentically black.

“Ask Not What Your Country Blah Blah Blah,” and Other Ridiculous Memes

John F Kennedy and Ted Sorenson

Gary Corseri: Once you start thinking about memes, it’s like having cataracts removed—colors emerge more vividly; you start seeing patterns in carpets, in wallpaper. It’s like suddenly seeing Snooky’s face for the first time on HDTV!

State of the Union Address 2011 – Full Video and Transcript

You can watch President Obama’s State of the Union Address, in its entirety and read the full transcript here. The president began by introducing the Speaker of the House, John Boehner. He then went on to talk about the tragedy in Tucson, pointing out that Representative Gabrielle Giffords’ seat was empty. The hour long video offers insight into what we’re to expect in the coming year.

Wikileaks and Tangential Truths

wikileaks

Tom Hall: While Faux News and right-wing blowhards fabricate against wikileaks for publishing the truth, the Republican Party voted to reaffirm its opposition to ending discrimination in the military, even if such discrimination hurts the nation’s security.

European Racism vs. “Underground” Racism in the U.S.

european racism

Jessie Daniels: While it’s true that it’s no longer ok to say the n-word in some mixed groups, there’s plenty of evidence that racism – even the crudest forms, and alongside some new forms – still abounds in the contemporary U.S. in plenty of above ground.

Heretics, Humanism, and the Hood

frederick douglass

Sikivu Hutchinson: The mental health crisis amongst African Americans is a devastating indicator of racial and social inequity, of which the prayer as therapy epidemic is an insidious symptom. Frederick Douglass once wrote, “I prayed for twenty years and received no answer until I prayed with my legs.” What would Douglass, a trailblazing male feminist, have made of the brutal ironies of twenty first century black America?

Sarah Palin: Professor of Freedom?

Sarah Palin

Ron Wolff: I suggest that it is not necessary to postulate bias against conservatives as the reason for the preponderance of liberals in academia. The simpler answer is that conservatives (with exceptions! I don’t want to over-generalize!) are less able (or at least less inclined) to engage in critical thinking worthy of an academic environment.

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