The Whole World is Watching

In "The Whole World is Watching," Patricia Vaccarino reminds us that fifty years have passed since the Chicago Democratic Convention anti-war protests took place in August, 1968. Now in 2018, the whole world is indeed watching to see what Americans will do to restore normalcy to the White House. Restoring normalcy means we need to take back our democracy.

 

 

 


The Iranian “Spring”: Will We Ever Learn?

The Iranian “Spring”:  Will We Ever Learn? Once again, we are witnessing the ancient truth (going back to Plato).  It seems that humankind is doomed endlessly to re-live an age-old story and then promptly forget it.  The root cause of the Arab Spring was desperation, coupled with a failure of leadership.  Iran represents only a variation on this common theme.Every organized society is, in effect, a “collective survival enterprise.”  Our basic needs lie at the heart of our implicit social contract. Any regime that does not understand this biologically-based “common good” and act accordingly is ultimately doomed.    

 

Ethics in the Garden of Evolution

Evolution and ethics may seem to be incompatible, perhaps even an oxymoron.  Isn’t natural selection all about individual competition and winner take all?  Logically, the end should justify the means, ethically speaking.   As I noted in a previous blog item on the “Survival of the Fittest,” this model is totally deficient.  Complex human societies have evolved as a cooperative enterprise, a “superorganism”, and our relationships with one another are highly relevant to the well-being of both the individual members and the whole.    


The Heart That Will Never Stop

A few summers ago, my daughter Sarah was bound for Denver. Sarah had committed to serve in the AmeriCorps’ City Year program. Before she left, I helped to pack up her car. She had a few meager belongings, mostly clothes and books. She had sold off almost everything else she had owned.  She was off to more than a grand adventure; this journey was meant to jumpstart her career as an educator. Moments before she left, I took a photo of her at Kerry Park, overlooking the city of Seattle. In the photo she is holding her City Year badge and beaming with pride.  She wanted to know if her passion for teaching was a passing fancy or her true heart’s desire. Soon she would find out.


Birdmania – Bernd Brunner

 It’s been a brutal winter across much of the United States, but with the arrival of February and lengthening days, surely we can begin to seek harbingers of Spring.


The Public Trust:  How It Trumps Capitalism and Property Rights

In an argument that goes back to the philosopher John Locke, many conservative and libertarian theorists claim that freedom (as in free market capitalism) and property rights have moral priority as inherent human rights (and there is a huge body of laws and legal precedents that support this claim), while the concept of the “common good” has no legal standing, or has a weaker claim.  This argument is flatly wrong.  In fact, the idea of a collective (societal) responsibility for the common good has a sturdy foundation in the ancient legal principle of the public trust.


The Siv Sensation

From South Africa Bernadette Erasmus writes about  Sivuyile “Siv” Ngesi whose diverse talents have seen him making waves in the South African entertainment industry.


“Survival of the Fittest”: Herbert Spencer (and Friends) Got It Wrong

 
The term “survival of the fittest” was coined by the famed 19th century British social theorist Herbert Spencer as a way of characterizing Darwin’s natural selection theory.  Darwin himself soon started using the expression, but it was also embraced by what came to be known as the “Social Darwinists” – various apologists for the free-wheeling, laissez-faire capitalism of that era that featured ruthless economic competition, the brutal exploitation of workers, and extreme inequalities of wealth and poverty.