Society is often viewed as the sum of its parts. For example, in The Republic, Plato creates the most virtuous regime, but it depends entirely upon the maintenance of the virtue of each individual citizen. This relationship, however, is not so one-dimensional, for the qualities of the broader society also undoubtedly affect the individuals which make up its foundation.
In the era of Fox News's growing popularity, it is no surprise that the U.S. is suffering from a blurring of the distinction between rhetoric and fact. Television, radio, and even print news are all under the grips of their political persuasions.
Last weekend, the Bowdoin Ultimate Frisbee Team traveled into enemy territory?Waterville, Maine?to play at Sectionals. The tournament began on Saturday with clouds and storms moving in, foreboding signs indeed. Much like the weekend, "Stoned Clown" began with some disturbances of its own.
If you're lucky, you read the Orient last week and caught my colleague Ben Peisch's column, "Saving society from the seven deadly sins." In response to my complaint that the President's social security plan "has no safeguard for hubris," Peisch suggested that by that logic, government ought to take up complete moral responsibility for Americans.
The Associated Press recently reported that a survey of cell phone users revealed some shocking results. It turns out that six in ten cell phone users find it annoying to be in the presence of other cell phone users. Nonetheless, eight in ten users find cell phones to be "convenient," a boon to their busy lives.
Hear that? That's the sound of the air rushing out of Bush's privatization scheme for Social Security. After barnstorming the country with friends and allies, the Administration is starting to realize that ripping up a popular, successful government program isn't quite as easy as cutting through Hussein's Republican Guard. This time, the rhetoric just doesn't seem to be sticking.
His approach to racial identity is intriguing. What does it mean to be African-American, if not simply to share a common skin pigmentation? Is it simply a cosmetic characteristic? Does it have actual political implications? Is it determined by historical forces and tradition? No one person has all the answers to these questions, and as a young Caucasian, I am certainly not eminently qualified to comment on how it feels to be African-American.
It is a laughable shame that so many Americans know so little about the world that they live in. What's even more concerning, however, is how this translates into actions. Anyone who has been abroad recently knows that anti-Americanism is on the rise, and that the stereotype of the "boorish," "ignorant," or even "ugly" American can be found nearly anywhere.
Last weekend millions of Americans utilized their inalienable right to property. They stockpiled and consumed enormous quantities of food and alcohol while using incredible amounts of energy to power their sound, entertainment, and climate control systems. I watched the Super Bowl, and it hurt.
Given the preparations being made to gut the Social Security system and the still-precarious situation in Iraq, I've been wondering how President Bush II will be remembered decades from now. Will history be kind? What will be his legacy?
The pro-life movement has largely converted into an anti-abortion crusade; it lacks a broader view of the political terrain. On the other hand, the pro-choice faction runs the risk of defending the procedure itself with only slight concern for the often terrible implications.
So John Kerry lost. Pundits, conservatives, and liberals alike have spent the last week and a half trudging through the Democrats' failure to attract conservative "cultural voters." Maybe it's the latent Howard Dean supporter in me that refuses to die, but I find the recent moderating talk from fellow liberals infuriating.
This year, as usual, the Republican Party returned to its old battle cries. One, in particular, always gets me: there is nothing more damning for a politician to fall into than the "tax-and-spend" big-government liberal category. It's an enormous political anchor that need not be accompanied by actual facts; public perception will suffice.
While it's clear that Kerry is far from a passionate Sox fan, Peisch ignores a host of facts which paint a completely different picture. A little investigation by this Tigers fan shows that if baseball and politics must be mixed, the Republican Party is very much the party of the Yankees.
Anyone who watched Wednesday's debate will undoubtedly have been struck by the prominence played by faith in both John Kerry's and George W. Bush's answers. Since religion has been a point of contention in American politics since the nation's inception and before, it should come as no surprise that each trotted out his respective credentials as far as piety is concerned.
Campaigns have grown to the point where they pander to TV news formatting, speaking in one-line sound bites and engaging in outrageous attacks to attract attention. To some extent, the biggest challenge is to gain the maximum quantity of exposure, whether it is positive or negative.
In any relationship between authority and the masses, between institutions and individuals, it is highly likely that the interaction will develop some antagonistic characteristics. Above all, the elements of any institution dedicated to the protection and moderation of its members will undoubtedly cause friction with those who they are intended to protect. Take, for example, Bowdoin Security.
In the months leading up to this year's presidential election, almost nothing has been discussed as often as John Kerry's ability to balance criticism of President Bush with the maintenance of his patriotic image.