On Democracy

A collection of articles by Tucker Lieberman. Yes, these may evolve into a book. No, not yet.

The codes “DD” and “DMB” are the names of two blogs. The code “BAOS” is a publication on Medium. “GR” means Goodreads.

Apart from Medium’s paywall which may kick in after you’ve read a few articles, all of these articles are free to read online. You are welcome to read, share, and use the commenting features on each article.

Dialogue and Civility

The forces behind political polarization (DD)

Political parties are supposed to present positions and uphold principles. Ideally. (DD)

How does one gain political converts? (DD)

On public shaming of, and service denial to, political officials (DD)

Still waiting for a better answer on ‘How to Be Right’ (DD)

Use bipartisan energy to rein in power (DD)

When conflicting perspectives are opportunities to learn about oneself and others (DMB)

When We Disagree On Politics and I Lose a Friend (Medium)

Human dignity: Finding a secular justification (DD)

On Decency: Defending Transgender Rights (JewishBoston, August 2018)

“Undisguised Acceptance: Why I’m Voting Yes on 3” (Shalom Magazine, Fall/Rosh Hashanah 2018, p. 51)

None of us are ‘animals’ (JewishBoston, May 2018)

Societies have shared beliefs, not absolute truths (DMB)

On tolerating intolerance: Thoughts from ‘The Atheist Muslim’ (DMB)

Avoiding and correcting false beliefs (DMB)

Truth is a bully (DMB)

In Defense of Civility: How Religion Can Unite America on Seven Moral Issues That Divide Us by James Calvin Davis (GR)

Are there correct answers to moral questions? Yes, says atheist Sam Harris (DMB)

Hobbes: Learn the “Rules of Civil Life” and Stop Civil War (DMB)

Because I Say So: The Dangerous Appeal of Moral Authority by Nikki Stern (GR)

Cognitive Politics: A Communications Workbook for Progressives by Stephen M. Cataldo (GR)

Hate

Trump’s response to the Christchurch mosque shootings (DD)

Reactions to unpresidential retweets of Britain First (DD)

Ways one oughtn’t respond to anti-Semitic domestic terrorism (DD)

“The Solidarity We Need: On Resisting Antisemitism” (Shalom Magazine, Chanukah 2019, pp. 30-31)

On Jewish, Black, and transgender hate crime statistics (DD)

Denying the denialists (DMB)

Anti-Semitic and white privilege strings that pull the ‘War on Christmas’ (DD)

Where you can donate to support anti-racist efforts in the US right now (DD)

Young people joining a violent group in a search for meaning (DD)

House Democrats Voted to Censure POTUS for July 14 Racist Tweets. Republicans Said…? (Medium)

Will Congressional Republicans condemn POTUS for sharing the ‘White Power’ video? (Medium)

U.S.-Mexico Border

Three weeks, no shower, and ‘Kafka By Way of Orwell’ (DD)

Psychological effects of separating kids from parents (DD)

What YOU can do to END concentration camps in the United States (DD)

Dispatches from the US/Mexico border (June-September 2019) (DD)

How the Trump administration plans to erect a border wall in 2020 (DD)

Anti-LGBT

Rick Perry’s support for outlawing gay sex (DD)

Scott Lively’s candidacy for governor of Massachusetts: On LGBT issues (DD)

Roy Moore’s movement to promote the Ten Commandments in American civic life (DMB)

2017 U.S. Senate race in Alabama: Roy Moore’s candidacy and Doug Jones’ win (DD)

So-called ‘religious freedom’ order would allow discrimination based on sexuality and gender (DD)

‘This is Pride Month’: So simple, even a burrito can do it (DD)

Hurt me 15 degrees less: On cruelty, fear, justice, order, and challenging the conservative white evangelical worldview (DD)

Lessons in a ten-year-old NYT op-ed against same-sex marriage (DD)

Two major federal actions against transgender rights in the US – Nov. 23, 2018 (DD)

The latest screed against gender transition (National Review, Aug 2016) (DD)

10 failed arguments in 1,000 words: The latest anti-transgender screed (DD)

Logical errors in ‘Gender Identity and the Invisible Pasta God’ (DD)

Of course you can feel like a girl: Reflections on a recent anti-transgender essay (DD)

Jordan Peterson on gender quotas in politics (re: National Post article, Dec. 11, 2018) (DMB)

Gay political values examined in ‘Homocons’ by Richard Goldstein (DMB)

Human Rights Don’t ‘Trickle-Down’ (Medium)

How Trump scored himself 36 points on LGBTQ rights — and why that’s a failing grade (Medium)

Murmur by Will Eaves (GR)

Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution by Linda R. Hirshman (GR)

Religion

Evangelicals disappointed in Trump’s character (DD)

Will organized religion ‘take ownership’ of the President? (DMB)

Van Jones: We are called to ‘a personal and spiritual accounting’ (DD)

Is the American soul sick? Differing perspectives in ‘The Left Hand of God’ and ‘Tempting Faith’ (DD)

Consuming Faith: Integrating Who We Are with What We Buy by Tom Beaudoin (GR)

‘The Good News Club’: Katherine Stewart’s book on evangelical Christianity in U.S. public schools (DD)

‘Unholy’: White American evangelicals’ reverence for Trump (DD)

How patriarchy lends itself to militarism (on Jesus and John Wayne) (Medium – BAOS)

American history to explain ‘How did we get here?’ (on American Rule) (Medium – BAOS)

Will Trump succeed in repealing the Johnson Amendment? (And why does he want to?) (DD)

Choosing Donald Trump: God, Anger, Hope, and Why Christian Conservatives Supported Him by Stephen Mansfield (GR)

Why do conservative American Christians feel discriminated against? A 2019 debate (DD)

The End of White Christian America by Robert P. Jones (GR)

Conscience and Religious Freedom…isn’t (DD)

Praying with the U.S. president (DD)

Ross Douthat’s “WASP nostalgia” NYT columns in Dec 2018 (DMB)

‘God Is Not One’: A book on acknowledging religious differences (DD)

Don’t believe everything the sacred book says (DD)

Unfollow: A Journey from Hatred to Hope by Megan Phelps-Roper (GR)

How many Americans believe the Bible is the ‘Word of God’? (DD)

When the Republican U.S. presidential candidates in 2008 were asked about the Bible (DD)

The long and misguided history of swearing in on Bibles (DMB)

The Bible may be worth studying, but it doesn’t contribute to science (DMB)

Where the Bible contradicts itself (DMB)

The ‘Evolution Academic Freedom Act’ and the teaching of the theory of evolution in schools (DD)

Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul by Kenneth R. Miller (GR)

Kentucky creationism theme park is not to get $18 million in tax breaks (DD)

The Soul of Politics: Beyond “Religious Right” and “Secular Left” by Jim Wallis (GR)

Killing for Life: The Apocalyptic Narrative of Pro-Life Politics by Carol A. Mason (GR)

More Moral Than God: Taking Responsibility for Religious Violence by Charlene Burns (GR)

Bounded Choice: True Believers and Charismatic Cults by Janja Lalich (GR)

Spiritual, But Not Religious: Understanding Unchurched America by Robert C. Fuller (GR)

Identity and Racism

Nation, religion, language: Amin Maalouf on identity (DD)

Reaction to Mark Lilla’s ‘The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics’ (DD)

Another jab at ‘identity politics’: The anti-democratic sentence at the end of the Sept. 5, 2018 anonymous op-ed (DD)

Forming the cathedral (DMB)

On Harry G. Frankfurt’s ‘The Importance of What We Care About’ (DMB)

American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin by Terrance Hayes (GR)

Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions by Valeria Luiselli (GR)

Antisemitism: Here and Now by Deborah E. Lipstadt (GR)

Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity by C. Riley Snorton (GR)

On My Way to Liberation by h. melt (GR)

Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” by Zora Neale Hurston (GR)

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine (GR)

Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation by Angel Kyodo Williams (GR)

Mistaken Identity: Race and Class in the Age of Trump by Asad Haider (GR)

Why Didn’t We Riot?: A Black Man in Trumpland by Issac J. Bailey (BAOS)

America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America by Jim Wallis (GR)

Arab in America by Toufic El Rassi (GR)

Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness? What it Means to Be Black Now by Touré (GR)

The Skull Measurer’s Mistake: And Other Portraits of Men and Women Who Spoke Out Against Racism by Sven Lindqvist (GR)

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (GR)

How to Be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy, and the Racial Divide by Crystal Marie Fleming (GR)

Born on the Edge of Race and Gender: A Voice for Cultural Competency by Willy Wilkinson (GR)

2016 election

Why no one should vote for Donald Trump (DD)

Meeting My Past Self While Rereading [The Trouble With Reality by Brooke Gladstone – in Medium – BAOS]

On the astonishingly morally impoverished character of Donald Trump (DD)

25th Amendment: ‘Unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office’ (DD)

Why people believe the president is mentally ‘unleashed’ (DD)

Nonsense tweets from November 2017 (DD)

James Comey: Trump presidency a “forest fire,” seen optimistically (DD)

I still don’t know why you voted for him (response to op-ed) (DD)

The moral hazard of working for a corrupt administration (DD)

Review of Cliff Sims’ ‘Team of Vipers’ (2019) (DD)

Comparing Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury with Bob Woodward’s Fear and Rage (BAOS)
* Highlights of Bob Woodward’s ‘Fear: Trump in the White House’ and ‘Rage’ (DD)
* Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff: The role of Steve BannonTrump never intended to win the electionThe president’s odd behaviorTrump’s relationship with the media (DD)

Surviving Autocracy by Masha Gessen: One rejected myth, one persistent myth (DD) & A search for new language (DMB) & Why I Get My News about Trumpism from Late-Night Comedy (Medium)

Why Deal with the Devil? [It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump by Stuart Stevens – in Medium’s publication Curious]

Responses to the anonymous White House insider who wrote the NYT op-ed published 5 Sept 2018 (DD)

False claims by the Trump administration (DD)

Who ‘war’ it better?: Why it’s bogus to tweet about military prowess, especially with these numbers (DD)

Can the president use social media to promote other people’s books? (DD)

The ‘quid pro quo’ in the Trump/Zelensky call transcript (DD)

Who will testify about Trump’s quid pro quo? (DD)

Is Trump’s time up? (impeachment 2019) (DD)

On the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh (DD)

He Always Prints His Name on the Matchbook (Medium)

2020 election

A 7-part series on the 2020 election, published October 2, 2020 on Medium:
Part 1Trump’s Motivations to Stay in Office
Part 2Who’s Helping Trump to Remain in Office?
Part 3How Will Americans Vote?
Part 4Cheating to Win the Election
Part 5What to Expect on Election Day and in the Transition Period
Part 6The Chaos We Expect After the 2020 Election
Part 7Fascism, and a Small Thing You Can Do Right Now

What the Republican senator has asked Americans to do (DD)

Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy by David Daley (GR)

Journalism

It is not journalists’ job to vet political nominees, but…? (DD)

This is something other than condemning violence against journalists (DD)

On criticizing one’s country (DD)

Political Godmother: Nackey Scripps Loeb and the Newspaper That Shook the Republican Party by Meg Heckman (GR)

Reckless Disregard: Westmoreland v. CBS et al.; Sharon v. Time by Renata Adler (GR)

The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and The Public Should Expect by Bill Kovach (GR)

Newsfail: Climate Change, Feminism, Gun Control, and Other Fun Stuff We Talk About Because Nobody Else Will by Jamie Kilstein (GR)

Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media by Edward S. Herman (GR)

Russia

The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin by Masha Gessen (GR)

Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth by Rachel Maddow (GR)

Revealing the Russian connections in the Trump White House [Donald Trump v. The United States: Inside the Struggle to Stop a President by Michael Schmidt]

What is collusion? (DD)

Fascism and Democracy

‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’: Vulnerability and American Identity (DMB)

How Big Brother achieves total control in George Orwell’s novel ‘1984’ (DMB)

Is ‘Trumpism’ a cult? (DD)

Is the word ‘fascism’ too extreme? (BAOS) [How Fascism Works by Jason Stanley]

On the risk of fascism in the US (DD)

Quotes: On why societies and groups trend away from democracy (DD)

Why do Americans believe they are exceptional? [American Exceptionalism and American Innocence by Roberto Sirvent and Danny Haiphong]

Simplicity and loyalty: The slide into authoritarianism [Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism by Anne Applebaum]

Democracy under bacterial attack! [Medium, re: “Power Corrupts” podcast]

Why the American president is a ‘Despot’s Apprentice’ (DD)

Four books on the strengths and frailties of democracy (DD)

What’s ‘the paradox of voting’? And why do people bother to vote? (DD)

Trump administration broke the ‘We the People’ White House petition website (DD)

Sharpiegate (DD)

The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir by John R. Bolton (GR)

Brink Lindsey’s essay on small-r republicanism in National Affairs (DD)

Quotes: Is capitalism just a phase of history? (DD)

On capitalism and compassion (DMB)

Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden’s philosophy in ‘The Virtue of Selfishness’ (DMB)

What is neoliberalism? (DD)

Understanding individualism and collectivism: Rick Perry on liberalism (DMB)

How to end violent motives, according to ‘Virtuous Violence’ (DMB)

Quotes: On the rise of militarism and the need for compromise (DD)

Primo Levi’s insights into psychology at Auschwitz (DMB)

The Godless Constitution: A Moral Defense of the Secular State by Isaac Kramnick (GR)

The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels by Jon Meacham (GR)

The Politics of Official Apologies by Melissa Nobles (GR)

The Demoralization Of Western Culture: Social Theory And The Dilemmas Of Modern Living by Ralph Fevre (GR)

Democracy Despite Itself: Why a System That Shouldn’t Work at All Works So Well by Danny Oppenheimer (GR)

How Democracy Ends by David Runciman (GR)

Power: Where Is It? by Donald Savoie (GR)

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder (GR)

History

The Chinese and the Iron Road: Building the Transcontinental Railroad by Gordon H. Chang (GR)

Scapegoat: A History of Blaming Other People by Charlie Campbell (GR)

The Intellectuals and the Flag by Todd Gitlin (GR)

The Thanksgiving Turkey Pardon, the Death of Teddy’s Bear, and the Sovereign Exception of Guantanamo by Magnus Fiskesjo (GR)

The Future of Conservatism: Conflict and Consensus in the Post-Reagan Era by Charles W. Dunn (GR)

Heidegger’s Silence by Berel Lang (GR)

The Perils of Prosperity, 1914-1932 by William E. Leuchtenburg (GR)

When General Grant Expelled the Jews by Jonathan D. Sarna (GR)

They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South by Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers (GR)

What Money Really Means by Thomas M. Kostigen

The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better by Richard G. Wilkinson (GR)

The J Curve: A New Way to Understand Why Nations Rise and Fall by Ian Bremmer (GR)

Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century by Jonathan Glover

Knowledge

‘Agnotology’: The study of ignorance (Episyllogism)

I Don’t Know: In Praise of Admitting Ignorance by Leah Hager Cohen (GR)

Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts by Carol Tavris (GR)

The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina by Frank Rich (GR)

On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not by Robert A. Burton (GR)

Lying by Sam Harris (GR)

A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age by Daniel J. Levitin (GR)

How Do You Kill 11 Million People? Why The Truth Matters More Than You Think by Andy Andrews (GR)

Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives By Michael Specter (GR)

Dangerous Knowledge: Orientalism and Its Discontents by Robert Irwin (GR)

The effect of conspiracy theories (Episyllogism)

When to wager that a conspiracy theory is false (Episyllogism)

‘Escaping the Rabbit Hole’ sees hope for conspiracy theorists (Episyllogism)

Paranoid: Exploring Suspicion from the Dubious to the Delusional by David LaPorte (GR)

The Science of Fear: Why We Fear the Things We Shouldn’t–and Put Ourselves in Greater Danger by Dan Gardner

Is a ‘political lie’ different from a garden-variety lie? (Episyllogism)

In Defense of Elitism by William A. Henry III (GR)

Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy by Chris Hayes (GR)

Lost in the Meritocracy: The Undereducation of an Overachiever by Walter Kirn (GR)

Disciplined Minds: A Critical Look at Salaried Professionals and the Soul-battering System That Shapes Their Identities by Jeff Schmidt (GR)

Flavor of the Month: Why Smart People Fall for Fads by Joel Best (GR)

Don’t Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate: The Essential Guide for Progressives by George Lakoff (GR)

War

There was no good reason for the US to invade Iraq in 2003 (DD)

The beginning of the Iraq War in 2003 (DD)

War on Iraq by William Rivers Pitt (2003)

The impact of Blackwater’s 2007 shooting in Nisour Square (DD)

A look at the Blackwater controversy in Iraq (2007) (DD)

There is no good reason for the US to invade Iran in 2018 (DD)

US backing off Iran strike (June 2019) (DD)

War is still about power, not truth (DD)

For states, talking to rogue militants is a difficult choice (DMB)

You Will Not Have My Hate by Antoine Leiris (GR)

Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow (GR)

The Interrogators: Inside the Secret War Against Al Qaeda by Chris Mackey (GR)

Fortress America The American Military and the Consequences of Peace by William Greider (GR)

Martyrs’ Day: Chronicle of a Small War by Michael Kelly (GR)

War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning by Chris Hedges (GR)

On War by Carl von Clausewitz (GR)

On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society by Dave Grossman (GR)

The Iraq War – A Military History by Williamson Murray (GR)

The Iraq War Reader: History, Documents, Opinions by Micah L. Sifry (GR)

A New Iraq?: The Gulf War And Implications For U. S. Policy by Frederick W. Axelgard (GR)

The War We Could Not Stop: The Real Story Of The Battle For Iraq by Randeep Ramesh (GR)

No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden by Mark Owen

North Korea nuclear policy

‘A River in Darkness’: Masaji Ishikawa’s escape from North Korea (DMB)

The Accusation: Forbidden Stories from Inside North Korea by Bandi (GR)

We regret to inform you that the world may have to be destroyed (on Trump’s cancellation of June 2018 talks with North Korea) (DD)

Twitter reactions to the North Korea/US meeting on Day 1, 12 June 2018, on Day 2, 13 June 2018, and on Day 3 and 4, 14 and 15 June 2018 (DD)

January 2020: Misrepresentations of North Korean denuclearization (DD)

No one, no matter how good, should be able to end the world (DD)

Environment

Over one century of the science of human-caused climate change (DD)

Did you ignore climate change today? (DD)

Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change by George Marshall

The Discovery of Global Warming by Spencer R. Weart (GR)

Nuestro planeta, nuestro futuro by Manuel Rodriguez Becerra (GR)

December 2017 energy news: Bail out coal, let oil and gas keep releasing methane (DD)

Eye-popping climate headlines from 2018 and 2019 (DD)

U.S. on trial for responsibility for climate change: ‘Juliana v. United States’ (DD)

Climate change will reduce U.S. GDP by 10 percent by the end of the 21st century (DD)

Nature seen as apart from humanity (DD)

Nature: matter or mater? (DD)

When ‘nature’ symbolizes life itself and human existence (DD)

Quotes on the human attempt to dominate nature (DD)

When the planet is “cognitively trapped” as “the environment” (DD)

Quotes: We need to be space age ‘crew’ who ‘think like an ecosystem’ (DD)

Gotham Unbound: The Ecological History of Greater New York by Ted Steinberg (GR)

Activism

Being the change for peace you which to see in the world (DD)

What we all must do to make a more peaceful world (DD)

“Unplague the World” (Shalom Magazine, Spring/Passover 2018, p. 16)

“A Balanced Hope” (Shalom Magazine, Chanukah 2018, pp. 44-45)

“Your Menorah is Not in Your Window” (Shalom Magazine, Chanukah/Winter 2017, p. 22)

Liberating Foreigners, Together with Our Sisters and Brothers (Keshet, October 2006)

Taking a stand for peace: Inside or outside the tribe? (DD)

How the have-it-both-ways “moderate” can begin to break out of the armchair (DD)

Four ways philosophy can fail to point toward a better future (DMB)

Dreaming in Dark Times: Six Exercises in Political Thought by Sharon Sliwinski (GR)

Demanding the Impossible by Slavoj Žižek (GR)

Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa (GR)

Medicine Stories: Essays for Radicals by Aurora Levins Morales (GR)

We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting for: The Promise of Civic Renewal in America by Peter Levine (GR)

Healthcare

Willie Parker’s ‘Life’s Work’ is informative as a physician’s perspective on abortion (DD)

Seeking a replacement ethical analysis of support for a replacement healthcare plan (DD)

Dismembered: How the Conservative Attack on the State Harms Us All by Polly Toynbee (GR)

Corruption

Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s defense attorneys, receives $65 million in charitable funds (DD)

A new presidential directive to ‘go shopping’ (DD)

The Case for Impeachment by Allan J. Lichtman (GR)

Outside the US

Fallout from Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (DD)

Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order by Robert Kagan (GR)

Sorting Out the Mixed Economy: The Rise and Fall of Welfare and Developmental States in the Americas by Amy C. Offner (GR)

“Despair in the desert: Waiting for a peace agreement” (Shalom Magazine, Spring/Passover 2014, p. 42)

In 2014, Uganda decrees life imprisonment for gay people (DD)

LGBT people struggle to survive a purge in Tanzania (DD)

Tanzania requires bloggers to register with the government for exorbitant fee (DD)

The 2017 persecution of gay men in Chechnya (DD)

Hollywood celebrities protest hotel owned by the Sultan of Brunei (DD)

Daughters of Smoke and Fire by Ava Homa (GR)

The Call: Inside the Global Saudi Religious Project by Krithika Varagur (GR)

Life by Lu Yao (GR)

The Rope by Kanan Makiya (GR)

The Syrian Tragedy by Carsten Stormer (GR)

The Anatomy of a Moment: Thirty-Five Minutes in History and Imagination by Javier Cercas (GR)

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