The Problem with Zero-Sum Politics

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It’s a phenomenon long known to fisherman. When trapped in a barrel, rather than cooperating to escape, crabs expend their energy sabotaging their fellow captives, repeatedly pulling them down and thus ensuring the group’s eventual demise. So prevalent is the behavior that these prisoners require neither lock nor lid to ensure their continued incarceration. Instead, they seem perfectly willing to police and imprison themselves. This counterproductive (and ultimately self-defeating) philosophy has often been summarized as “if I can’t have it, neither can you,” and it is hardly unique to crustaceans. …


Three Takeaways from Trump’s Most Recent Trial

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Like so many liberals and constitutional conservatives, I was disappointed by the outcome of the former president’s recent impeachment trial. But rather than quietly wallow in my despair or feebly decry the obvious danger to our republic such a decision both entails and engenders, I’d instead like to highlight a few positive developments from last week’s proceedings, the collective significance of which should not be overlooked.

The Pathway to Criminal Prosecution against the Former President Has Been Widened Considerably

As even Mr. Trump’s lead counsel, Bruce Castor, conceded in his opening statement, “if my colleagues on this side of the chamber actually think that President Trump committed a criminal offense… after he’s out…


Trump’s All-Too-Familiar Defense Strategy

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In a recent interview on Philadelphia’s KYW NewsRadio, newly hired Trump impeachment lawyer Bruce Castor previewed the following defense for his client’s upcoming Senate trial: “The president deplores the violence at the Capitol, and those people should be punished, aggressively, as I would have done as if I was the DA and they did it at the Montgomery County courthouse. But just because somebody gave a speech and people got excited, it doesn’t mean it’s the speechmaker’s fault. It’s the people who got excited and did what they know is wrong.”

Citing legal precedent from the Supreme Court’s 1969 ruling…


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While much is currently being made of the shock and dismay voiced by QAnon conspiracy theorists in the wake of Wednesday’s peaceful transition of power, we, the American public, must be careful not to confuse temporary disappointment with long term disillusionment. The fact that the QAnon allegations (“that a cabal of Satan-worshipping, cannibalistic, pedophiles is running a global child sex-trafficking ring and plotting against former U.S. president Donald Trump”) are objectively absurd — and have been disproven six ways from Sunday — is irrelevant. …


America’s Cult of Ignorance is Now a Death Cult

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Forty years ago, Isaac Asimov wrote a column for Newsweek in which he complained that “there is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”

Written at the dawn of the so-called Reagan Revolution — an era eerily similar to our own, in which a celebrity-turned-politician would ride a wave of political populism straight into the White House — Asimov noted “a…


They’re Actually an Attempt to Rewrite It

On Tuesday, June 23rd, President Trump declared: “I have authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S. with up to 10 years in prison, per the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act, or such other laws that may be pertinent.”

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The threat was issued less than 24 hours after protestors attempted (unsuccessfully) to topple a statue of former President Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square Park on Monday. Earlier that same day, the New York Museum of Natural History announced that it would remove a statue of former NY…


America’s Unequal Right (and Response) to Protest

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In his 1963 Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King said that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere…. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly…. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.” And yet outsider status is precisely what White America has historically and, today, continues to confer upon our various minority populations. Expansive and inclusive as their words may have been, our Founders’ true understanding of liberty and justice was undeniably as pale as their own personal reflections.


America’s Troubling History of Intolerance

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It is time we all admit it: the rhetoric of America has never matched its reality. Abraham Lincoln may have once called us a nation “conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal,” but the truth is neither he nor any of the Forefathers he referenced actually held “these truths to be self-evident.” (While Washington and Jefferson were well-known slave-owners, even the Great Emancipator himself admitted he didn’t believe social or political equality between whites and blacks to be possible, adding that his “first impulse would be to free all the slaves, and send…


The Short-Term Strategy of Donald Trump

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TOM PENNINGTON/GETTY

From his hush money payments to pornstars to his still-unfulfilled promise to release his tax returns, Donald Trump has time-and-again revealed himself to be a politician without scruples or shame. His seemingly natural inclination to say and do anything in the name of self-preservation or promotion has been considerably refined by a lifetime of unprincipled practice in the business and reality-TV worlds. More troubling still, unlike so many of his political predecessors whose lies and misdeeds eventually caught up with them, “Teflon Don” always seems to emerge from scandal unscathed and more brazen than before. But unlike so many of…


BE UNIQUE

The Irony of American Evangelism

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Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images

In his 1927 essay, “Why I Am Not a Christian,” Bertrand Russell prefaced his critique of the religion by defining it as simply as including “some kind of belief about Christ…. at the very lowest the belief that Christ was, if not divine, at least the best and wisest of men.” Twenty-five years later in Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis narrowed Russell’s admittedly broad definition by excluding any such secular interpretations, insisting that “a man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic…

Dave Buckner, PhD

Adjunct Professor of History, Humanities, & Philosophy at Northeast State Community College.

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