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"Tradition?? The only good traditions are food traditions. The rest are repressive."

"There are two ways to think. The first is to trust to your ancestors, your religious leaders, or your charismatic professors. The second is to question, to challenge, to explore history for meanings, and to analyze issues. This latter is called Critical Thinking, and it is this that is the mission of my web site. "

Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman  

December 2018

Can There Be a Centrist Party?

The political pendulum in this country has now swung to two extremes, making it very difficult for a sensible person to select a party that is a big, tolerant tent. Once long ago, the Republicans were such a party and for the same length of time, the Democrats were also a big tent. Today, both parties are struggling for survival and both are being deserted by people in the sensible middle.

A good friend of mine, has stated the problem well:
"Centrist? God, I hope so. The ex more...

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September 2018

The Me Too Movement in Perspective

As our political world is once more roiled by allegations of abuse of women, this time a woman who has come forth (obviously reluctantly) with an account of an attempted rape by a drunk schoolboy when the two of them were teens. She was 15 and he 17, but that boy is now a man, a judge, President Trump?s nominee for the Supreme Court.

If this were the only question about this nominee, Brett Kavanaugh?s behavior, it could well be dismissed as an example of "boys will be boys," and t more...

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The Assault on Truth

Human beings sometimes lie. How much they deliberately tell an untruth varies according to the nature of their society. Oppressive countries are so punitive that people need to lie to survive. However, if a society is to function at all, there needs to be a set body of facts that are recognized as real. We are living at a time that such agreement on facts is being challenged from all sides, not just from our unusual president, who has recently told veterans at a rally "don?t believe what you see more...

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In a Democracy, Character Matters.


This column is not just launching an attack on President Trump, although his character does matter. Rather, it explores the overall issue of good character and the role it plays in the survival of a democracy. Since John F. Kennedy's influential book Profiles in Courage, there has been little attention to what good character is and how essential it is in keeping us a good country.

Good character could be defined as behavior that promotes "doing the right thing," even when more...

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Our Better Angels



Abraham Lincoln in his first Inaugural Address, on Monday, March 4, 1861, delivered a speech as he was sworn in to office. His election created a huge crisis in which the Southern States created a Confederacy, a rival nation, and declared war. The issue was supposedly "States' Rights," but the rights that the Confederacy demanded were the rights of White people to enslave Black people.

From its beginnings, the United States wrestled with this issue. How could we be more...

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Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel?s Capital


I try to be a political centrist, and have done so for both Democratic and Republican presidents---until now. The Trump administration?s foreign policy has mostly made me wince, but a couple of ideas have possibilities: the Jerusalem issue and changing our immigration laws from family reunion to useful skills.

The initiatives that trouble me are those which only cancel the initiatives of former presidents, such as the Pacific Trade Agreement and the Iranian Agreement. Pre more...

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December 2017

Can There Be a Centrist Party?

The political pendulum in this country has now swung to two extremes, making it very difficult for a sensible person to select a party that is a big, tolerant tent. Once long ago, the Republicans were such a party and for the same length of time, the Democrats were also a big tent. Today, both parties are struggling for survival and both are being deserted by people in the sensible middle.

A good friend of mine, has stated the problem well:
"Centrist? God, I hope so. The ex more...

Print

Democracy Cannot Have One Hand Clapping!


When our country was being created, our first president, George Washington, tried to avoid having political parties. He saw that as factions, something that created many problems in old Europe. However, political parties were inevitable. Great minds may agree to disagree on matters of policy, yet do so using the democratic principle of voting.

The first parties were represented by Thomas Jefferson, a Democratic Republican (ancestor of the Democrats) and John Adams represe more...

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July 2017

Liberal or Illiberal Democracies, What Are They?


My vigilant husband has called my attention to my use of the term "Liberal Democracy." Many readers, even when college educated, are not familiar with that term. The word "liberal" suggests a political position, such as left-leaning. So in this column, and in future ones, when I use the term Liberal Democracy, I will spell out what it really means.

Liberal in this case means Liberty, or freedom. That freedom is provided by a division of power in the government (President, more...

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America Has 250 Years of Consistent Foreign Policy


The majority of Americans, furious over the Assad regime using poison gas on his own Syrian people, expressed approval of President Trump?s attack on the Syrian airfield that launched the gas attack. When one sees such horrors, such as when American soldiers first entered the Nazi death camps, the desire for revenge is powerful. But knee-jerk revenge is not policy. What is American policy about assaults on helpless civilians? Do we have a consistent policy? Do we always react by punishin more...

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Closing the American Great Divide


Americans were the closest to being united by a common culture between 1941 and 1965. The post-World War II economy produced an enormous middle class, thanks to being the only country in the world not damaged or destroyed by the war. Manufacturing of everything was flourishing, as were exports and generous support with money and values to the recovery of our former customers and new allies. The only cloud on the horizon was the Cold War and the not small concern about nuclear holocaust s more...

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August 2016

Russia's Long Romance with Lying and Deception

A spotlight has been turned on Putin's Russia lately: the probability that his government had hacked the computers of the Democratic National Committee, sitting on them until being released the eve of the Democratic Presidential Convention. Their agent, Julian Asange, the creator of WikiLeaks, a hacking underworld that only hacks the computers of the West, never Russia or China, dumped these e-mails with the seeming intent of assisting the election of Donald Trump. Russia certainly could not ope more...

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Why the EU is not like the US: The BREXIT Surprise

European nationalism did not die when the EU was born. Climbing out of the ashes of Europe?s second massively destructive war in the 20th century, a group of educated idealists formed the first attempt at economic integration of the European Coal and Steel Community in the 1950s. This grew to integrating more European nations into an Economic Community from 1958-1992. The EC added more European countries to this community, which then became the European Union, an actual attempt to create a "Unit more...

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It Ain't Necessarily So.

Summertime is here, and I find myself humming the song: "It ain't necessarily so." There are some stupid beliefs out there. As a devout centrist, I may make many of my readers unhappy today. But, I suspect there are many more who share my political position: in the thinking middle.

Left-Wing Baloney
? Black Lives Matter. Believers focus on how many police shootings of Black perpetrators there are. However 6,000 blacks are murdered each year, six times the rate of whites ad more...

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Political Parties Are Not Permanent.

That the Republican Party is heading toward a demolition is no surprise by now. This is not the first time a major American political party fell apart. In the 19th century, between the 1830s and 1860, the Whig Party was the political rival to Jefferson?s Democratic Republican (Democrat) Party. The Whigs ran candidates every election, but elected only two to the presidency.

Political parties are not cast in stone; they change over time. The Jeffersonian Democrats began as an elite more...

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