G.K. Chesterton and the machinery of bigotry


G.K. Chesterton was a brilliant man with a nimble wit. He had education, Jesus, and a sense of humor — three things that it seems out to preclude crude prejudice and hate. Yet instead of allowing these things to rescue him, Chesterton turned his formidable intellect, religious fervor and wit to the service of an ugly and obsessive anti-Semitism. We need to learn from that, because the lies Chesterton told himself in service of the idea that the world had a “Jewish problem” are precisely the same lies that white America has been telling itself for centuries to maintain the idea that we have a black problem. [Read more...]

A ‘Yankee abolitionist holiday’


“This theatrical national claptrap of Thanksgiving … has aided other causes in setting thousands of pulpits to preaching ‘Christian politics’ instead of humbly letting the carnal Kingdom alone and preaching singly Christ crucified.” So said Virginia Gov. Henry A. Wise in 1856, preaching a “non-political” religion that was utterly and completely political. [Read more...]

State lotteries and truth in advertising


State lotteries are exempt from truth-in-advertising laws. And this, I think, offers some promise for changing the politics of state lotteries. This is a way of taking them on without prompting a defensive response from either entrenched constituency — the Losers or the Free-loaders. We don’t attack the lotteries themselves, we attack their exemption from truth-in-advertising laws. [Read more...]

There is no spoon. There are no facts. There is no truth. Here’s what it looks like when you trade reality for power.


The Liar Tony Perkins provides yet another illustration of what David Roberts calls “postmodern conservatism,” the ideology that denies “the very notion of a nonpartisan arbiter of information” and therefore says that “every dispute, even over matters of fact, becomes a contest of power — loudest, best-funded, most persistent voices win.” [Read more...]

What was the deal with Pa. Gov. Tom Corbett?

One-term Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett. (AP photo by Gene J. Puskar)

Pennsylvania’s electorate contradicted itself yesterday. If it was right to reject Tom Corbett, then it was wrong to reinforce the Corbett agenda by increasing the Corbett majority in the state legislature. If it was right to strengthen the Republican hold on the state legislature, then it was wrong to vilify Tom Corbett. [Read more...]

Data collection is creepy, even when its mainly data hoarding


In theory, Comcast could have an incredibly detailed demographic dossier on our household. But when it comes to mining that data for any apparent purpose, they don’t even seem to have a grasp on the basic geography they could learn from our billing address. We get ads for political candidates in other states and for restaurant chains that don’t have any franchises in our region. We get ads for diapers and baby care products and motorcycle insurance. [Read more...]

Actually, it’s about …


Laughing at bullies, oppressors, and the pompous defenders of injustice is almost never sufficient. It may not even be necessary. But I think it helps. And anyway, it’s funny. [Read more...]

Evangelicals notice predatory lending, agree it’s Bad


The first Good Thing about the NAE’s resolution against predatory lending is that it gives members of the white evangelical tribe permission to be against predatory lending. It tells them that this is an issue on which they are allowed to view government action and legal regulation favorably, and that this is an issue on which they are permitted to agree with liberals without risking demerits on their permanent record. [Read more...]