The Cutting Edge
by Ed Knudson
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Washington Post Publishes Lots of Libertarian Nonsense  7/23/2017  (12)

The Spontaneous Order of James Buchanan; No Government Necessary for This Libertarian  7/19/2017  (22)

Republicans Fail Entirely on Health Care; Trump Turns Against His Voters  7/18/2017  (19)

Trump Had Morality Hammered Out of Him by His Family History  7/14/2017  (55)

Trump, Like Others Who Follow the Russian Atheist, Ayn Rand, is in Serious Trouble  7/14/2017  (58)

Trump and the Russian Mafia  7/13/2017  (22)

Ted Cruz's Free Choice Means Death to Thousands; the Myth of Personal Responsibility  7/13/2017  (21)

Trump Didn’t Win the Working Class. The Democrats Lost It  7/8/2017  (34)

NRA Thinks White Alienated Males are Feeling Sorry for Themselves  6/30/2017  (47)

Widespread Rebukes of Trump's Blood Tweets; Calls for Retraction  6/30/2017  (40)

Peter Berger Dies. Our Knowledge is Not Our Own  6/28/2017  (71)

Not All Lutherans are the Same. Supreme Court Favors One Type Only  6/27/2017  (47)

Obamacare is a Conservative Model of Healthcare and is Failing; Now It's Time for Single Payer  6/27/2017  (50)

It's Clear Now: Putin Wanted Trump, Not Clinton  6/24/2017  (59)

Politics is a Knife Fight with No Rules, Says Grover Norquist  6/23/2017  (70)

This Should Happen All Over:  Union Ironworker Has a Plan to Beat Paul Ryan  6/21/2017  (60)

Triangulation Has Been Terribly Hurtful to Democrats  6/20/2017  (73)

Kitzhaber Exonerated; Oregonian Debases Itself Again  6/16/2017  (104)

Trump is Too Ignorant to be President; Doesn't Even Know What Christians Believe  6/16/2017  (91)

Dissent: Organizing in Red America  6/16/2017  (86)

It's the Racists Who Want Guns  6/15/2017  (140)

It Can Happen Here  6/13/2017  (112)

Surprise Victory for Social Democracy in England  6/9/2017  (112)

Before and After the Pill  6/8/2017  (125)

Dear Trump Appointees: Quit Your Jobs or Lose Your Souls  6/6/2017  (132)

Americans, Hang Your Heads in Shame  6/1/2017  (162)

Montana Republican So Afraid of the Press that He Attacks Reporter  5/26/2017  (161)

James Comey: The Fall of a Niebuhrian  5/15/2017  (210)

Management by Terror: Stalin and Trump  5/10/2017  (253)

The Cynical Use of Abortion by Politicians  5/6/2017  (227)

NCC Urges Churches to Refrain From Intervening in Political Campaigns  5/4/2017  (234)

Where Your Tax Dollar Goes  4/18/2017  (284)

Talking It Through  4/15/2017  (288)

False Community Consciousness and Local Radio  4/1/2017  (310)

Politicians Can Use Nostalgia to Manipulate the Minds and Hearts of People  3/31/2017  (303)

Two Forms of Governance: Big Corporations Want to Snoop about Your Internet Behavior  3/27/2017  (278)

Obamacare is Not Imploding, Can Be Improved  3/24/2017  (287)

The Soul-Sucking, Attention-Eating Black Hole of the Trump Presidency  3/24/2017  (286)

An Avalanche of Absurdities: Chris Hedges on the Rise of Trump and American Fascism  3/21/2017  (275)

Of Course Obama Wiretapped Trump  3/21/2017  (299)

Trump Glorifies American Militarism with German Leader, Embarrassing Himself  3/18/2017  (263)

Most of Trump's Voters are Not Poor, but Regular Old Republicans  3/18/2017  (264)

Robert Mercer and Big Money Chose Trump to be President, not the People  3/17/2017  (301)

Stirring Up Muslim Hatred; The Need for a New Election  3/16/2017  (253)

Old Republican Tactic: Stoke Fear of Crime  3/13/2017  (327)

White People are Hurting Themselves  3/11/2017  (318)

Basic Civics Lesson for Libertarians  3/8/2017  (308)

Public Trust: Post-truth is Pre-fascim  3/8/2017  (384)

Martin Marty Center Publishes Column in Support of Disgraced White Nationalist, Milo Yiannopoulos  2/28/2017  (416)

Trump is Not a Normal Politician and Was Not Elected Fair and Square  2/21/2017  (670)

Trump is Using Immigrants as a Political Scapegoat: Very Bad  2/20/2017  (382)

To Dominate Politics, Business Needs Religious Extremism  2/13/2017  (369)

No Vision or Leadership from National Council of Churches  2/9/2017  (383)

Post-Factual Politics  2/8/2017  (384)

Trump May Want a Terrorist Attack  2/7/2017  (400)

For the Right Wing: Only Christians Deserve Religious Freedom  2/6/2017  (316)

Where Are the Reverends in Justice Movements?  2/3/2017  (413)

Trump is Centralizing Power: Resist Fascism  1/30/2017  (471)

Cry for Our Country: Spontaneous Demonstrations across America  1/28/2017  (411)

Truth in the Trump Era  1/23/2017  (404)

"We Will Not Go Away, Welcome to Your First Day"  1/21/2017  (441)

Violence, Racism, Authoritarianism Characterize Trump's Inaugural Speech  1/21/2017  (510)

First Things Doesn't Like that Trump Surrounds Himself with Prosperity Gospelers, Snake Oil Salesmen  1/17/2017  (477)

Newt Gingrich Gets Trump Wrong: Why Southerners Hate the Federal Government  12/27/2016  (450)

From Peace on Earth to an Election Based on Violence  12/23/2016  (460)

Bill O'Reilly Admits the Truth: For Republicans Elections are All about Race  12/23/2016  (520)

No Mandate for Trump, Says Jeff Merkley  12/22/2016  (499)

2010 Prediction: White People with Self-destructive Fantasies will Elect a Figure Like Trump  12/17/2016  (458)

Gore Vidal on Ayn Rand: God is "I"  12/14/2016  (458)

Russian Atheistic Ideas Now Dominate the American Political System  12/14/2016  (378)

Trump Over Performed the Most in Counties with the Highest Drug, Alcohol and Suicide Mortality Rates  12/9/2016  (383)

Back to the Catacombs for the Real Church  12/8/2016  (471)

A Prayer for Standing Rock  11/12/2016  (424)

Trump Will Be Impeached within a Year  11/11/2016  (497)

David Brooks on the Authoritarian Anti-Politics of Trump  11/10/2016  (450)

An Anti-Trump Resistance Movement Begins with Protesters in Streets Nationwide  11/10/2016  (438)

Hillary Lost Because of Her Husband's Economic Policies  11/9/2016  (542)

Evangelicals Elect a Racist Pervert as President  11/9/2016  (471)

Very Serious National Decline  11/9/2016  (463)

The Silly Controversy about Hillary's Emails  11/7/2016  (478)

Trump Offers to Rescue Lower Income White People in a Secular Rapture  11/2/2016  (430)

The Crisis of Conservative Intellectuals  11/1/2016  (498)

James Comey Should Resign or Be Fired  10/30/2016  (474)

Traveling Luther's Life 500 Years Later  10/24/2016  (482)

The Death of Tom Hayden  10/24/2016  (511)

False Superiority Syndrome: A Terrible Disease of the European White Mind  7/22/2016  (846)

Delusion: Ben Carson Thinks Saul Alinsky Worshipped the Devil  7/20/2016  (613)

Understanding the Context for Preaching  7/16/2016  (585)

Journalists Must Treat Trump Differently  7/15/2016  (604)

Reading Grace in History through a Black Lens  6/26/2016  (607)

A Dark Day for the UK  6/24/2016  (587)

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz Has Got to Go to Unite Democrats Against the Racist, Trump  5/27/2016  (678)

John Caputo On Divine Sovereignty and the Weakness of God  5/23/2016  (626)

A Corrupt Form of Christianity is Destroying the Republican Party  4/5/2016  (757)

President Obama: 'We are Easter People'  3/31/2016  (706)

Evangelicals are Not Voting Trump, Jacksonians Are  3/31/2016  (682)

The Modern War on Drugs Began as Nixon's Racist Assault on Black People  3/24/2016  (714)

Listen to a Black Man Standing Silently at a Trump Rally  3/15/2016  (714)

Who Should be President? Strict Father or Nurturing Parent  3/3/2016  (758)

Trump is a Fraud Who is Playing the American People as Suckers, Says Romney  3/3/2016  (815)

Asked about Donald Trump's Wall, Pope Francis Suggests He 'Is Not Christian'  2/18/2016  (765)

How the Portland Media Help Make Domestic Terrorists into Heroes  2/6/2016  (720)

Flint, Michigan: Death Camp City  1/22/2016  (755)

Privatization of Public Land is a Bad Idea  1/22/2016  (825)

Peace Lutheran in Burns, Oregon, Requests Prayers  1/20/2016  (853)

How the Iraq War Created ISIS: Crucial Information for Understanding Terrorism  12/6/2015  (853)

Leading Republican Candidate Donald Trump: How Stupid are the People of Iowa?  11/13/2015  (825)

CNN Repeats Stupid Claim by Pew Research that Religious 'Nones' Dominate Democratic Party  11/5/2015  (822)

First Things has become Relevant to Only One Region of the Country: the South  11/2/2015  (854)

Tell Ben Carson to Give Up His Presidential Campaign  10/27/2015  (833)

Corporate-Funded Think Tanks have Created an Angry, Destructive Politics  10/24/2015  (821)

Protestants Need a Pope  9/30/2015  (869)

R.R. Reno at First Things is Disappointed by Pope Francis  9/25/2015  (924)

Matt Taibbi on the GOP Clown Car  8/15/2015  (1010)

Pray to be Filled with Awe and Contemplation  8/12/2015  (911)

Jurgen Habermas: A New Possibility for Europe  7/21/2015  (1081)

The Republican Party has become an Agent of Southern Religion, Racism and Anti-Unionism  7/20/2015  (910)

Historic Day: Gay Marriage Affirmed by Supreme Court in All 50 States  6/26/2015  (971)

Gun Manufacturers Cannot Be Christian says Pope Francis  6/22/2015  (995)

Pope Francis Teaches Us about Climate Change and the Moral Imperative to Act  6/20/2015  (1025)

Cornel West Wows a Conservative University Audience  5/4/2015  (1249)

Police Violence in Baltimore  4/29/2015  (1249)

Bonhoeffer's Vision: An Outcast Church on the Margins of Society  4/25/2015  (1092)

The Debate Over Cornel West  4/21/2015  (1126)

Nebraska Doesn't Believe in the Free Market for Its Electricity  3/29/2015  (1180)

The New Political Mission of the Historic Protestant Church  3/16/2015  (1199)

When Fascism Comes to America; What Love of Country Really Means  3/1/2015  (1210)

Senators Marco Rubio and Joni Ernst Don't Know the Difference between Sunni and Shia Islam  2/28/2015  (1871)

The Shameful Media Attack on John Kitzhaber and Cylvia Hayes  2/18/2015  (1651)

Francis Says God Loves the Marginalized  2/16/2015  (1145)

Rand Paul Disqualifies Himself  2/4/2015  (1234)

Oxfam Report: How the Wealthy Get Their Money by Not Working or Paying Taxes  1/26/2015  (1186)

John Boehner Wants The U.S. to go to War with Iran  1/21/2015  (1196)

Martin Luther on Charlie Hebdo: Sick Secularism and Billy Graham  1/14/2015  (3256)

Whose Speech is Actually Free?  1/14/2015  (1240)

Historic Protestant Speech is Not Free in America Today  1/14/2015  (1418)

Wall Street has Bought Itself a Congress  12/15/2014  (1216)

Democrats Move to Encourage an Elizabeth Warren Candidancy  12/10/2014  (1243)

Iowa Lutherans: Don't Vote for Joni Ernst  10/27/2014  (2674)

Wendell Berry and Incarnational Theology  10/21/2014  (1466)

Did God Kill Jesus? Moltmann on Anticipated Terror and Joy  10/10/2014  (1462)

Stop the Oil Train Bombs  10/2/2014  (1461)

The Terrible Self-Righteousness of George Weigel at First Things  9/19/2014  (1431)

Violence All Across the World, including Ferguson, Missouri  8/15/2014  (1481)

Reagan's View of History Still Prevails  8/15/2014  (1393)

Nick Hanauer: Beware, Fellow Plutocrats, the Pitchforks are Coming  8/13/2014  (1439)

Blowing Up Jonah: The Political Use of Religious Symbols  8/12/2014  (1568)

Listen to Rabbi Henry Siegman on Gaza: Killing Innocents  8/1/2014  (1380)

The Lost Iraq War  7/30/2014  (1360)

It is Not Anti-Semitic to Question Israel's Right to Exist as an Ethnic State   7/24/2014  (1361)

Republicans Elect Mark Walker: A Racist, Blasphemous, Baptist Pastor  7/23/2014  (1821)

There is No Religious Left  7/22/2014  (1374)

Crisis in Ukraine: A Bit of Background  7/18/2014  (1312)

Teachers Turn Against Obama  7/12/2014  (1519)

The Trouble With Brain Science  7/12/2014  (1398)

The Roman Catholic Supreme Court Decides What is 'Sincere' Religious Belief   7/1/2014  (1473)

Karl Polanyi and the Stark Utopianism of Market Fundamentalism  7/1/2014  (1459)

Corporate Provided Health Care Has To Go  6/30/2014  (1389)

Brookings Report on Economic Justice and the Future of Religious Progressives  4/25/2014  (1476)

Coal Train Crisis Abates   4/16/2014  (1508)

Gay Marriage Ban Ending in England and Wales on Saturday  3/29/2014  (1530)

Obama Should Have Prosecuted the Bush Administration for War Crimes  3/28/2014  (1507)

A False Gospel: Corporate Christianity  3/27/2014  (1507)

Koch Brothers are Creating Their Own Political Party  1/26/2014  (1658)

Social Justice in New York City  1/1/2014  (1676)

God is a God of Freedom: Pope Francis and Liberation Theology  12/21/2013  (1665)

America, America, the Country that Kills Its Prophets  11/23/2013  (1815)

Thinking about a New Protestantism  11/21/2013  (1698)

Hysterical Anti-Communism: Billy Graham Urged the Killing of a Million Vietnamese  11/21/2013  (2619)

The Next President will be a Woman and a Methodist, but not Hillary  11/11/2013  (1699)

Regular Republicans are Beginning to Reject Their Leaders  11/11/2013  (1645)

Pastors: Help Your People Understand Obamacare  11/6/2013  (1729)

Mothers and Grandmothers on Abortion  11/5/2013  (1817)

Why Obamacare is a Political Con Job  10/30/2013  (1876)

Very Disturbing Governance by Media Manipulation  10/4/2013  (1920)

A Reformation Pope  10/2/2013  (1787)

When the Big Money Mafia Rule  10/1/2013  (1858)

Obama Wins Shutdown Battle  10/1/2013  (2009)

Samantha Power: Protection of the Innocent  9/11/2013  (1992)

Pope Francis to Meet with Gustavo Gutierrez, Founder of Liberation Theology  9/11/2013  (1976)

Apocalypse: Life Beyond Empire and Environmental Destruction  9/9/2013  (1840)

Joining Obama Against Himself?  9/5/2013  (1983)

Arab Spring: Transfer of Power in Syria  9/4/2013  (1910)

Religious Conflict in the History of Syria  9/3/2013  (1901)

Hunger Games: The Divide and Conquer Marketing Strategy of Fox News  8/7/2013  (2130)

The Terrible Mendacity of Stanley Kurtz  8/5/2013  (2399)

Obama Speaks on Verdict in Trayvon Martin Case  7/19/2013  (1908)

Summer Heat: Elders Called to Engage in Civil Disobedience  7/18/2013  (1959)

Business Predators Must Be Forced to Stop Their Damaging Behavior  5/26/2013  (2137)

Pastors Create Public Consciousness  5/26/2013  (2056)

Kathyrn Tanner: The Social Trinity and Politics  5/26/2013  (2128)

Obama Failed to Appoint Competent IRS Leaders  5/22/2013  (2217)

Occupy Theology: Obama has Broken the Hearts of the Young  5/20/2013  (1911)

Corporate Conspiracy Theories in Pastoral Consciousness  5/17/2013  (2114)

The Gosnell Verdict and Abortion Politics  5/16/2013  (2410)

False Equivalence, the IRS, and the Right's Persecution Complex  5/15/2013  (2094)

The NRA: Southern Political Terrorism  5/14/2013  (2039)

Public Violence  4/17/2013  (1890)

A Teacher is Raised  4/8/2013  (1970)

Stop Coal Exports  3/27/2013  (2039)

Health Care Hogs Drive Up Costs  3/27/2013  (1905)

Manufactured Landscapes  3/23/2013  (2015)

About Death Camp Thinking  3/22/2013  (2000)

Marriage Equality Goes Mainstream  3/21/2013  (2039)

Hope for the New Pope  3/14/2013  (2119)

The End of a Catholic Moment  3/12/2013  (2039)

Wealth Inequality is Much Worse than Most People Believe   3/11/2013  (2071)

The Government is Making Us Old  3/11/2013  (2274)

Fairness Now Means to Tax the Rich More  12/10/2012  (2134)

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness:THE NEW JIM CROW  11/14/2012  (2252)

A Victory for Life  11/7/2012  (1972)

Romney is Not a Christian  11/5/2012  (2235)

It's Not Theology that is Utopian Today, It's the Market Fundamentalists Like Romney  10/17/2012  (2570)

Why Does Romney Focus So Much On Apology?  9/12/2012  (2142)

A Way of Speaking that Wins Elections  9/6/2012  (2075)

Compared to Other Nations, America is Under-Taxed and More Unequal  8/31/2012  (2098)

Obedience, Not Liberty, is Highest Value for Real Conservatives  8/28/2012  (2179)

Romney Degrades Himself with Welfare Ad  8/28/2012  (2135)

Prosperity Economics: Building an Economy for All  8/3/2012  (2213)

Michele Bachmann: Say Stupid Things, Make Lots of Money  8/1/2012  (2126)

The Trees are Falling  7/14/2012  (2312)

President's Social Darwinism Comment Stirs Up Business Elite  4/16/2012  (2226)

Today is My Last Day at Goldman Sachs  3/14/2012  (2250)

Creation is Broken: Against Utopian Conservatives  3/9/2012  (2241)

Women have Spoken: The End of Rush Limbaugh  3/9/2012  (2232)

Nazism and Public Schools: Catholic Bishops Want Public Money for Their Own Schools  2/25/2012  (2721)

The Cynical Use of Religion by Economic Elites  2/23/2012  (2747)

The Continuing Attack by Religious Right against Mainline Christianity  2/22/2012  (2435)

A Phony Public Theology  2/22/2012  (2235)

Naming the Enemy: Biological Fundamentalism  2/17/2012  (2227)

Social Policy in Pastoral Consciousness: Who Should Serve the 'Poor'?  2/16/2012  (2300)

Bishops Reject Obama Compromise, the Devil is Forcing Birth Control  2/14/2012  (2287)

Even Critics of Safety Net Increasingly Depend on It  2/13/2012  (2247)

Romney Believes Constitution is Divine  2/11/2012  (2304)

Santorum Reveals His Political Philosophy with Comment on French Revolution  2/10/2012  (4915)

Legal Aspects of the Contraception Debate  2/9/2012  (2304)

Catholic Bishops Want Freedom to Oppress Women  2/8/2012  (2726)

David Stockman on Crony Capitalism, A Very Helpful Discussion  1/26/2012  (4722)

Wall Street to be Investigated  1/25/2012  (2643)

Obama Tells Truth about Economy  12/7/2011  (2266)

God Demands Justice  11/17/2011  (2250)

Understanding Protest Movements  11/15/2011  (2210)

Chris Hedges: People Have Finally Woken Up  10/8/2011  (2266)

A New Economic Strategy for Wall Street Protests  10/5/2011  (2322)

Wall Street Occupation Protest - Live Video  9/26/2011  (2324)

Tens of Thousands Protest in Israel; Citizens of the USA Should Also Hit the Streets  8/7/2011  (2360)

A Day of Blasphemy: Governor Rick Perry's Prayer Festival  8/5/2011  (2570)

Wall Street Hates the Tea Party  8/4/2011  (2387)

The Instability of the American Political System  7/27/2011  (2465)

Fukuyama on The Origins of Political Order  4/15/2011  (2421)

Obama Punches Back  4/13/2011  (2533)

Punish the Poor  4/9/2011  (2615)

Facing the Reality of Conflict and the Problem with Liberal Neutrality  3/21/2011  (2545)

The Republican Attack on Poor Women  2/20/2011  (2515)

A Real Spirit of Peace  2/11/2011  (2427)

Public Lies about Tax Cuts  2/10/2011  (2507)

The People Own the Streets  2/2/2011  (2525)

Political Violence Works  1/13/2011  (2645)

Religion as a Matter of Political Calculation  12/24/2010  (2734)

Tea Party Leader Says Methodist Church is the Religious Arm of Socialism   12/20/2010  (2796)

Bottom-up History: The Commoners of Atwood  12/13/2010  (2534)

Patriotic Millionaires Support Increase in Their OwnTaxes  12/10/2010  (2608)

Democrats Elected a Republican President  12/9/2010  (2561)

Obama Agrees to Increase Obscene Levels of Inequality  12/9/2010  (2429)

The Unemployed are Actual, Real People  12/3/2010  (2627)

A Deep Sense of Bewilderment and Betrayal  12/2/2010  (2637)

Chalmers Johnson Dies, Military Writer Who Told the Truth  11/21/2010  (2598)

Should the Rich Rule?  11/3/2010  (2475)

The Liberation Theology of Abraham Lincoln  10/12/2010  (2651)

Mass Psychosis as a Pastoral Concern  9/24/2010  (2690)

Glenn Beck and Apostolic Authority  8/31/2010  (2571)

A Moving Event  7/19/2010  (2491)

Gay Marriage to Become Law of the Land  6/21/2010  (2551)

Facing Death at the Center of Life  6/14/2010  (2609)

Rand Paul Exposes Tea Party Racism in Libertarianism  5/20/2010  (2726)

Equal Freedom: The Obama Doctrine  5/7/2010  (2900)

The Last Protestant is Leaving  4/9/2010  (2655)

Economics in Pastoral Consciousness  3/14/2010  (2760)

The Strategic Consciousness of the Protestant Pastor  3/1/2010  (2695)

Memesis and the Culture of Personal Crisis  2/15/2010  (2920)

Watch Out for that Communist Folk Music  1/22/2010  (2875)

The Political Cross at Xmas  12/23/2009  (2792)

There are Socialists and Communists in the White House  10/15/2009  (3469)

Send Money to ACORN Now!  9/19/2009  (3194)

The Moral Blindness of Glenn Beck  8/11/2009  (3272)

The Media Creation of Whacko Conservatism  7/30/2009  (3118)

Seven Pentecostal Mountains and Sarah Palin  7/16/2009  (3283)

Major Media Unfairly Presents Anti-Abortion Rhetoric  6/3/2009  (3224)

You Can Get Killed in a Public Church  6/2/2009  (3344)

Historical Jesus Theories: Bringing on the Reign of God  5/20/2009  (3645)

It's Not Socialism, It's Insanity  5/20/2009  (3152)

When Life Begins is Not at all Clear  5/19/2009  (3403)

The Political Use of Torture  4/25/2009  (3168)

Jesus is Not Some Phony Spook  4/22/2009  (3093)

Poisoned Waters, Chicken Shit and Smart Growth  4/21/2009  (3315)

The Significance of the Killing of Robert F. Kennedy  4/13/2009  (3319)

The Last Book by Neuhaus: America is Babylon  4/10/2009  (3531)

About the New Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships  4/9/2009  (3254)

Seeing the Truth about God and Economy  4/2/2009  (3446)

Big Bankers as Terrorists  3/23/2009  (3441)

Without Trust, No Economy  3/19/2009  (3261)

Exposing the Dual Structure of American Governance  3/19/2009  (3180)

Another Big Book on Justice  3/17/2009  (3207)

Why Pastors Need to Understand Rush Limbaugh  3/16/2009  (3264)

The Freeman Affair and the Israel Lobby  3/16/2009  (3295)

Uncreative Destruction  3/16/2009  (3329)

Some Truth about Income Tax Rates  3/13/2009  (3621)

Cultural Redemption: The Jewish-Arab Peace Song  3/13/2009  (3599)

The Poor Reputation of Evangelicals around the World  3/13/2009  (3362)

They have Stolen Our Language  3/11/2009  (3382)

CNBC: Mouthpiece for Business Ideology  3/11/2009  (3152)

Why Habermas?  3/11/2009  (3250)

Sex in God's Family  3/8/2009  (3476)


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Trump Had Morality Hammered Out of Him by His Family History
7/14/2017

David Brooks writes a remarkable article today in the New York Times. It gives some history of the Trump family, the grandfather from Germany, the father. The bible talks about the "sins of the fathers" being visited upon later generations. Well, the sins of these fathers have led to a very big, fat problem for the United States. It is stuck with a president with no moral sense, no guiding internal moral compass that tells him what is right and wrong, despite whether he may be winning or losing a deal.

After giving some of the family history Brooks says:
I repeat this history because I don’t think moral obliviousness is built in a day. It takes generations to hammer ethical considerations out of a person’s mind and to replace them entirely with the ruthless logic of winning and losing; to take the normal human yearning to be good and replace it with a single-minded desire for material conquest; to take the normal human instinct for kindness and replace it with a law-of-the-jungle mentality.

It took a few generations of the House of Trump, in other words, to produce Donald Jr. The Donald Trump Jr. we see through the Russia scandal story is not malevolent: He seems to be simply oblivious to the idea that ethical concerns could possibly play a role in everyday life.
In the 1980s there was a brief period when there was quite a lot of discussion of "business ethics" and "corporate social responsibility". It has been a long time since I have heard or read either of these terms. I look at books on my shelf with such titles and wonder whatever happened to the idea that when you work in business you still have to function with a conscience, as sense of right and wrong. You still have to act in a moral manner. Now, it seems, "finance" rules all; everything, absolutely everything, boils down to mathematics. Money is mathematics and in any deal I have to come out on top. No matter how many people are hurt, if I make money then I am all right. That's the business logic of the day. And such a person has been elected president. And now his son has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar of political corruption and Don Jr. says "its only business". Brooks writes:
Once the scandal broke you would think Don Jr. would have some awareness that there were ethical stakes involved. You’d think there would be some sense of embarrassment at having been caught lying so blatantly.

But in his interview with Sean Hannity he appeared incapable of even entertaining any moral consideration. “That’s what we do in business,” the younger Trump said. “If there’s information out there, you want it.” As William Saletan pointed out in Slate, Don Jr. doesn’t seem to possess the internal qualities necessary to consider the possibility that he could have done anything wrong.
A libertarian legal scholar by the name of Eugene Volokh has even argued at the Washington Post that it certainly can't be a crime to do what Don Jr. did. He starts his piece with an abstract analogy about a Hillary Clinton staffer being offered a juicy tidbit about a Slovakian Miss Universe contestant who claims to have been sexually harassed by Donald Trump. He says that the first amendment could not be interpreted to deny the staffer the opportunity to use this information, therefore, Donald Trump Jr. is complete free of legal liability here.

Note this is a "libertarian" lawyer. That tells you a lot. That tells you that the person has a mental mindset which says: whatever the individual person wants to do or has done is what is good and right and true. Now, that's an overstatement, but overstatements are what libertarian writers do all the time. It is almost always the case that the community, its infrastructure and institutions, are wrong, and the free-floating solitary individual is right.

Eugene Volokh uses his brain power to try to justify Donald Jr.'s actions. Yes, I know. He is talking about whether an actual crime was committed. But this is the point with libertarians today. If it's not a crime then it is OK. There is hardly any recognition of morality, that things may be wrong due to ethical considerations. It is that lack of recognition that leads to the need for more and more law, more and more legalism, because people don't have within themselves any longer an internal sense of what is right and wrong to do to others.

And ethics has everything to do with context. Eugene Volokh fails to reckon with the context of Don Jr.'s actions. What he did must be seen within the context of the Trump campaign receiving the active, substantial support from the Russian government. The analogy with a Clinton staffer has no logical standing as an argument here, it is just an abstract effort to clear Don Jr. of any crime. But when you consider Don Jr.'s actions in relation to many, many further actions taken by Trump's campaign team to be revealed in coming days and their collusion with the Russians all of a sudden a pattern emerges which may well be able to called "criminal".

I wonder why Eugene Volokh is so eager to excuse him so easily. I also wonder why the Washington Post is publishing this kind of libertarian nonsense. That may be because the new owner of the Post, Jeff Bezos, is thought himself to be a libertarian, has contributed to the libertarian magazine, Reason, but not a libertarian Republican or conservative. For example, he supports gay marriage and lives in a very liberal city, Seattle, Washington.

Volokh claims that his blog section is "conservative, libertarian, and centrist." But there are huge contradictions in all three of these terms. Volokh, and some of the other writers in his blog section, seem to me to be extremist libertarians. They ought to let themselves be informed by a real conservative, David Brooks.

And keep this in mind. If there was greater morality in business these days, there could be fewer rules, fewer laws. What makes the need for laws is immorality. Watch out now. With the immoral Donald Trump in charge we can expect that there will be much more law and government needed to keep him in check.






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