Notes on Political Polarization

  I spent a good amount of time this summer attempting to answer the following question: What causes societies with normal/expected ideology distributions -- represented by the green curve shown in Figure 1 -- to become polarized enough to fit the blue curve over time? While I don't yet have a model that's prepared to... Continue Reading →

The Border Patrol Is An Unaccountable Boy’s Club

In the year 2012, 79% of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employees were men. Even on its own, I found this statistic to be striking; though it became particularly so when viewed within the context of a government report listing employee demographics across agencies, wherein one finds that males make up just over half the federal workforce generally.... Continue Reading →

On Domestic Authoritarianism

In case you haven’t noticed, a breakaway faction of the Republican party is currently enjoying its day in the political sun here in the U.S. And for those of us who value the continued existence of our constitutional system, and democracy at large, things have seemed, well… more than a little bit bleak, in recent... Continue Reading →

The Most Important Political Divisions In 2018

These lines of nonpartisan political division separate American citizens into three categories: Hobbits, Hooligans, and Vulcans (Brennan, 2016). Political philosopher Jason Brennan first articulated these categories in his 2016 book Against Democracy, and here, I loosely employ the concept to help illustrate how American citizens, as political agents, fall in terms of their potential to be serious... Continue Reading →

Defense Against The Dark Arts

I remember watching Disney movies with my two kid brothers, back when I was just a little boy. I loved those films, and think about them fondly to this day. The thing that I remember most about them, though, was that my favorite part of each was not the soundtrack, or the humor, or even... Continue Reading →

Is America Immune To Dictatorship?

Fundamentally, the most significant difference between Democracies and Dictatorships is the concept of the separation of powers, as defined by a nation's system of political "checks and balances" on executive authority. In observing the process of democratic breakdown within once-democratic nations throughout history, it is clear that the ability of each nation to curtail the... Continue Reading →

Mitt Romney Should Primary Trump In 2020

Partially in service of maintaining my own reputation, and partly because it’s the truth, I’ve fallen into the habit of characterizing my family as “Mitt Romney Republicans” when describing their political beliefs. That's because my parents— like many other God-fearing Republicans — recently arrived at the woeful realization that the political tent they once called home has been uprooted, and is... Continue Reading →

The Senate Is a Bullshit Institution

Given the sheer volume of radioactive political waste currently flooding the American body politic, I find it is increasingly tempting to settle for a kind of lazy criticism of the whole charade. Simply put, the experience of having your basic sensibilities exist in a state of perennial assault – day in and day out, by... Continue Reading →

Slate Takes the Bait

Sigh, okay. Here goes —  I am about to attempt something genuinely radical, folks. It’s going to require some “nuance”, yes, and some critical thinking – on both my part and yours. Because, dear reader, I am about to assume the heretical role of defending an accused sexual assaulter, on the heels of an article... Continue Reading →

Thou Shalt Not Lie

It's not as if I actually needed more evidence that the bible-thumping, God-fearing, fire-and-brimstone slinging ideologues of the American Right have never had a moral leg to stand on. But the allegations surrounding Senate-hopeful/Creepy Uncle Roy Moore - and worse, the evangelical response to these allegations -  rid my mind of all remaining doubt. We're... Continue Reading →

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