• Walter Lippmann’s critique of democracy revisited

    Walter Lippmann’s critique of democracy revisited

    Walter Lippmann’s Public Opinion, published in 1922, is the most persuasive critique of democracy I’ve ever read. Shortly after it was published, John Dewey, the great defender of democracy and the most important American philosopher of the era, called Lippmann’s book “the most effective indictment of democracy as currently conceived.” Lippmann poses a straightforward question: […]

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  • The Brutal Mirror

    The Brutal Mirror

    When I finally puked on the fourth night, I felt an odd sense of pride. Inside the loud, stuffy ceremony room, people were laughing, crying, chanting, gyrating, and, yes, vomiting, around me. When my time finally comes, I think: Just aim for the bucket and keep your ass above your head like the shaman told […]

  • 20 of America’s top political scientists gathered to discuss our democracy. They’re scared.

    20 of America’s top political scientists gathered to discuss our democracy. They’re scared.

    “Democracies don’t fall apart — they’re taken apart”

  • Why Buddhism is true: Robert Wright on the wisdom of mindfulness meditation

    Robert Wright, the best-selling author of The Moral Animal and The Evolution of God, has written a new book titled Why Buddhism is True. Don’t be put off by the audacious title, though. Wright isn’t proselytizing or implying that other religions are false. This is, instead, a light, accessible guide for anyone interested in the […]

  • A Princeton sociologist spent 8 years asking rural Americans why they’re so pissed off

    Robert Wuthnow, a sociologist at Princeton University, spent eight years interviewing Americans in small towns across the country. He had one goal: to understand why rural America is so angry with Washington. Wuthnow’s work resulted in a new book, The Left Behind: Decline and Rage in Rural America. He argues that rural Americans are less […]