Dispatch from Ireland: Gay Marriage and Adoption

Dispatch from Ireland: Gay Marriage and Adoption

I was recently in Ireland! In fact I was around for the Pope’s visit, along with the World Meeting of Families. The Catholic Church a very long and controversial legacy in Ireland, so all of this was a big deal. I am just wise enough about Ireland to know that I know nothing, and the point of this post is not to weigh in on Irish politics. So I will refrain.

However the Pope’s visit did indeed lead to a whole lot of conversation about the Church’s legacy and some of the big political/religious/moral issues on the Irish table, as well as the American table. One was about gay couples and adoption.

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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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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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Talking Politics in The Wilderness

Talking Politics in The Wilderness

would. Her very personal, anecdotal, no-BS approach to human connection vs. tribalism is a great compliment to our own work and probably a good way to reach people who aren't as responsive to ReConsider's brass-tacks take.

I wanted to pass along a bit of what I'd taken away from it. I believe I've become a more compassionate and (thereby) more effective discusser of politics for having read her work.

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Trump's Scandals are a Showcase of Politics-as-Sports

Trump's Scandals are a Showcase of Politics-as-Sports

It's not an easy thing to defend Trump's character. Regardless of your feelings or your belief about the validity of the scandals themselves, Trump's full year of presidency has been far more scandal-laden than any term. The fact that his base isn't eroding tells us a lot about the state of politics today.

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Will Education Fix Our Political Polarization?

Will Education Fix Our Political Polarization?

Many folks on both sides of the political spectrum will tell you that the reason their political opposition doesn't agree with them is a lack of education. This can go as far as groaning about uneducated (typically either poor rural or poor urban) hordes voting en masse after being fooled. Education, therefore, is the fix for the crippling political divide we have. If people are educated, they'll agree on the facts, and we'll be able to move forward.

But does this claim hold up to evidence? 

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Train Your Brain to Think Clearly About Politics

Train Your Brain to Think Clearly About Politics

Politics tap into an unusual mixture of reason and emotion. We want to have the right answer, which requires a neutral interpretation of information and events. However, it is human nature to want to feel like we have the right answer, especially when the topic is something we care deeply about. 

There is a disconnect between the pure detachment required for cool-headed discussion and the often uncontrollable emotions that are part of our nature. This is why an impassioned speech can sway huge groups of individuals better than an exceptionally well-informed but detached policy paper.

How can we train ourselves to think more effectively about politics?

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