Bill Maher vs Bill Kristol: Is the Tea Party Racist?

During a Facebook conversation in the wake of Bill Kristol’s appearance on Bill Maher, one of my Frisbee buddies liked my take on the Tea Party. I reposted it on Bill Maher’s page. I think it’s a huge mistake to dismiss the Tea Party as bunch of racist buffoons. It may be easy to get a laugh by playing on caricatures of demon racists, but you overlook the real meaning and threats of the movement when you do so. There’s no denying that racist buffoons have appeared under the Tea Party tent. So have scores of Bible-thumping fanatics … Continue reading →

We the People

The aspiration embodied in the statement “We the people” cast a long shadow in American and human history. William O. Douglas was very savvy in using the term “penumbras” to describe the extension of rights delineated in the Bill of Rights. That same extensive power fortifies the American and now global tradition of demanding the power and legitimacy of self-government. “We” is an expressly inclusive word, and a potent tool for those who are seeking to excise vestigial legacies of exclusion. In response to a thread on Facebook. … Continue reading →

Creationism and American Exceptionalism

Shelby Steele’s recent article on American Exceptionalism snared me into a long thread on Facebook that wandered off to an entirely different point about religiosity and creationism. It’s probably my fault. The link is here, though I can’t be sure who’ll be able to see it. I ended up looking at a video of a lecture by Susan Haack, my favorite modern philosopher. Unfortunately, the sound is horrible. … Continue reading →