Archive | Commentary RSS feed for this section

Donald Trump Is Boring

There is a crisis in American politics. The crisis is that Donald Trump is boring. Normally, I wouldn’t mind a boring president. In fact, I prefer boring presidents. I like less drama, fewer scandals, and more focus on the issues—on actual legislative action and foreign policy decisions. But that’s not the good kind of boring […]

Comments are closed

Freedom Is Not Perfection

The congressional baseball game shooter was clearly motivated by political hatred of Republicans. This hatred was clearly fed and magnified by his listening to hysterical partisan rhetoric and participating in online discussions that reinforced his political biases, painted caricatures of the evil of his future targets, and reinforced his emotions of anger and resentment. But […]

Comments are closed

Success vs. Achievement

Is success good? Or is achievement better? Is there a difference? Well, yes, in a way. The words are frequently used interchangeably, and they are clearly closely related. In making a distinction between the two, I don’t intend to criticize anyone for not parsing the fine differences between them in everyday use, nor am I […]

Comments are closed

Is Personnel Policy?

In politics, there is an old saying: personnel is policy. What a president does is determined to a large extent by the people he hires. Consider the rumors that Donald Trump is considering appointing Mitt Romney as his Secretary of State. Trump’s stated foreign policy involves a much friendlier approach toward Russia. But he’s not […]

Comments are closed

Post-Mortem

Last week, I got knocked down by something that sure felt like the flu—or maybe it was just a really severe case of post-election depression. I don’t think that’s the case, though, because I was already pretty depressed before Election Day. At any rate, I’m sorry for not sending out much in the past week. […]

Comments are closed

Our New Reality TV President

One of the more intriguing facts to emerge from Tuesday’s vote is that Donald Trump won a greater share of black and Hispanic votes than Mitt Romney. Chew on that a little. A man widely denounced as a racist (and not totally without basis) who launched his campaign with disparaging remarks about Mexican immigrants should […]

Comments are closed

Politics Without Principles

I have already given some suggestions for how to vote (or possibly why not to vote) in this rotten political year. I can’t say I have any really great alternatives to offer. Fortunately, it will all be over by tomorrow night and we can focus on what comes next and how to rebuild from the […]

Comments are closed

How to Vote When There’s Nobody to Vote For

How do you vote in an election when there is no lesser of two evils? We’re used to having to make a tough choice between candidates we don’t like. But what do we do in a year when there is no basis for making that decision? What about a year when it’s a choice between […]

Comments are closed

Are Humans Already “Augmented”?

A few years ago, I gave part of my answer to dystopian prognostications, borrowed from Hollywood, about the supposed danger of malevolent artificial intelligence taking over the world. The assumption is that we will keep increasing the power of our machines—and not want to use any of that power for ourselves. Yet the whole purpose […]

Comments are closed

All Over But the Shouting

It’s all over but the shouting, and judging from his reaction at the end of the third debate, Trump knows it. I’ll give some advice later about how to vote in a year when our votes probably won’t make much difference. Except that they will make a difference lower down: Hillary Clinton is now focusing […]

Comments are closed