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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  

July 2020

Refusing Oversight

Our Founding Fathers knew that leaders would not always be honorable, honest, or uncorrupt. Our system is designed with divided power centers: administration (President), congress, and judiciary. It has worked over our two and a half centuries, sometimes better than other times. We have had corrupt governments every so often, usually outed by the press or good civil servants, but for the most part, by presidents following the norms of transparency.

We have learned that the best di more...

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The Real Pandemic: Lies

A new virus, the coronavirus, is sweeping the world. When our hunter-gatherer ancestors began settling in villages, towns, and later cities, and when they began livestock agriculture, diseases have spread from animal hosts to human beings, with no immunity at first. Throughout history, China, India, and Africa have been the incubators of disease outbreaks that then became worldwide.

In China, the problem was crossovers from animals kept for food use, starting with flu from swine, more...

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The Gaslighting Phenomenon


A new term has now entered our lexicon: "gaslighting." In a 1940 movie called "Gaslight," an evil husband and his housemaid/mistress attempt to drive the wife mad by making her think that lies were true. They played tricks on her, hid things that she knew she had not lost, and finally almost convinced her that she no longer could tell truth from deception. Gaslighting now means that people can no longer tell truth from even an obvious lie. Gaslighting also requires people to aid in the d more...

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Trust and Truth in Democracy

We take for granted how lucky we are to live in a society in which there is so much trust. It is automatic to believe that our system is predominantly based on truth and sense of duty. When we turn on our water taps, we expect the water to be safe to drink because the people responsible for assuring it are doing their job. When we find that officials have deliberately lied about water quality, we expect to see them prosecuted for criminal action.

When we go to the market, we do no more...

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August 2019

Sticks and Stones: Words Matter


"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me." This saying was aimed at children, to arm them against verbal bullies. It is also linked to our First Amendment, freedom of speech, even when people to say things that we hate, but protect their right to say them.

Such freedom, however, ends with speech that can endanger life: falsely crying "fire" in a crowded theater, or urging riot in the public square. "Let?s go kill the?.aristocrats" during the Fr more...

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The Element of Trust

One of the most important elements in having participatory democracy, as well as flourishing capitalism, is trust. Trust is so embedded in our lives that we scarcely ever think about it.

We use trust every day. We trust that other drivers are obeying the same laws and rules of the road that we are. Of course, driving requires both trust and caution. Some people do not obey the rules, and we must look out for them, although they are comparatively rare.

When we shop f more...

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