From Liberty Street Archives:

December 2007: 
The Right Order
As far as I can tell here on this final day of 2007, there are three value systems contending for
what might be called, loosely, the American soul...
The Nature of a Word
Since I write this on the eve of the most celebrated Christian holiday, I feel constrained to say
something about "Christianity"...
Landmark Election
In the election of 2008, the American people will define themselves for the coming generation...
This week on the CBS Evening News, Katie Couric is going to ask the presidential candidates
questions designed to show the people who they really are...
A U.S. Truth Squad
Now and then I ask myself how I would dispose of vast wealth if I should ever get possession
of it...

November 2007: 
I suspect we're in for a spate of low spirits over at the next fourteen months, at least until a new
president is inaugurated...
Political Infantilism
For the past couple weeks, I've in the land of disappearing water...
The recent mini-brouhaha over Senator Obama's supposed failure to place his hand over his heart
while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance -- a false charge, by the way -- reminds me of...
Guile Enough
Over the weekend I talked with a friend who admires Hillary Clinton for precisely the characteristics
that are now winning her the sharpest criticism...

October 2007: 
I grow weary of commentary on current events that's divorced from analysis of human history...
Friendly Faces
Over the past weekend, I saw Naomi Wolf being interviewed on Book TV's "Afterwords"
about her new publication, The End of America...
Veracity and Public Policy
It's always the case that devotion to the truth will make you into an extremist...
Loss or Lost
More and more people are voicing the feeling that America is changing, and changing rapidly,
in ways that are...
Mind and Public Service
Our national media is remiss in many ways, but its most serious fault is the failure to examine the
quality of mind exhibited by...

September 2007: 
Driving thousands of miles around the country as I have over the past month has convinced me
that the nation is hungry for...
Fallow Time
For the first time in years I’m sealed off from the national and international political scene...
The Intellectual Problem of Vacation
I tell myself, whenever I go off on a family vacation, that I'll find a quiet time and a quiet place
where I can...
Lost Opportunity
The Larry Craig affair has played itself out in the public prints as sound and fury, scorn and
hypocrisy, indignation and opportunism, all served up with...

August 2007: 
It becomes increasingly difficult to say anything further about the horror the United States
government has created in Iraq...
We need to face the truth that there is such a thing as burnout. And I fear we're approaching
it with respect to...
Messages: Sending and Receiving
Over the past four years the press has been regularly and vociferously denounced for failing to
inform the American people about...
Crack Up
The collapse of the bridge in Minneapolis has brought a flood of commentary about whether
America is falling apart...

July 2007: 
In Chicago
Being in a large city, as I have been for the past week, forces the problem of democracy more
insistently on one’s attention than is the case in...
Crying -- Or Not
Now that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has become emotional in public over the death
of soldiers in Iraq, media speculators are wondering...
The Man
About a month ago, on Bill Moyers's TV program Now, I watched an interview with
Grace Lee Boggs...
Whenever I get a chance to observe right-wing intellectuals describing the state of the world or
prescribing what needs to be done to make it better, I find myself bathed in...
A Certain Imprecise Number
Over the past decade there has been operating in my mental landscape a figure...

June 2007: 
A seldom mentioned consequence of the war in Iraq is a sapping of the American spirit...
We humans -- I guess by our very nature -- like to organize ourselves into groups. We do it for
a variety of reasons...
Steps Toward Fascism
Having just read Robert Paxton's stimulating analysis, The Anatomy of Fascism,  my mind turns
irresistibly to the question of how much the Bush administration has...
We have to give the media credit. Once they seize on a cliché they ride it for all it's worth...

May 2007: 
Memorializing Military Exploits
Listening to the flood of Memorial Day sentiment that pervaded television on Sunday, my mind was
drawn irresistibly to the German...
Religion and Terror
Mark Juergensmeyer’s Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence is
a disturbing book...
Natural Wonder
Having visited Zion Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, and Arches National Parks within
a few days, the question arose...
Revelations and Frustration
Greg Palast, author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and  Armed Madhouse: From
Baghdad to New Orleans -- Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild
came to Montpelier last Friday night to speak...

April 2007: 
Righteous Victims
Benny Morris's long, detailed account of the Arab-Israeli conflict, titled Righteous Victims,
begins with an epigraph from W. H. Auden's "September 1, 1939"...
Irrational or Shrewd?
All week CBS had been advertising a segment for 60 Minutes that would provide a
searching look at rap lyrics...
The Hidden Issue
I've suspected for some time that prosecutorial misconduct is one of the most serious
problems facing us in this country...
Politics, Thought and Practice
The relationship of political thought to political theory continues to fascinate me so much
that, now and then, I slog my way through...
The Nature of Spells
Daniel C. Dennett is a philosopher of science who has written a number of best sellers
about evolution and human consciousness ... he takes up the question of how we should
deal with religious belief in a democratic state... 

March 2007: 
Islamic Women
I have said from time to time, only partly in jest, that when it comes to relations
between the sexes the human race is incurably insane...
Chalmers Johnson
In three heavily documented books - Blowback, The Sorrows of Empire,  and most
recently, Nemesis -- Chalmers Johnson has laid out the case that...
The Nature of Nobility
As we glide along the stream of time, says the philosopher Imlac in Samuel Johnson's
Rasselas, the objects we leave behind are always lessening...
The Structure of Class
Whenever Democrats criticize tax cuts for the wealthy or point out the excessive
incomes being received by top corporate officials, Republicans attack them for
wanting to start class warfare...

February 2007: 
What Went Wrong?
Bernard Lewis's best seller from five year's ago presumes to tell us what has gone
wrong with Islamic civilization...
A Dialogue
Dr. Samuel Johnson and Friedrich Nietzsche meet at a pub called "The Willing Mind,"
in a land where no one in this land can go, if he wishes to remain a resident here...
I have taken the position that trying to impeach George W. Bush would be more
trouble than it's worth
A Single Gift
A couple weeks ago my daughter called me to say that she was reading Howard Zinn's
A People's History of the United States. I told her that was good but warned...

January 2007: 
The Great American Divide
From its inception the United States has been split between opposing concepts of
meaning and morality...
The Religious Quandary
I'm starting a series of book talks at a local library  on the topic "Comprehending
Today's Middle East." The first book I'll take up will be Karen Armstrong's biography
of Muhammad, which...
Number What?
I opened my Parade magazine yesterday and was greeted by a screaming headline:
"Is America Still No. 1?"...
The Crucial Choice
Every living entity, be it plant, animal, human, or society has to deal with resistance.
If it didn't it would become completely flaccid and, eventually, fade away...
Dangerous Loomings
A headline in the Burlington Free Press yesterday proclaimed: "Americans See Gloom,
Doom in 2007."...

©John R. Turner

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