Countless alarms, both at home and abroad, have been raised by the election of Donald Trump. Not everyone is worried, though. Many of Trump’s supporters are eager to defend his every lie, his every unconstitutional policy, and his every whining tweet. This part of his support base is drawn to him like a cult to its guru and feels he can do no wrong. That’s a dangerous attitude to have about any elected official, and about Trump in particular. Continue reading
Before the advent of science and the ubiquity of light pollution, human beings gazed up at the stars and ascribed great meaning to astral events, treating them as omens from the gods. Many of these mystified people still wander the earth, untouched by modern knowledge of gravity and geometry. They aren’t just hiding out in the Amazonian wilds, either; many of them follow Glenn Beck’s Facebook page. Continue reading
For opponents of corporate Christianity and fans of schadenfreude, the last week has been a good one. Two high-profile stories put the entire for-profit Christianity enterprise up for public scrutiny. HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver aired a segment chronicling the shameless charade of televangelism – still a lucrative American enterprise – and Sam Rader, a popular Christian YouTube celebrity, was outed as a paid client of AshleyMadison.com, a site that seeks to help married people carry out an affair. Continue reading
The word “socialism” possesses the power in American political discourse to end debates, thwart policy proposals and tarnish reputations. All FOX News has to do is put a politician’s name and “socialist” in the same sentence and the message to their viewers is clear. For millions of Americans, socialism is regarded as an existential, heretical threat.
Part of what enables this is the corruption of our vocabulary to the point where words like “socialism,” “big government” and “fascism” have almost no meaning. It’s bad enough that the technical definitions vary from textbook to textbook and society to society, but many times they often simply stand in for, as George Orwell put it, “something not desirable.” So wildly misunderstood are these concepts that in 2009, anti-Obamacare activists carried signs demanding, “Keep government socialism away from my Medicare.” This is a bit like saying, “Keep the post office away from my mail.”
Now, with self-described democratic socialist Senator Bernie Sanders entering the 2016 presidential race and drawing widespread popular support, the tide might be changing. But convincing Americans to violate capitalist dogma is tricky, even if it’s in their best interest. Here, capitalism is not so much an economic model as it is a national religion, with defenders as fanatical as any other. Continue reading
There are a seemingly infinite number of ways a person can define him or herself in relation to the spiritual world. Regardless of your views on religion, the supernatural and the metaphysical, there is likely a word to describe you – believer, agnostic, atheist, deist, spiritual, and all manner of subcategories in between. A tragedy is buried here, though, and it’s the fact that people must identify as one of these or another in the first place. Continue reading