I’ve been plowing through the latest issue of The Public Interest. There’s a short but typically brilliant book review by William Galston (offline, unfortunately) that explains a lot about today’s politics. Galston’s review of Diminished Democracy, by sociologist and political scientist Theda Skocpol, is about presidential politics, but even more about deep changes in the way the levers of power now work in America. Although Galston doesn’t put it this way, he and Skocpol are talking about the “bobo’s” (David Brooks’ “bourgeois bohemians”) who have taken over–and split–the Democratic party. Bobo’s are social liberals and economic moderates. Howard Dean is their candidate. Gephart, with his pro-labor stance and universal health care plan appeals to the Democrats old time working class constituency. The upper-middle class bobo’s haven’t just changed the balance of power within the Democratic party; they’ve been part of a deeper change in the way the country’s politics are organized. Prior to the sixties, politics was largely driven by broad based associations like, say, veterans groups or women’s religious societies. Nowadays, politics tends to be dominated by single issue organizations with very little in the way of national membership. Instead, the issue-based organizations are run from the top down by a few experts, lawyers, and lobbyists. An army of professionals is taking over much of the work of politics from large scale grass roots organizations. This has to do with the rise of a huge class of educated professionals, they fraying of local communities, and even with the movement of women into the workforce. (Women used to supply much of the drive to grass roots volunteer organizations.) It also has to do with the fact that many traditional grass roots associations were organized along sexual or religious lines that many now see as discriminatory. None of these themes are new, but Galston’s review lights them up very nicely.
Two researchers have been forced to issue a major correction to a recent study indicating oceans have been warming at a significantly higher rate than previously thought due to climate change. The paper, published October 31 in the scientific journal Nature, suggested ocean temperatures have risen roughly 60 ... Read More
After a long process, Amazon finally announced that it will locate its new headquarters in New York and Virginia. Following the announcement, Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that "Amazon is a billion-dollar company. The idea that it will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks ... Read More
Not everyone found it funny. Read More
This is a column about impeachment, but first, a confession: I think I might be guilty of insider trading. At this point, I would like to assure my dear friends at the SEC that I do not mean this in any actionable legal sense, but only in principle. Some time ago, I was considering making an investment in a ... Read More
The revolution of 1776 sought to turn a colony of Great Britain into a new independent republic based on constitutionally protected freedom. It succeeded with the creation of the United States. The failed revolution of 1861, by a slave-owning South declaring its independence from the Union, sought to bifurcate ... Read More
If I ever had to use my gun to defend myself or others, I’ve often wondered, what would I do when the police arrived? After all, they’re not going to be able to immediately discern friend from foe. Each person with a drawn weapon will be perceived as a threat. And the chances of mistaken identity are ... Read More
Some progressives have decided that rather than convincing women that their candidates and policy proposals are better than those of conservatives, they will shame women who fail to vote for the Left by defining them all as racist and self-loathing tools of the patriarchy. Think I’m exaggerating? See this ... Read More