Archive for the 'Social Justice & Advocacy' Category

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: PART V B…

October 24th, 2014

If ideology was originally a bridge between the system and the individual as an individual, then the moment he steps on to this bridge it becomes at the same time a bridge between the system and the individual as a component of the system. That is, if ideology originally facilitated (by acting outwardly) the constitution […]

THE WORLD IS WATCHING FERGUSON…

October 24th, 2014

This internal thread concerning events in and about Ferguson, Missouri, is stuck to the top of the blog, newer, less vital, posts appear below. Meanwhile, comments on PZ Myers’ Good Morning, America now exceed 1,600… An excessive police response to protests in Ferguson, Missouri, over the death of an unarmed 18-year-old earlier this year ran […]

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: PART V A…

October 23rd, 2014

WE HAVE seen that the real meaning of the greengrocer’s slogan has nothing to do with what the text of the slogan actually says. Even so, this real meaning is quite clear and generally comprehensible because the code is so familiar: the greengrocer declares his loyalty (and he can do no other if his declaration […]

RALPH NADER RIGHTS ON KASICH AND ROLDO…

October 22nd, 2014

Governor John Kasich State of Ohio Riffe Center, 30th Floor 77 South High Street Columbus, OH 43215-6117 Dear Governor Kasich: I have recently been reading articles describing your compassionate conservatism as compared with the more hard-bitten practices of your Republican colleagues. You seem to have a genuine concern for some of the plights of the […]

KNOWING TO DO THE NEXT RIGHT ACTION…

October 22nd, 2014

[T]he potential uses of checklists in everyday life—a list for holiday packing, say, or for getting the kids out of the house every morning (there are hundreds of examples at checklists.com) – aren’t usually matters of life and death. But they are similar in this respect: the idea of making a checklist is so stupidly […]

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: PART IV C…

October 22nd, 2014

The post-totalitarian system touches people at every step, but it does so with its ideological gloves on. This is why life in the system is so thoroughly permeated with hypocrisy and lies: government by bureaucracy is called popular government; the working class is enslaved in the name of the working class; the complete degradation of […]

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: PART IV B…

October 21st, 2014

Ideology, in creating a bridge of excuses between the system and the individual, spans the abyss between the aims of the system and the aims of life. It pretends that the requirements of the system derive from the requirements of life. It is a world of appearances trying to pass for reality. From The Power […]

WORK HARD TO BE THE BEST YOU CAN BE…

October 20th, 2014

[d]emystifying passion “is liberating. It frees you from obsession over whether you are doing the ‘right’ thing with your life,” says Cal Newport. Almost any interest “can be transformed into a passion with hard work, so there’s no reason to sweat choices such as [a university degree] or your first post-college career.” If you’re fortunate […]

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: PART IV A…

October 20th, 2014

BETWEEN the aims of the post-totalitarian system and the aims of life there is a yawning abyss: while life, in its essence, moves toward plurality, diversity, independent self-constitution, and self organization, in short, toward the fulfillment of its own freedom, the post-totalitarian system demands conformity, uniformity, and discipline. While life ever strives to create new […]

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: PART III C…

October 19th, 2014

The smaller a dictatorship and the less stratified by modernization the society under it, the more directly the will of the dictator can be exercised. In other words, the dictator can employ more or less naked discipline, avoiding the complex processes of relating to the world and of self-justification which ideology involves. But the more […]

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: IIIB…

October 18th, 2014

Ideology is a specious way of relating to the world. It offers human beings the illusion of an identity, of dignity, and of morality while making it easier for them to part with them. As the repository of something suprapersonal and objective, it enables people to deceive their conscience and conceal their true position and […]

OHIO COAL THRIVES UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA…

October 17th, 2014

As angry bipartisan crowds of Ohio politicians gather to defend “our coal jobs” from the US EPA’s proposed new rules for coal power plants, it’s worth noting just how many jobs we’re talking about. Yes, those are the actual numbers—no zeros have been omitted. (It’s off topic, but note the increase in Ohio coal employment […]

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: PART III B…

October 17th, 2014

Let us take note: if the greengrocer had been instructed to display the slogan “I am afraid and therefore unquestioningly obedient,” he would not be nearly as indifferent to its semantics, even though the statement would reflect the truth. The greengrocer would be embarrassed and ashamed to put such an unequivocal statement of his own […]

OUR FANTASIES SAP OUR MOTIVATION…

October 16th, 2014

[P]icturing an imaginary glass of water might make people less motivated to get up and head to the watercooler or the tap in order to quench their real, non-imaginary thirst. This conclusion is precisely the reverse of one of the central tenets of pop psychology: the idea that picturing the future you desire makes it […]

VISITING THE WHITENESS PROJECT

October 16th, 2014

The Whiteness Project is a multiplatform investigation into how Americans who identify as “white” experience their ethnicity. The project is conducting 1,000 interviews with white people from all walks of life and localities in which they are asked about their relationship to, and their understanding of, their own whiteness. It also includes data drawn from […]

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: PART III A…

October 16th, 2014

THE MANAGER of a fruit-and-vegetable shop places in his window, among the onions and carrots, the slogan: “Workers of the world, unite!” Why does he do it? What is he trying to communicate to the world? Is he genuinely enthusiastic about the idea of unity among the workers of the world? Is his enthusiasm so […]

ROLDO RIGHTS ON SERIOUSLY PLAIN DEALER…?

October 15th, 2014

Just how often do you get really angry with the Plain Dealer? I guess I’ve made an obsession with it over the years. Last Sunday provided another example of why. I’m talking about the sports section of the Sunday PD. Twenty page of sports in a town that so badly needs space for real news […]

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: PART II G…

October 15th, 2014

The profound difference between our system—in terms of the nature of power—and what we traditionally understand by dictatorship, a difference I hope is clear even from this quite superficial comparison, has caused me to search for some term appropriate for our system, purely for the purposes of this essay. If I refer to it henceforth […]

ROLDO RIGHTS ON A SALES-TAX VACATION:
A TAX BREAK FOR THE LOWER ECONOMIC PEOPLE…

October 14th, 2014

If I were a politician today there are two things I would promote in Cleveland and Ohio. First, a state-wide raise in the minimum wage. If not, a push for city-wide minimum wage hikes. Where are Cleveland politicians? Second, I’d call for a temporary vacation or permanent decrease in the state’s sales tax. If there […]

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: PART II F…

October 14th, 2014

Finally, if an atmosphere of revolutionary excitement, heroism, dedication, and boisterous violence on all sides characterizes classical dictatorships, then the last traces of such an atmosphere have vanished from the Soviet bloc. For some time now this bloc has ceased to be a kind of enclave, isolated from the rest of the developed world and […]

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