U.S. democracy is in grave danger, a new Economist report warns, Amanda Erickson.
“Democracy is in under siege around the world, according to a new report by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
The annual Democracy Index tracks the health of the world’s governments. And the results for 2017 are depressing. In 89 countries, democratic norms look worse than they did last year, the report’s authors write. Just 4.5 percent of the world’s residents live in fully functioning democracies, down from 8.9 percent in 2015.
That precipitous drop is thanks, primarily, to the United States…”
Foreign Policy Books:
Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville and Henry Reeve.
Healing the Heart of Democracy, Parker J. Palmer.
The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels. Jon Meacham.
The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It, Robert B. Reich.
Amanpour & Co. with Christiane Amanpour. Fascism and Human Rights interviews. April 7, 2022: Scroll to: Bosnia-born Dunja Mijatovic–the human rights commissioner for the Council of Europe and Author Jason Stanley talks about fascism and the dangerous spread of autocracy. November 11, 2023: A new report says U.S. democracy is backsliding. A look at why and the dangers of polarization.
Threat to Democracy, Fareed Zakaria interview with Doris Kearns Goodwin and Jon Meacham.
Interview with Masha Gessen begins at [10:40:42]
Cultural Complementarity, Hector E. Garcia,
“…All humans see only a small part of reality, which brings about a sense of insecurity (this is one of the assumptions of CC). Our tendency is to subconsciously allay anxiety by acting as if what our group sees in our time is all of the true reality; consequently, all other groups must be totally or partially wrong. Since all groups are doing the same, conflict easily develops and grows. We then try to validate our position, and often our aggression, by showing current and past evidence for that position. This is not difficult for any group to do since the present and the past hold multiple facts and human errors to pick from and take offense. (The time I have spent as a consultant has taught me that you can usually select from an abundance of facts to validate most positions you want to sell). Parties in conflict will continue to assign fault to each other until the more powerful one puts an end to the never-ending argument by exercising its power; as a victor, it will acquire the credibility to gain support for its position…” READ MORE
The American polity is cracked, and might collapse. Canada must prepare, Thomas Homer-Dixon.
“The U.S. is becoming increasingly ungovernable, and some experts believe it could descend into civil war. What should Canada do then?… Once a hardline doctrine is widely accepted within a political movement, it becomes an “infrastructure” of ideas and incentives that can pressure even those who don’t really accept the doctrine into following its dictates. Fear of “true believers” shifts the behaviour of the movement’s moderates toward extremism. Sure enough, the experts I recently consulted all spoke about how fear of crossing Mr. Trump’s base – including fear for their families’ physical safety – was forcing otherwise sensible Republicans to fall into line…” READ MORE
While he was Professor of Spiritual Resources and Dean of Marsh Chapel at Boston University from 1953 to 1965, Dr. Howard Thurman became a mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is reported that when he traveled King carried with him Thurman’s small book, Jesus and the Disinherited. This Boston University resource presents twelve 1959 sermons by Thurman on the theme, “Jesus and the Disinherited.” (The sermons are numbered but they aren’t listed in sequential order.) (Posted on Personal/Spirituality)
Shaming, Self-improvement, and Political Action, Wade Lee Hudson. “In “The Shaming-Industrial Complex, Becca Rothfeld describes the problem: Absent structural change, self-improvement will be limited. A large network of supportive small teams whose members are aware of this problem could be one solution. In itself, this network could constitute structural reform, which Rothfeld seeks. It could also nurture a strong sense of community whose members, given their awareness of the Shaming-Industrial Complex, would logically pursue structural reform in other social sectors and, ideally, cultivate holistic and systemic transformation.”(Posted in Systemic/Essays) READ MORE
Dr. Cornel West: Philosophy in Our Time of Imperial Decay. American philosopher, political activist, social critic, and educator public lecture.
“SirFortesque: Is any living human being gonna try to tell me that you couldn’t listen to Dr West talk about any topic for hours on end and just feel better about your life and want to hug somebody? Who else can seamlessly meld Philosophy, Literature, History, Music, Religion, Politics, and Ethics together in such a manner that you smile for no reason while challenging your beliefs. The vast knowledge from so many diverse fields and a computer-like memory mixed with the outpouring and nonjudgmental LOVE just envelops me every time i hear this world treasure speak. This is the sort of Christian warrior that even as an Atheist I find so mesmerizing. He can critique anything without being condescending or mean-spirited. I feel honored to be able to watch this man.” (Posted Systemic/Videos)
Cultures of Care celebrates people that practice collective care in unconventional and insurgent ways. Care is an essential, immediate and practical way to create belonging. Perhaps most vitally in our urgent times, at the heart of each profile you will find provocations that are seeds for reshaping society and how we relate to each other and the world.
Cultures of Care was initiated in the fall of 2020 as we faced a deepening pandemic and economic inequality, popular uprisings against state-sanctioned violence against Black people, an expanding border wall and a deluge of traumatic climate events. These conditions continue to grow today. In the chaos, isolation and fear of these multiple storms, we also witness beautiful points of shelter. These practices center an ethos of collective care in the face of multiple forms of overlapping othering and oppression. Some of these are new and emergent, like harnessing technology to adapt to social isolation. Others are long-standing, such as stewarding ancestral lands through fire. Most, if not all, are an evolving mix of new and old ways to practice collective care. Cultures of Care are practices that create belonging in the context of othering. A Culture of Care is an affirmative, generative form of resistance and adaptation…. (Posted in Systemic/Articles)
By Ezra Klein
“After three decades of dominance, liberalism is losing its hold on Western minds,” Matthew Rose writes in his powerful new book, “A World After Liberalism.”
Rose does not mean liberalism in the way we typically use the word. This is not about supporting universal health care or disagreeing with Justice Samuel Alito. Rose means liberalism as in the shared assumptions of the West: a belief in human dignity, universal rights, individual flourishing and the consent of the governed.
That liberalism has been battered by financial crises, the climate crisis, checkered pandemic responses, right-wing populists and a rising China. It seems exhausted, ground down, defined by the contradictions and broken promises that follow victory rather than the creativity and aspiration that attend struggle.
At least, it did.
The Shame Industrial Complex Is Booming. Who’s Cashing In? (behind paywall), Alissa Bennett, The New York Times.
Where “The Shame Machine” seems to rattle off its tracks is in O’Neil’s discussion of what she refers to as “healthy shaming” — let’s call it a lateral punch. The lateral punch is the blow that we strike against people who do not share our social value systems; it’s the self-righteous bravado we feel when we tell an internet stranger, after the fact, to put his mask on; it’s the thrill of watching someone be reprimanded when they violate our understanding of how things should be. Though O’Neil outlines how the lateral punch often successfully influences behaviors that result in a genuine collective benefit (she provides Covid-19 vaccinations as an example), she neglects to fully excavate what role sheer pleasure plays in our impulse to shame in those situations that have neither obvious victim nor victimizer. It seems disingenuous to ignore what is quietly at play in even the “healthiest” of shaming: a request for compliance that is hinged to a threat of ostracization. The basic “us” versus “you” dichotomy that foregrounds even the most benign of shaming always stands in the shadow of the hierarchical tower.
sted on Domination/Partnership.
The Shaming-Industrial Complex, Becca Rothfeld.
,,,the book ends by recommending that we “detoxify our relations.” It’s self-improvement that’s paramount. We should stop feeling shame, and we should stop inflicting it. “Don’t get outraged—or at least don’t make a habit of it.”
But how much does it matter whether we make a habit of it? The suggestion that our emotional practices have such outsized political import belongs to a dubious theory of cultural change. There is little evidence that electoral havoc is an offshoot of private insecurities, to be discussed and dismantled on the psychoanalyst’s couch. Vicious gerrymandering and laws that continue to disenfranchise millions are at least as consequential as a handful of private outbursts.
The force of shame stems from its status as a social condition, not from its emotional resonance. The bad feelings that shamings instill are incidental to the material injuries they inflict. No matter how supreme our sanguinity, how unshakable our equipoise, people who get raked over the coals online can expect to find themselves jobless in the aftermath,….
“The trolling works only when the target is ashamed,” she writes sunnily, concluding that “shamelessness can be a healthy and freeing response.” But if fat-shaming is the result of the weight-loss industry’s machinations, we almost certainly cannot alter our feelings without altering the institutional arrangements that support them. Flanagan may be right that emotions are culturally specific—but we will still have to change a culture in order to change the emotions that it generates. How effective can a personal crusade really be when the gears of the shame machine go on grinding? (Posted in Systemic Resources/Domination-Partnership)
Why this Hollywood Actor Stays Off Social Media (Mostly). Kara Swisher interviews Andrew Garfield, who starred in The Social Network about Facebook and Tick, Tick…Boom” about the producer of the breakthrough, landmark musical Rent. Garfield addresses the deadly allure of status and the need for prophetic voices.
(Posted in Art)
This post/email originally included a bad link for Political/Foreign Policy), which has been corrected.
Transcript: March 4, 2022
Fareed Zakaria Has a Better Way to Handle Russia — and China
The case for thinking strategically, not ideologically, about great power conflict.
I’m Ezra Klein, and this is “The Ezra Klein Show.”
It is eerie knowing that you have lived through the end of an era and that you’re now witnessing the birth of another. For most of my life, foreign policy has not been dominated by great power conflict. And that is a defining characteristic of that period. There have been crises. There have been wars. There have been horrors. But America was too strong and other countries too weak to really worry about world wars or even cold wars, to see the world as this great power chessboard.
That’s changed…. (Posted in Political/Foreign Policy).