Category Archives: Politics

A Declaration of Dependence

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one orange-faced man to dissolve the legal restrictions which he finds incovenient and to assume among the powers of the earth, the permanently dominant station to which the Laws … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments

The Concern Troll In Everyone

What we commonly call “concern trolling” in online discussion has far deeper rhetorical roots in the public sphere. In many ways, it’s a style that was honed to near-perfection by centrist liberal intellectuals and academics in the 1960s, the sort … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

Homeland Insecurity and American Terrorism

Let’s stop talking about guns and gun control. Guns and gun control in America function as an intensifying signifier of cultural division. They amplify the idea that this historical moment is a division of rural white ‘traditional’ communities vs. urban … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 9 Comments

Save the Children

Jonathan Haidt is consistently unimpressive. Responding in this Chronicle piece about Jeffrey Adam Sachs’ great essay for the Niskanen Center, Haidt concedes that the speech-related episodes that he and his pals get so agitated about are confined to a relative … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Politics, Swarthmore | 1 Comment

The Kid With the Hammer

A certain kind of application of social science and social science methods continues to be a really basic limit to our shared ability in modern societies to grapple with and potentially resolve serious problems. For more than a century, a … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Oh Not Again He's Going to Tell Us It's a Complex System, Politics | 3 Comments

A Place at the Table, or the Whole Damn Dining Room?

What kind of problem is it if a substantial minority of a community‚Äôs citizens are deeply and persistently opposed to a policy that the majority support? It is, among other things, a political problem. I found myself in an argument … Continue reading

Posted in I'm Annoyed, Politics | 10 Comments

A New Year

This is not the first time I’ve gone quiet on this blog simply because I was busy. Fall 2017 was in many ways the busiest semester I’ve ever had at Swarthmore: I taught two courses, I chaired my department, I … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Blogging, Politics, Swarthmore | 12 Comments

Enough

Gun control has long been one of the things I feel least intensely about in terms of issues. The reason is both that I don’t see the point of pushing it in a country where there is sufficient electoral math … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 10 Comments

Chasing Tails

I appreciate the need to feel optimism, to think this is all coming to an end soon, a good end secured by the remorseless force of law or by the rising of a core of American decency or by radical … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 5 Comments

When In Truth Did We Win Anything?

Progress is dead. In the same sense that Nietzsche spoke of the death of God, only to be habitually misunderstood by the same kinds of people that misunderstand Einstein saying that God does not play dice with the universe. The … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Production of History | 10 Comments