They call it their “Self-Improvement” issue, and while flying today from Richmond to Chicago, I read three especially good articles about the sorry state of our nation, each one a pretty good substitute for the sort of news and editorials that we’re no longer getting. Here are teasers from each one:
From “Revolt of the Elites” (unsigned) in The Intellectual Situation (p. 15):
“Who…is guility of elitism, if not the elitely educated in general? The main culprits turn out to be people for whom a monied and therefore educated background lies behind the adoption of aesthetic, intellectual, or political values that demur from the money-making mandate that otherwise dominates society.”
From “Caucasian Nation” by Marco Roth in Politics (p. 14):
“The robust case for dominating other people sounds awful to most American ears today. So the contemporary idea of ethnocracy relies instead on an opposite rhetoric of victimization. The simple-minded mantra we’re taught in grade school goes like this: blacks good because oppressed, whites bad because oppressors. So if whites suddenly became oppressed, even while remaining the majority, they would magically become good again. Many Americans are now being taught to think this way.”
From “The Two Cultures of Life” by Kristin Dombek in Essays (p.… Read more »
Two consecutive items from Harper’s Index (Harper Magazine, December 2010):
Percentage of Americans who believe that Stephen King wrote Moby-Dick: 4
Number of U.S. states in which it is legal to own a tiger without a license: 9
… Read more »
This piece by Gary Younge appeared a little over a week ago but is still relevant. Here are two particularly salient passages:
It is not unrealistic to believe that a country as wealthy as the US should be able to provide healthcare for all, a dignified life for its elderly, an infant mortality rate better than Cuba’s, a life expectancy higher than Bosnia’s, a foreign policy that does not hinge on military aggression, and an economy where fewer than one in seven live in poverty. What is unrealistic is to believe that any of those things can be achieved, or even seriously tackled, with just a single vote.
Republicans will head to the polls to elect people who will actually cut jobs and support bankers. Democrats may well stay at home because their candidate has not made things better, and in so doing make things worse. Neither disaffection nor rage are electoral strategies. But in the absence of an alternative, frustration has political consequences.
November 3: American voters have spoken, and the message appears to be to leave Tomorrowland for Frontierland while remaining in the same Disney theme park, albeit this time without any tickets.… Read more »