A US Cultural Power Transition?

A US Cultural Power Transition?

A reader and good friend reminded me recently that I wrote my thesis on the idea of Power Transitions in geopolitics. If you are a super-nerd of geopolitics or international relations it is just the thing for you right after you finish the latest Harry Potter spin-off.

They reminded me of it because he believes it's precisely what we're seeing in the United States that is leading to such strife. Let's expand on that idea.

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Mike Pence as a Litmus Test for Your Feelings on Trump

Mike Pence as a Litmus Test for Your Feelings on Trump

I live in Boston, so I get to hear a lot of concerns about Trump as president.

Every president gets flak, often unfair or hyperbolic, from people in the political opposition. 

But there's something unique about opposition to Trump that I haven't heard said about Bush, McCain, Romney, or Rubio/Kasich/Cruz: there is a strong strain of opinion that Trump is fundamentally unfit to be president.

When Mike Pence gets brought up as an alternative, a very important litmus test occurs.

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The Supreme Court's Cake Ruling Was Neither Partisan Nor Bombshell

The Supreme Court's Cake Ruling Was Neither Partisan Nor Bombshell

think it was ABC World News Tonight that, last night (June 4) called the Supreme Court's cake-maker decision a "bombshell" ruling. That is false, it is not.

CNN claims--I roll my eyes--that the ruling somehow "fuels the debate on gay rights." Please. 

In a hyperpartsian era full of 5-4, "partisan line" Supreme Court decisions, it's incredibly important to recognize how different this was. It was not partisan, it was not narrow, it was not a "bombshell," and it doesn't fuel anything.

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The Cycles of Government and Civic Virtue

The Cycles of Government and Civic Virtue

Plato wrote about it in Republic; Machiavelli wrote about it in The Prince and Discourses on Livy.

What they saw through the history of governments, and what they predicted in the future, was a cycle. Perhaps an endless one. Fukuyama said history ended. He may be wrong.

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Sneaky Hidden Trouble in Bipartisan Bills (FOSTA/SESTA)

Sneaky Hidden Trouble in Bipartisan Bills (FOSTA/SESTA)

Imagine with me a happy, hand-shakey, bipartisan Congress. We're working across party lines, we're passin' bills, and everything's good.

Right now we're so far from that vision that I am almost afraid to malign it, but malign it I shall. 

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There Has Always Been Fake News--And We Can Learn From That

There Has Always Been Fake News--And We Can Learn From That

What better way to discredit something than to call it "fake news?" What better way to subtly deride your political opposition by bemoaning the "post-truth world" that we now live in?

It seems difficult to argue against the idea that fake news plays a larger role in our society today than it did 10 or 20 years ago. But there's a risk to thinking that we are in some unique moment in history, or having false nostalgia for some time back in the day when everything was trustworthy and you didn't have to be a discerning reader.

The good news: fake news may come in historical cycles that ebb and flow. That’s also the bad news.

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How Committed Are You to Facts?

How Committed Are You to Facts?

I think a fairly reasonable way of describing the ideal way to come up with political positions is this:

  1. Use empirics, reason, and philosophy/theology to determine your core values
  2. Search out for facts to help you understand what courses of action best help you maximize those values, make the best trade-offs, etc.

I'd like to believe all of us are pretty committed to being based in fact. Especially with respect to the opposite commitment, which is not caring at all about facts. 

But how committed are you, really?

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The Hidden Agreement Within America's Political Chasm

The Hidden Agreement Within America's Political Chasm

Here at ReConsider we like to harp on the idea that behind the mass of negativity and hyperpartisanship that dominates American politics, there are mostly shared values.

In Wedged we demonstrated this agreement in case studies. We showed that on even divisive issues such as guns, abortion, and taxes, most people will agree on core values most of the time. We posited that this agreement on values probably extended to other issues.

We eagerly awaited a broader study.

And then we got one!

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Adding some Sanity to the Trump-Putin Relationship Scandal

Adding some Sanity to the Trump-Putin Relationship Scandal

I know I've been on a Trump streak lately. (Not a Trump Steak, luckily.) But a lot about Trump and Russia has come out in the past two weeks. Just as every bit of news about Trump inspires some quite excitable reactions from just about everyone, this has, too. 

There's a bit of a spectrum on how people are interpreting what's coming out. On the one hand, there's a Witch Hunt, which may or may not involve everyone from the Deep State to most news organizations to George Soros. On the other hand, Trump is actually whole-cloth puppet of Putin--either by bribing or blackmail, he actually works for Russia and anything that is not Putin's personal agenda is a distraction. I'm going to make the case that both of these are fairly popular positions. See:

Perhaps reality is a little more complicated than either of these.

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What are Trump's Options for North Korea?

What are Trump's Options for North Korea?

2017 was full of hype about the risk of thermonuclear war or (somehow) World War III as the war of words between Trump and Kim of North Korea reached a boiling point. For all the criticism Trump received for tough talk and saber-rattling, he seems to be getting just as much flak for deciding to sit down and talk to Kim. Nonwithstanding, of course, the pretty typical flip-flopping: Obama offers to talk to North Korea without preconditions, conservatives freak out. Now Trump does it, liberals freak out (along with some conservatives, such as Ben Shapiro or the American Spectator). So let's take a minute and cut through the sports-team politics and get into the meat.

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