Themes that Go Together; Nonexistent Gods

NYT, Paul Krugman, 12 Sept 2022: Ukraine Deflates MAGA Macho Myths

Ukraine is advancing over the Russians, despite the Russian army being more to the liking of the MAGA crowd than the “woke” American military.


Politico, Gary Fineout, 13 Sept 2022: DeSantis uses federal cash to bolster his agenda

Despite the fact that Republicans all voted against the American Rescue Plan that they are now taking credit for. They’ve done this before. (See my post four days ago.)


NYT, Jamelle Bouie, 13 Sept 2022: It Is a Well-Known Truth That Opponents of Democracy Don’t Want You to Have Nice Things

Expanding on a point from an earlier essay that “today’s opponents of democracy are driven by an opposition to the ‘more equitable distribution of wealth and status, which a robust democracy — and only a robust democracy — makes possible.’ ”


NYT, Sean Illing and Zac Gershberg, 13 Sept 2022: The Greatest Threat to Democracy Is a Feature of Democracy

“The paradox of democracy,” that while freedom of speech is necessary for democracy, it also makes society, especially given the latest media, more susceptible “to demagoguery, distraction, and spectacle.” (The writers’ book.)


Gregory Feeley (SF writer and college instructor) on Facebook, 13 Sept 2022: I had a sobering Basic Comp class today.

He has his students read an essay about the upcoming Midterm Election.

Alas, the students did not understand one thing about it. None of them knew what “Midterms” are, few seemed to know that in every election a third of the senators’ and all of the Representatives’ terms are up, whether the president’s is or not. They did not know the word “referendum” or adduce its meaning from context.

(The essay is this one by Nate Cohn, subscriber-only.)


On a similar note,

Salon, Chauncey DeVega, 12 Sept 2022: Scholar who saw all this coming: Americans “do not really understand liberal democracy”, subtitled “Shawn Rosenberg predicted the ‘inexorable decline’ of democracy in 2019. But he still thinks it’s not too late”

Because too many people are indifferent (or supportive of) Trump and his insurgency mob. The dangers of “right-wing populism and other illiberal forces”. Long interview.


Anti-LGBTQ Group Ranks Florida First In Education


51% Of FL 10th Graders Fail English Proficiency Exam

The “anti-LGBTQ” in question in the Heritage Foundation, and the results are because they are much more concerned about parental control and “transparency” in education, than they are with actual academic results.


Right Wing Watch, Kyle Mantya, 12 Sept 2022: Mike Lindell Is Bankrolling White Nationalist Christian Fascist Vincent James, via Lindell Bankrolls “Death To Gays” White Nationalist”


Look at the themes that seem always to go together: election denial; being anti-science; being anti-gay; anti-abortion; prone to conspiracy theorizing. And religious extremism.


Jerry Coyne, 12 Sept 2022: Mencken on nonexistent gods

Mencken was a famous early-20th century journalist and curmudgeon. This has been said many times before, but perhaps he did it first. I’ll quote just a bit, to get the gist.


All these were once gods of the highest eminence. Many of them are mentioned with fear and trembling in the Old Testament. They ranked, five or six thousand years ago, with Jahveh himself; the worst of them stood far higher than Thor. Yet they have all gone down the chute…

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