Category Archives: Media + Politics

Reality Wars: Measuring the Collective Mental Health of a Nation

As a nation, we are fighting several “reality wars” at once. These wars are not only political, but deeply psychological. As a result, our collective mental health as a nation is being severely challenged and tested. Since language is the primary means we use to describe and invent reality, the language a nation uses to frame and treat important issues is a measure, however imperfect, of its mental health. Continue reading

Posted in Blog, Media + Politics, Psychology | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Constant War Within: My Daily Struggle Between Reason and Unreason

Like many Americans, I suffer from a constant tug of war going on deep inside of me. On the one hand, I believe deeply in reason and scholarship. Why else would I have been a professor my entire life and currently be working on my 30th book? I also believe deeply in tolerance and forgiveness. On the other hand, I feel the constant surge of anger, and even hate, that pulses through me daily. It’s not politic to say that one hates certain ideas and people — I fervently wish it weren’t so — but in the spirit of honesty, which I prize, I can’t deny it. Continue reading

Posted in Blog, Media + Politics | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Quick! What’s My Disease?

During his time in office, President George W. Bush gave a new meaning to the awful disease known as IBS. I called it Irritable Bush Syndrome, the gross inability to “digest and pass the truth.” In the same spirit, let me “offer” the “list of diseases” that the current crop of Republican candidates suffers from. Continue reading

Posted in Blog, Media + Politics | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Can This Political Marriage Be Saved? Should It?

The view that “politics is akin to a marriage” is a casual, if not an often-expressed, sentiment. Unfortunately, almost no one takes the metaphor seriously and thus uses it to do a serious evaluation of the state of health of American politics. If we did, we would soon conclude that the “marriage” between the two major political parties is headed towards divorce, if it is not already there but for the working out of the final terms of the divorce settlement and the formal signing of the papers. Continue reading

Posted in Blog, Media + Politics | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Too Close for Comfort: Agonizing Similarities Between Penn State and the Catholic Church

The scandal that has emerged from Penn State in the past few weeks is a grotesque example of child abuse. What is even more disturbing are the agonizing similarities between this scandal and those that have come out of the Catholic Church. Penn State is not only judged in terms of all the things it did wrong in handling its repeated episodes of child abuse, but it is the direct inheritor of everything the Church did wrong. In short, Penn State has been made worse because of prior cases of abuse. Continue reading

Posted in Blog, Crisis Management, Media + Politics | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Needed: A Marshall Plan for America

In 1948, the U.S. spent 28 Billion dollars to help rebuild Europe after the ravages of World War II. It was called the Marshall Plan after Secretary of State George Marshall who proposed it. Given that virtually all of our current systems are broken, doesn’t the U.S. deserve its own Marshall Plan to help rebuild America? Continue reading

Posted in Blog, Media + Politics | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Gap Between the Size of Our Problems and the Narrowness of Our Thinking

Increasingly, on every front of our existence, from the environment to the global economy, health care, the fight against terrorism, etc., we are confronted with messes of ever greater and growing complexity. And yet, essentially none of our basic systems (educational, economic, public and private) have prepared, allowed, and rewarded people to cope with and to manage messes. As a consequence, the gap between the size of our problems and the narrowness of our thinking grows daily. Continue reading

Posted in Media + Politics, Psychology | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Psychology of Extremism

It is not possible to understand fully why moderates are no longer welcome within the Republican Party — indeed why for all practical purposes the Party has been completely taken over by extremists — in conventional terms alone. To understand what fuels extremism — in short, the psychology underlying it — one has to dig beneath the surface of everyday explanations. This is precisely why the pioneering discoveries of some of the early giants of psychoanalysis are invaluable. Continue reading

Posted in Blog, Media + Politics, Psychology | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

It’s a Grim Day for Our Children

The recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in striking down California’s law prohibiting children under the age of 18 from purchasing violent video games is a travesty. It perpetuates harm on the most vulnerable members of society by means of a complete misunderstanding and ignorance of child development. It is based on a profound misunderstanding of fairy tales. Continue reading

Posted in Blog, Media + Politics, Psychology, Sociology | Leave a comment

If Mr. Rogers Were President: We Need Him More Than Ever

When it came to understanding and communicating with people of all ages, Fred Rogers was a genius. Fred was a rare mixture of calm reason, constant reassurance, and never-ending emotional availability. He helped people of all ages face and surmount their deepest anxieties and fears. This alone makes him relevant for today’s world where straight talk about difficult problems is the exception. What then if Fred were President? What would he say to reassure Americans in this time of economic pain and turmoil? Continue reading

Posted in Blog, Media + Politics | Leave a comment