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"administration has projected an image of reactive drift and lost public confidence." I love it when David goes philosophical. I agree with much of what he says, and it is refreshing to hear a conservative actually think. It truly would be great if we had a leader who could get out ahead of what is the aspirations of the electorate, and propose a framework that considers the aspirations of the electorate, but clarifies it with a truly forward moving vision of what policy could be; not because it is popular, but because it is more likely to work, being congruent with reality. Is Obama responsible for the "image of reactive drift?" Or is it not the cowardly stance of a conservative mind that really could not debate Obama's policies, because the policies were by and large conservative? I think the latter, but it will not happen, this kind of leader, until both right and left realize they don't actually believe Joe Six Pack is capable of making informed decisions. They therefore throw their red meat, instead of talking policy. The mind of the electorate is not even what is was at the turn of the twenty first century. It has grown in ways that even science has yet to capture. So yes, let this leader emerge; but not from some theoretical construct of centuries ago, right or left. Let someone emerge that knows that the minds of people in general do know better than their supposed betters. Let them listen not just to polls, but a heart and mind rooted in We the People.

2 2017-01-09 14:06:59 - Timothy
India is a country far from any paragon of it self, that has neglected the masses with impunity with the usual Indian mentality. Which is even worst among the Pakistanis. That for the most part is only innate to those, who live in India/ Pakistan. Rather then those who immigrated and acquired different attitudes, professions life styles, including far better and deeper insight into western customs, fiscal matters, scientific adventures. Plus some extra ordinary success in just about every facet , except may be sports. Roy in her heart and soul is not exactly a typical Indian woman, subservient in nature & customs. Then again she lives in different times then Gandhi or Ambedkar. She has seen the ups and down of life and understand the pitfalls that plague the religious differences due to innate ignorance. That divide the subcontinent and the greed creed. self interests and self righteousness of the society within itself. With its inherent manufactured indifference of blasted religion by the misled & the ignorant. Who through their own greed and self righteousness, allowed the British to partition, the subcontinent and further build animosities. Which further exported the same as older generation of Indians and Pakistanis immigrated to countries like UK. Except the generation of Roy with common sense has tried hard improve the lot of the under privileged.
5 2016-10-11 03:30:54 - winemaster2

Many national leaders in many countries use religion to justify their own ideologies and the practices they spin. Fundamentalist Christians have used the Bible to justify their murdering of doctors providing legal abortions; Saudi royals have used Wahabbism to justify their subjection of women and denying them freedom to drive, etc.; a Christian minister used the Bible as justification for burning the Qu'ran; and so on. I took Bill Maher's point to be that we should obstreperously denounce all such instances of the misuse of religion. He did not express this point clearly, which is understandable, since he is not a theologian or religious leader. It is, indeed, true that many of us stand idle by as our fellow human beings are decapitated, flogged, raped, and generally debased. Objecting to these practices is not an attack on religion but on the people who use religion for their own nefarious purposes. Mr. Affleck should have been able to understand this. Granted, many people lack the theological sophistication to distinguish between religion and the use some demagogues make of religion, and I do not know any solution to this quandary except for education. And even then: remember how many people demonstrated against the Nazi's implementation of "the Final Solution"! At that time, Christians should have complained; today, Muslims should be complaining. They should take to heart the old saying, "de te fabula narratur."

28 2016-03-23 20:20:06 - Ignacio Gotz

''Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, stands for authoritarianism, press intimidation, crony capitalism and quiet support for Islamists, including ISIS.''

Could not agree more but why on earth the US and the EU had supported this Islamist at heart for so long and allowed Erdogan to nearly bulldozed secular foundations of Turkish Republic Ataturk founded 90 years ago!?

The secular education of Turkey is nearly destroyed, independent judiciary is almost gone (hundreds of billion dollars graft probing is annulled by removing prosecutors and jailing cops under faux 'coup' charges), freedom of press is nil (the NY Times reporter Ceylan Yeginsu has been facing hundreds of death threats from government symphatizers due to just published article on ISIS), and the US still sees Erdogan as an ally!

Erdogan has supported ISIS and other Islamic terrorists just to topple secular Assad regime.

The US needs to draw a red line to this authoritarian before Erdogan turns Turkey into a money smuggling back warded Islamic authoritarian regime.

6 2016-02-24 12:58:54 - Dan

I am far more impressed by these interviews than I expected to be, and I am especially grateful for Professor Gutting's summing up, which raises a few questions of great importance. I think specially of Philip Kitcher's argument. Kitcher argues (from what he calls the symmetry argument) that each of us comes to faith in a similar way, by being inducted into an ongoing religious tradition. The symmetry is complete. There is no reason to prefer one to another. However, Kitcher does not, it seems (and Professor Gutting picks up on this), recognise that each "positive" religious tradition may grasp only one possible response to religious reality, whether religious experience, or the God who lies at the end of metaphysical arguments. Thus, while such religious beliefs are rational, they are not provable, since to prove them would require going beyond the demands of reason into an area where reason cannot go. We may have no access to transcendent truths, but we may have reason to hold them.

However, this means that the "positive" religious traditions should seek ways of reconciling to each other, recognising that the object of their devotion is beyond reason, yet not beyond reason's ability to give a good account of itself. So those, like Professor Gutting, who remain within a religious tradition, and live out their lives in ways established by the religion, are endeavouring to be faithful to a vision of holiness which is beyond the bounds of reason. The heart has its reasons ...

4 2015-11-16 18:20:54 - Eric MacDonald

I wanted to put across my thoughts on man Vs machine in detail. As such, I didn't mention about certain aspects like how well this is written in my previous comment. Here I go.

This is one of the most beautiful and wonderful articles I have ever read. The author has a very bright future as a writer, I have no doubt about it. The mother's love and affection towards her special child can be easily visualised the way it's expressed.

The interaction between Gus and Siri appears as if they are born to be friends forever. The fact that Gus has improved with the company of his friend Siri is simply lovely. I wish best of luck, happiness and bright future not only to the mother and child but also to all those special kids in the world, who are fighting against all odds and also to their wonderful parents, who ever they are, to whichever religion they belong, whichever nation they belong and whichever language they speak and whatever economical status they have. They all need our moral support, prayers and blessings if not financial support.

May the world spend more time in love, care, wisdom and live in harmony rather than hate, fight and kill. We are born not to kill and get killed. There's something else for us to focus. I am writing this from the bottom of my heart.

7 2015-10-17 15:01:14 - Sivaram Pochiraju

Years ago Ray Bradbury wrote an article in which he said specifically that our fascination with vampire movies was because it allowed us, in our fantasy, to confront death and defeat it. As Ernest Becker pointed out in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Denial of Death, much of mankind's culture - our monumental architecture, our various religions, etc -is an attempt to deny the reality of death.
I think that what is significant about America's current fascination with zombies, vampires, and virulent spirits, is what these movies tell us about our own American culture.
They demonstrate what a fearful society we are. The zombie craze tells us to fear our neighbors, those driven people who are shuffling inexorably in our direction to devour us, literally. And the only solution is violence: we must kill them And, perhaps significantly, we no longer kill them as we did vampires, with a stake through the heart. No, they must be stabbed through the head. "You just get that idea right out of your head", as my Grandma used to say.
Vampires, the other undead, who used to be foreigners are now depicted as our next door neighbors.
The whole melange demonstrates, as others have suggested, that we are a fearful, even paranoid, society. Our boundaries, both personal, societal, and National, are no longer secure. Death is everywhere and the only sure solution is violence, against anyone or anything that threatens us.

2 2015-07-31 10:46:37 - Jim Moody

A thought-provoking opinion by Thomas Friedman. I honestly believe that our (Western but mainly the US) approach to engaging the world needs a review. Mostly - it is good, in the sense that we are generous to a fault when making our educational, technological, medical and monetary resources available to the rest of the world. But in a few important ways, our approach fails badly - mainly - in the way we perceive and engage threats. Our way seems embedded in the Cold War era logic of two sides, good vs bad, communist vs democratic. Things were never that clear and simple and are even less so now. As Friedman alludes, regional issues have layers of complexity, sometimes subtle, sometimes not, that we as outsiders cannot really comprehend. Sending troops into this complexity or bombing it from the air displays a sense of ignorance and naivete that it would behoove us to lose. Like the UK, who have also seemingly never learned the lessons of their repeated failures in Afghanistan, we seems to get repeatedly mired in the Middle East. Perhaps we should study how the rest of Europe has managed to reach a different level of interaction where they manage to keep the peace with more of the world than the UK and the US currently do. Perhaps they took to heart the lessons of over a millennia of ancient, medieval and modern day violence and consciously changed their way of interacting with the world. President Obama certainly appears to be more circumspect than his predecessors.

1 2015-07-29 17:59:39 - Peace

Let us say for the sake of argument that the GOP are right about the poor ie that they are simply 'flawed' human beings; how do these flaws render the poor unworthy of our help? If the flaws are to some degree genetic, how are they responsible for that? If the flaws are the result of the social and economic conditions they grow up in, how are they responsible for that? If like me you think in Buddhist terms, and see the poor's plight as a combination of all the above, AND the underlying karmic forces in their lives, again, how are the poor not worthy of our empathy and succour?

Further, even if by some cosmic anomaly none of the above pertains to why a particular individual is an unemployed drug addict on social assistance, clearly the individual is suffering, and this suffering, whatever its root cause, is something to mourn. In that individual's suffering is the whole of our species' tragic history, and is a momentous thing, which the Buddha identified so perspicaciously as duhkha, the pillar of the Four Noble Truths.

In the New Testament, Jesus acts boldly to alleviate the suffering of the poor, particularly in the few places that the more rigorous biblical scholars suggest the historical Jesus can be heard to speak. Jesus is not interested in assigning blame, as he knows that is not a path of the heart. The path he chose was meant to teach us that pain and its humiliation are transcendent, that the poor are us learning that which we must if we are to evolve.

15 2015-06-16 00:30:27 - kairos

This is a heart wrenching report. I think (I am a professor at a liberal arts college) when it comes to these matters --even though errors will be made: the move here is straight to the police. End of story. Anyone who has spent anytime in higher education and among professors and especially administrators in higher education should know that none of these people are, in any way, qualified to help a victim or, dare I say this? Protect someone who is accused of rape or other violent behavior. These are criminal matters that are far outside the "faculty handbook" regulations --we are not talking about "grades" this is violent crime and both victims and the accused are entitled to the full set of constitutional and legal rights afforded them by state and federal law. Let there be no doubt, most colleges are concerned about publicity and will do everything and anything to protect themselves, some faculty are so ideologically committed to different points of view on these issues (the Duke University case, for example) that thee is not chance --zero -- they would be able to render any kind of help to victims or the defendants, but they can and will ruin lives. As this article notes, even the police will make mistakes--nothing is fail safe that we all know; however, in my view, rape is a criminal act of violence and belongs with the criminal justice system--NOT in an academic star chamber.

8 2014-12-06 02:42:05 - adg

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