Social Criticism

Social Criticism


American Values: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

American values July 19th, 2018

Why is the tragically stupid effort at separating asylum seekers and folks trying to cross the border illegally now a thing? What does it say about America? What have our values been in the past, and what should the wise person make of that? What are America’s real values? This blog is about the fraying social fabric and the society-wide cognitive dissonance it accompanies. I am trying to really understand what full scope of American values are. Here is a taste: “I’ve recently been thinking and writing about the growing fragmentation of the social compact, of whatever it was this country had ever meant when it called itself a democracy: the shredding of the vision of government of the people, by the people, for the people” ~ Adrienne Rich.

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Mental Illness is Also a Social Problem

July 3rd, 2018

I just watched a neat program, “The Face of Evil”, hosted by a journalist I like, Chris Cuomo. In the episode, he interviewed a notorious murderer he grew up fairly close to in New York, Jeremy Rifkin. About this horiffic form of mental illness, Cuomo said, “Cases like Rifkin’s have stuck with me, leaving me to question how such a thing could occur. What makes someone who looks and acts like the rest of us most of the time, suddenly turn into a monster?” I see the positive values of love, magnanimity, optimism, and honor, but am also fascinated by how things can go so awry in a human heart and mind. When suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in a society and gun violence is on the rise, there is a significant problem. In this blog, I want to examine mental illness, focusing especially on “social disease” such as sociopathy, suicide, and mass shootings.

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Is MLK’s Dream of Social Justice Actually Possible?

social justice June 25th, 2018

It might sound odd or indefensible to claim that Martin Luther King Jr.’s wonderful speech known as “I Have a Dream” was determined by MLK to be more of a nightmare than a dream of peace and tranquility. In fact, if you think about it, the phrase “the American dream” refers not to racial or social justice, but striking it rich. Indeed, American values (the dark ones) dashed King’s buoyant optimism present when he wrote about his dream, and he knew this before he died. Will social justice and racial integration ever be realized? Your guess is as good as mine.

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Social Criticism and Unvarnished Truth

social criticism June 17th, 2018

I sometimes get a bit of pushback or disapproval from a friend who finds me to be too critical, perfectionistic, negative, and judgmental about politics, economics, and America in general. He tells me to relax, and de-focus, because a) life sucks when you are in a dark place, and b) America is and always has been mostly good. In other words, he is saying that yes, we have our problems here, but why dwell on those; there are so many positive and just and progressive and hopeful things about this country that could just as easily be considered. That’s fair enough, as far as it goes. This blog is about social criticism and the spirit of American political liberalism/progressivism. From the Vietnam War era “love it or leave it!” to culture warrior Ann Coulter’s belief that liberals are cowardly foolish traitors to America, the question is whether America is above reproach, or rightfully deserves a cold, hard look (as always, for the purposes of making this country better). My belief is not simply that “We are the best country in the world!” but rather We have more potential than any nation in history, so why are we so unimpressively selfish, ignorant, reckless, warlike, materialistic, distractible, misled, and tribal?

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50 Random & Interesting Quotes About Values

interesting quotes about values May 28th, 2018

Values of the Wise features 30,000+ interesting quotes about values, and they keep coming! Every week I’m reading, discussing, learning, copying, recording, and the like. This ongoing effort is the fountainhead from which all these diverse and compelling quotations come.

What words describe the following interesting quotes about values and wisdom? Diverse. Unique. Little-known. Classic. Liberal. Trenchant. Controversial. Transcultural. Apt.

It is my hope that you will appreciate these challenging but interesting quotes about values, and use the quotations database I call The Wisdom Archive to customize your search for more!

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Christian Capitalism and American Ignorance

Christian May 24th, 2018

Did you know that 55% of Americans believe that Christianity was written into the Constitution and that the founding fathers wanted One Nation Under Jesus (which includes 75% of Republicans and Evangelicals) (USA Today)? It is true that Puritan pilgrims came here seeking religious freedom, and that today we are one of the most religious of industrialized nations. But the fact that the vast majority of Americans think we are and are supposed to be “a Christian nation” is disconcerting, for two reasons. One, we certainly are not; America has slowly come to accept that religious pluralism and toleration and separation of church and state are ideals worth striving for. Some of the founding fathers were deistic and not particularly religious. But perhaps even more so, how can we be considered a Christian nation when we have this level of political chicanery, poverty, militarism, materialism, and greed? Those counter-ideals are literally antithetical to the message we believe Jesus was trying to convey during his brief time on Earth. This is a blog about the ignorance many Americans have, and even court.

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Modern American Problems Reflected in Poetry

modern American problems May 13th, 2018

There is a multitude of complex modern American problems, I think we can all agree. I was listening to a song the other day (which is essentially poetry set to music, is it not?), and I was overwhelmed by the idea that a song written in probably 1980 was alarmingly prophetic. Then I reflected that Neil Peart, lyricist of the rock group Rush, is uncanny in his ability to communicate meaningful and pithy messages in just a few short words (that can be successfully put to incredible music, no less!). So in this blog, I share a few opinions about modern American problems and reflect them off of the clear mirror of poetry and lyrics. The poet’s words are set off in dark blue.

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Environmental Sustainability: Our Top Priority

environmental sustainability April 21st, 2018

Environmental sustainability should be humankind’s top priority, but it clearly is not. Though it is obviously only one of many priorities and goals for individuals in competitive societies, it’s “game over” if pollution makes the planet unsafe. Even worse, it’s “game over, you are a bunch of losers” if we fail to heed the loud and clear reports by legitimate scientists about climate change caused by human activity. Without environmental sustainability, we will all be too sick to pursue other goals such as creativity, social justice, values such as peace and family, and ultimately, wisdom. Here is a brief call to action. 

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Income Inequality: Right or Wrong?

income inequality April 7th, 2018

Thomas Piketty, a French economist, made a big splash in 2014 with his book Capital in the 21st Century. It piqued my interest in regard to social justice. Specifically, social mobility, status quo, and economic freedom. I believe that America has a serious issue with wealth inequality, and income inequality, and has for quite some time. We are now less of a socially-mobile society than many countries in Europe are. Cross that with some of the standard of living/life satisfaction measures in which Europe and a few other countries do well, and you have a fairly grim assessment of the United States. Here are some thoughts on income inequality by Thomas Piketty.

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Quotes About Wisdom and Values in Full Color!

quotes about wisdom March 29th, 2018

In the last decade, “memes” have become very popular on social media. Memes are graphic images with a very small amount of text. They can be funny, trenchant, pithy, provocative and catchy. I have made a number of memes, and I do so with a bit more wording, and really consider them to represent wisdom and value. In this blog which features quotes about wisdom, I show some of the memes I have made over the last year or two, and point out how the quotes about wisdom and values depicted can really be made engaging and thought-provoking when coupled with graphic imagery. Enjoy!

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