Every so often, America's party of the left is seized by the fear that its platform of anti-militarism, sweet reason and communal progress just can't compete with the right's more emotional appeal to national pride, tradition and identity.It was William James — psychologist, philosopher and brother of novelist Henry James — who gave this concern its clearest expression. James was one of the early 20th century's most prominent liberals. His support for what he called "the reign of peace and in the gradual advent of some sort of socialistic equilibrium" might put him in the running as the 246th Democratic presidential candidate today.But James, as a scientist, believed that evolution had left an indelible mark on humanity — an appetite for heroic exertion and communal aggression that made history (in his words) "a bath of blood." According to James: "Showing war's irrationality and horror is of no effect ... The horrors make the fascination. War is the strong life; … [Read more...] about Is there a liberal alternative to Trumpist glory?
OPINION 09/26/2018 06:00 am ET Talia LavinColumnist As the rolling saga of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination progresses ― with more allegations emerging and staunch defenders of the nominee making proclamations on the Senate floor and cable news ― I, like many sexual assault survivors, have begun living in a kind of bifurcated time. I am in the present, in which the news continues to relentlessly unfurl. And I am in the past, where the pain lives, and it keeps pulling me back to the worst moments of my life. On the one hand, I am living my life, here in September of 2018. I am doing my work; I am drinking my coffee. I am typing with hands still brown from the summer sun; the cold rain of autumn cools my cheeks. And on the other hand, I am suspended in a series of awful moments, recalling themselves to me from puberty onward. I am recalling each grope, each unwanted incursion into my body, each mortification of my female flesh, and I am trapped in … [Read more...] about Men Are Afraid Of Women Now? Good.
OPINION 09/22/2018 05:45 am ET Neil J. YoungColumnist Given the amoral mess that is the Trump presidency ― with one Yeti-sized scandal coming out of the Oval Office after another ― it’s no surprise that some Christian conservative leaders have tried to distance themselves and their faith from Donald Trump. Yet with 81 percent of white evangelicals supporting Trump in the 2016 election ― the largest backing for him among any demographic group ― attempts to downplay evangelical fervor for Trump have often seemed foolish. Still, the small but persistent #NeverTrump crowd has continued to insist conservative Christians remain wary of the president, hoping that they can save evangelicalism from its troubling association with Trump. Now, a new analysis of survey data from the Voter Study Group has finally given them something concrete to work with. The study found that among Trump voters, the more one attended church, the less likely one was … [Read more...] about Evangelicals Overwhelmingly Voted For Trump. No Survey Result Changes That.
When you read about the tragic deaths in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria, you'll find two "real" stories pulling you to tears and anger with their drama, pathos and sense of injustice. From President Trump's side, you'll hear that only six to 18 people died as a result of berserk nature and human incompetence; the White House's response to Maria was an "unsung success." From the other side, mostly from the Democrats, especially their perfervidly leftist vein, you'll hear 3,000 people died and Trump didn't care enough about American "people of color" to send them real help after the storm's devastation.But underlying the left's criticism of Trump is something more important: the idea that Puerto Rico is a "colony" of the United States, that it is a poor creature, beautiful but frightened into obeisance, almost like a slave woman.Typical of this were the words of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, the New York political up-and-comer, on CNN recently. "The relationship with the United States … [Read more...] about Tax change did more to disrupt Puerto Rico than Maria
Andrew Bacevich, who is among my heroes as an analyst of U.S. history, argues in his latest TomDispatch piece, that Donald “Trump is not the disruptive force that anti-Trumpers accuse him of being. He is merely a noxious, venal, and ineffectual blowhard, who has assembled a team of associates who are themselves, with few exceptions, noxious, venal, or ineffectual.” Bacevich, a retired colonel in the U.S. Army, is a big picture guy, especially big historical picture. The headline of his piece describes Trump as a “pimple on the face of America,” but no more lasting or important than a pimple. The rest of America’s face remains what it had become over recent decades. To understand what it had become, Bacevich encourages us to go back to the immediate post-World War II period, which he describes as a country that was defined by three large facts, thus: First, the United States made everything and made more of it than anyone else. In postwar America, … [Read more...] about Andrew Bacevich makes me think I might be making too big a deal of Trump