Category Archives: Politics and Political Theory

Don’t worry, Emily Bazelon, you’re wrong

It’s hard to explain why Emily Bazelon’s New York Times Magazine article, sarcastically titled “Free Speech Will Save Our Democracy,” bothers me, so let me start here: Hannah Arendt was not a political philosopher.  Hannah Arendt was a political theorist. … Continue reading

Posted in Politics and Political Theory, propaganda | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“A Means of State Control” (Part Two)

In the first part of this post I dismantled the consensus definition of propaganda, arguing that in part and in total “propaganda” is indistinguishable from any other form of political expression.  The only obvious distinguishing aspect between the two definitions … Continue reading

Posted in Politics and Political Theory, propaganda, Public Diplomacy | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

“A Means of State Control”

The Origins of Propaganda (Part One)   The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum held an exhibition titled “State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda” in Washington, D.C., from 2009 and 2011.  This dramatic collection of German National Socialist state … Continue reading

Posted in Politics and Political Theory, Public Diplomacy | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Garry Wills’ Qur’an (Part One)

Is Islam as American as apple pie?  Both are early imports from Asia Minor – Islam from the Arabian Peninsula by way of Africa and Iberia, apples from southern Kazakhstan by way of Europe – that have grown deep roots … Continue reading

Posted in Book Reviews, Books, Politics and Political Theory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Secret History of Small Mercies

The most devastating scene in The Lives of Others, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s 2007 film about the East German Stasi, comes near the end when the playwright, played by Sebastian Koch, pulls the wire taps out of his walls of … Continue reading

Posted in Book Reviews, Politics and Political Theory | Leave a comment

Belief from the inside out

Carla Power’s Pulitizer Prize-shortlisted If the Oceans Were Ink, an outsider’s meditation on The Holy Qur’an with the help of a learned Islamic scholar, signals a subtle but seismic shift in our intellectual world.  It joins other unmistakable indications that mostly secular Western … Continue reading

Posted in Book Reviews, Books, Politics and Political Theory, Public Diplomacy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Joan Didion, Californian

Joan Didion seized my attention early, before I wrote for myself.  Assigned “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” in high school, I read with amazement her cool, detached descriptions of things I recognized growing up in California.  I graduated quickly to “The White … Continue reading

Posted in Book Reviews, Books, Politics and Political Theory, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What matters most

A recent opinion article by Roger Cohen about a book and polling data demonstrating a gulf in transatlantic public opinion struck me as a windy but representative example of the unnecessary polarization in our political debate.  We find more visceral examples of this bifurcated outrage … Continue reading

Posted in Politics and Political Theory | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Patent Omission

A recent story by the Planet Money team at NPR posed the question: what would happen to business and innovation if there were no patents? For those who don’t follow the rise and flow of intellectual property law, this has been a … Continue reading

Posted in Politics and Political Theory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Russia and the Information Purification Directives

What we are witnessing in Russia and parts of Ukraine has been unprecedented since the consolidation of control after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 , (I hesitate with this historical analogy) the collapse of the Weimar Republic, and the occupation … Continue reading

Posted in Politics and Political Theory, Public Diplomacy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment