I haven’t done one of these for several weeks. Her are some of the more interesting articles I’ve run across recently that relate to topics we’ve discussed.
- Polarization (2/17/11 mtg): Polarization is NOT the problem, or is a broken political system. Nor is ir ideological extremism of left or right. We’ve had all of this before. No, the problem is a broken Republican Party that cannot compromise as our political system requires parties to do. This is bad for conservatism itself in that it makes it harder to achieve its goals. Your must-read of the week.
Relatedly: The first major study by political scientists (as opposed to just a survey by the Media) on the Tea Party movement reveals three big truths about the movement.
- Health Care Reform: Why we have so much waste in our health care system and why we’re not doing anything about it. Your must-read of (last) week, although I wonder what our conservative doctor member thinks about it.
- Is College Still Worth It? (12/3/12 mtg): A new study says it’s not worth it for many.
- School Vouchers (4/29/13 mtg):
- Saving the Middle Class (5/29/8 mtg pre-blog): New data show that Americans are downsizing their view of what it means to be middle class and comfortable. It used to mean social mobility and owning the major accoutrements of a middle class life. Because the public perceives that downward mobility is more common now than upward mobility, the have largely redefined “middle class” as just keeping afloat and not sinking down into financial deep waters. Interestingly, however, minorities, especially African-Americans, are the most optimistic about their future. Details, including other nuggets, here.
- Islamophobia: (4/1/13 mtg)
- Polling on Islamophobia: i.e., American distrust of Muslims as Muslims
- Are you aware of the fringe theory that the Obama Administration is infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood? Now you are. If I had been at the meeting, I would have reeled off a dozen examples like this one to give you a flavor of what kind of wild stuff is out there - and bought into by some leading politicians.
- But, FWIW, this guy makes the point that Islam inherently is more political than Christianity because Mohammed was a political leader and Jesus eschewed politics entirely. (Of course, Christians have been as political as anybody else, terribly violent, undemocratic, yada yada. But, he’s referring to the religious texts themselves). Therefore, he argues, the Koran has a greater enthusiasm for violence than the Gospels because, well, not because “Muslims are more violent” than anybody else, but because Islam’s holy book was written in a more political vein and politics, after all is inherently coercive. Is this wrong?
- Relatedly: An interesting point you never hear. Skepticism and doubt should be part of being Christian, just as much as it’s part of being an agnostic/humanist.