Santorum Picks Up On Romney-Paul Arrangement

By: Saturday February 25, 2012 4:00 pm

Six weeks ago, back when Romney seemed ascendant, Jon Walker commented that Mitt Romney would do well to be very, very nice to Ron Paul, as Paul holds Romney’s fate in his hands.


Pull Up a Chair

By: Saturday October 15, 2011 5:00 am

Let’s talk this morning about old friends and new, real and virtual. Pull up a chair…

Real True Grit

By: Sunday July 24, 2011 9:40 am

The American myth of the rugged, self-sufficient individual is ever-present in our culture. Think of Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name, a character based on the nameless “Continental Op” of Dashiell Hammett’s noir thriller, Red Harvest. The characters abandon the very concept of community. They no longer even want a name that could be known by others.

The myth, of course, is just a fictionalized reflection of a belief held by many Americans: the self-contained individual is all. The furtherance of individual liberty, with little regard for the fate of the community at large, is the only legitimate role of government. The belief comes with magical thinking (or cynical slight-of-hand) that unrestrained selfishness will produce more for all than selflessness, altruism, or compassion.

Charles Portis’s True Grit and the 2010 film version by the Coen Brothers turn the myth on its head.

Respect for the Reader: Where the Hope Is

By: Sunday July 17, 2011 9:30 am

Somewhere over my computer screen is a modest group of thoughtful, worried, anxious and maybe hopeful folk who happened upon these words by choice or accident. Writers, communicating from a distance, have a moral responsibility to imagine their readers as individual embodied beings with their own histories, victories, challenges and tragedies.

A good writer’s motto: There are stories in readers’ eyes that are more poignant than your own.

Aristotle and the Cyberpoke

By: Sunday January 2, 2011 9:30 am

I’m partial to the desert mountains of West Texas, but on my frequent visits out here I’m always surprised – and touched – by the strong spirit of friendship and community that marks the place. “Friendship holds political communities together,” said Aristotle, and he was on to something. American political culture has deteriorated as the [...]

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Deanna Zandt, Share This!

By: Sunday June 27, 2010 2:00 pm

Long before she wrote Share This!: How You Will Change the World with Social Networking, Deanna Zandt was my social networking guru. Of course, I had the benefit of being her friend, so I was privy to her frequent and useful insights on the value of joining Twitter, Foursquare and Facebook, and the most effective ways to use these technologies to promote my ideas and my activism. It was Deanna who convinced me that it benefits your activism to humanize yourself on social networks, and even that you can really spread information far and wide 140 characters at a time. So I have to start off by saying: you rule, Deanna! Your guidance has been invaluable to me.

Down With (Micro) Tyranny!

By: Sunday August 2, 2009 9:36 am

We hurt the cause of democracy when we lord it over others. We become micro-tyrants, and we discourage, demoralize and dehumanize our victims, then wonder why they don’t engage in politics. Time to break the habit.

Friendship and Freedom

By: Sunday July 26, 2009 9:30 am

Friendship challenges inequality. It’s time friendship was rescued from private life and returned to the public sphere. We can then become what the authoritarians are afraid of.

Is Friendship Passe in Politics?

By: Sunday July 13, 2008 10:00 am

Democracy and friendship arise from the same ethical root: responsibility for one another.

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