From Liberty Street Archives:

December 2005: 
Time and Its Uses
This being the final day of 2005, it seems I should write something moderately philosophical
about time and its uses...
A couple days ago, in the lobby of a fairly expensive apartment building on Connecticut
Avenue in Washington, I heard two men...
Intellectual Cowardice
We bring numerous flaws to our thinking about public affairs. But the most serious and
the least explicable, it seems to me, is our inability to...
The Right to Dislike
When I'm away from home, as I have been for the past two and a half weeks, I see many
things I don't like. Florida, for example, strikes me as being...

November 2005: 
The Wal-Mart Nation
Visiting here in central Florida I'm in the very core of the Wal-Mart nation. I find it
fascinating, which is not to say that it doesn't have its horrendous aspects...
Last week when I went to speak about American foreign policy and militarism at a small state
college in northern Vermont, a young man asked me if I weren't putting too much blame...
A Citizen of Where?
A tension every honest person must feel, particularly in the current political situation, arises
from being both a citizen of a particular place and a citizen of the world...

October 2005: 
A Democratic Program
An argument one hears frequently nowadays is that the Democratic Party is brain dead.
Though the Democrats may, in a disjointed way, support a number of policies...
A Rhetoric for Journalism
In ordinary society, we don't commonly speak the full truth. Though in most extended circles
there are drunks, and cowards, and weaklings, and ignoramuses and...
The Nature of War
The human body is a strange entity. One minute it can be alive, vibrant, exhilarating and in
possession of personality and, perhaps, of soul. And then, within seconds...

September 2005: 
The doctrine of American exceptionalism holds that there's an effect from residency in the
United States which transforms human material not only into something distinctive but into
something exalted...
War, a Metaphor for Social Meaning
If you were to try to count all the wars we’ve launched in this country over the past forty
years, you would jumble your brain...
A problem no human can escape is deciding who or what should receive his or her devotion.
Not only must we chose...
The American Mind
The mind of America may be the most bizarre creation ever brought forth by humanity.
Or at least it has seemed so over the past couple years...

August 2005: 
The human animal is the political problem. It's difficult, but probably doable, to fashion
a sensible government for people who are thoughtful and well-informed. But...
What's In a Word?
On Book TV I watched a program from the Ethics and Public Policy Center, featuring
George Weigel and his book The Cube and the Cathedral. He was joined...
Healthy Politics, the Human Dimension
Over the past week I read Andrew Bacevich's The New American Militarism, which is an
excellent book. I've seen nothing else which...
The Political Deity
As I've read and listened to politicians over the past several months declaiming that God
wants us to do this and doesn't want us to do that...
Black and White
Back in the days when I hung out with college professors more than I do now there was always
much talk of developmental psychology...

July 2005: 
Political Malignancy
The furor over President Bush's nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court has included a
number of interesting speculations. The most fascinating...
When I was about twelve years old I read a magazine article about men who ran amok
in India...
The Religion of Nationalism
It came to me a couple days ago, with a blizzard-like intensity, as I pulled up to an intersection
and noticed the plastic ribbons stuck...
A Sacrilege of Language
The time has come to reclaim the word "conservative" for honorable usage and take it away from
the pack of right-wing radicals who...

June 2005: 
Accuracy of Yardsticks
Over the past several years I've been increasingly drawn to the somewhat Nietzschean
proposition that we are better served by aesthetic criteria than by notions of...
The Serious People of America
On Friday evening, June 17th, I heard David Brooks on PBS popping off about what serious
persons would propose and what they would never think of proposing...
Page or Screen?
A number of my friends don't watch television. And for the most part they're proud of the
refusal. They think it betokens...
Slogans of Military Expenditure
Military spending is in the headlines this week because Secretary Rumsfeld, speaking in
Singapore, chided the Chinese for spending...
May 2005: 
I too think that the actions of our country during the World War II era were more justified than
they have been during most wars...
Assigning Blame
Thomas Frank's essay in the New York Review for May 12th about how a class-based backlash
against liberal arrogance is controlling national elections continues to prey on my mind...
The Pleasures of Skepticism -- Are They Worth the Cost?
I know this will sound naive as soon as I say it. But I'm going to say it anyway. I'm weary of
being used and propagandized by my own government...

April 2005: 
The Latest Threat?
Over the last several months I've noticed that a new boogeyman has arrived on the
media scene...
The Passing of a Pope
As I write this, my television screen is filled with news of the death of John Paul II. Not
being a Catholic, I don't have the mystical feeling about the pope that...

March 2005: 
Our Just Desserts
In 1976, I was a strong advocate for Jimmy Carter's presidential candidacy. And I was very
pleased when he won. There was, however...
As the first signs of spring begin to peep out here in Vermont I realize how tired I am of
politics, and Republicans...
Sufficiency of Concept
Reading in F.S.C. Northrop's Man, Nature and God, I came on the statement that nothing is
more important than one's conceptual assumptions...
Moving On
In Our Sister Killjoy ... the protagonist gets into an argument with her boyfriend, who tells
her that she's too caught up in past injustices...

February 2005: 
The Fate of Quality
I am not only bewildered by the internet, I think my bewilderment is growing more intense
every week...
Wherein Does Our Perfection Lie?
Judith Warner's new book...will doubtless set off another round of fervid debate about
women's rights, the psychological health of children, and the rewards of career...
What Is It To Be Hard-Wired Anyway?
I've seen considerable commentary lately about what we're hard-wired for, "hard-wired"
being a popular term for genetic disposition...
Missing the Point, Once Again
The brouhaha this past week over Ward Churchill and Hamilton College has concentrated
on intemperate language and how a person ought to be punished for indulging in it...

January 2005: 
Education and Business
The United States Chamber of Commerce wants the states to develop a "work-readiness"
credential which would be accepted throughout the nation...
Americans and Americanism
A persistent feature of the right-wing sensibility for well over a century has been a
religious tribalism towards the glories of America...
Who Are The  Terrorists?
The press and the internet are awash with commentary about "death squads" and whether
the Pentagon is considering using them as a means to subdue...
The Purpose of Suffering?
William A. Donahue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights,
doesn't strike me as a brilliant man...
A Need for Humility
American media have paid scant attention to the murder of the Dutch film maker
Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam on November 2nd. We are a distressingly...

©John R. Turner

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