Monday, June 04, 2012

Liberty and freedom in America and the right to be forever duped

I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country.... Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow....

(President Abraham Lincoln, 1864)

Season of everyone's discontent

The Roman poet Virgil said more than 2,000 years ago, “Blessed is he who has succeeded in finding out the causes of things.”

The cause, easier said than done. In the United States the dreary political season is upon us, not because we don't have the general right to elect our political representatives (at least for the moment), but because we have chosen to make the process as banal, corrupt and irrelevant as possible.

A book worth reading while wending your way through the spreading inanity of “talking” snakes, stupid billionaires, the “zombie apocalypse,” barely literate politicians and a confused citizenry is entitled The Swerve, by literary historian and Pulitzer prize winner Stephen Greenblatt.

While a handful of critics have suggested that the book does not have sufficient academic gravitas, it is a fascinating story for a general—and literate—audience. That's what makes it a compelling read.

It is about the very real discovery of the book hunter Poggio Bracciolini in the early fifteenth century and what he uncovered in a monastery in Germany, an ancient poem by the Roman poet Lucretius, which influenced the Renaissance, the scientific revolution, men like Darwin, Einstein and Thomas Jefferson. Above all, it seems to me, it says something about human curiosity and optimism, even when everything else appears bleak and hopeless. It is a reason to keep going on and not give in.

Deciding to change

Out of the Mouths of Children—in Canada

Get out while you can. While you still believe. While you still have a soul.

(character of Dr. Fredericks, in the movie The Good Shepherd)

If you're infatuated with unfettered free markets, just visit [Pakistan's] Waziristan.

(Markets and Morals by NYT columnist Nicholas D. Kristof)

Thinking About Health Care Differently

Paul Krugman: Falling Apart

Additional Reading:

GrowingEducation Divide in Cities (the cities that make it)

Thehigh price of 'dark fusion' (government propaganda for Americans)

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