From Liberty Street Archives:

December 2008: 
Potential
I devoutly hope that the holiday season of 2008 will be seen by history as the time when the
American people finally decided to...
A Question of Unity
Recently, I've been reading once again Matthew Arnold's Culture and Anarchy. It seems that
every time...
Isolation
It's hard to be by yourself for long in a large city without encountering the Robinson Crusoe
question: what does it mean to be completely alone?...
Health Care
The lead story in the Los Angeles Times this morning is about health care. In an article titled
"Health Reform Goals Sharpen," Noam M. Levy says...

November 2008: 
Ostracism
As a punishment, or to avoid political dangers, the ancient Greeks used to banish certain
figures from their home territory for a period of five to ten years...
National Health
For at least a decade now I've thought that the American people were behaving so foolishly
that we were heading for a national crackup...
Obfuscation
At any given point in political evolution certain senseless words come to the fore and are
repeated incessantly...
Off the Point
The past few months have been a lively campaign season, but as I look back on it I realize
that the issues that concern me most have scarcely been discussed...

October 2008: 
Country and Nation
The presidential campaign has forced me to sharpen insights I've had rumbling around in my
brain for quite a few years about...
The Real Deal
So now we're back to the question of who's a real American and who's not...
Belief and Truth
At a neighbor's garden party yesterday, whenever the talk turned to politics, the constant
question was, "How can people believe things that are obviously not true?"...
Chasm
I have in mind this morning a division which I may not be able to describe very well. Still,
I'm compelled to make an attempt to say what it is...

September 2008: 
Torrent
It began with a few dribbles, grew to a trickle and is now moving towards a torrent...
The Outrage
More and more frequently over the past few days I've come across commentary which
acknowledges that the government bailout...
Mock Fairness
The latest flap at NBC News shows how hard it is, when a culture of phony objectivity has
been established, to take a turn towards truth...
Pretend Controversies
I noticed that Rachel Maddow is getting her own news program on MSNBC, starting
September 8th...

August 2008: 
Pathetic Aspiration
When Katie Couric, last week, asked John McCain to explain his remark about not knowing
how many houses he owned, his basic response was...
Approaching Truth-tellers
Watching Benjamin Wiker yesterday on Book TV discuss his recent publication, 10 Books
That Screwed Up the World, I felt an impulse to...
Fuzz
I was interested to discover what effect my two week withdrawal from political gossip would
have on my...
Two Separate Things
The main effect of my awayness, here in Newfoundland, has been to sharpen my understanding
of the difference between country and nation...

July 2008: 
Withdrawal
I knew that my trip to Newfoundland would offer me the opportunity to step back from
political furor and ask myself whether...
A Jumpable Gap
Watching Jared Bernstein, the author of Crunch, on Book TV yesterday, I was once again
forced to confront the biggest and most frustrating question in politics...
Drop By Drop
Yesterday, watching the Sunday morning political talk shows, I may have detected a tiny shift
towards truth-telling in the face of popular sentimentality...

June 2008: 
Primary Political Duty
Thumbing through some notes taken a couple months ago, I encountered this observation,
proclaimed during a political talk show: "Obama has to...
Deterioration or Not?
In Kevin Phillips's book American Theology he offers this general assessment of the future
of our country...
American Culture
In Culture and Anarchy, published in 1869, Matthew Arnold said, "a true conception of
culture is, as Monsieur Renan's words show...
Virtue American Style
There's a series of commercials running on television now which shows gritty, smudge-faced
working men conducting affairs not usually associated with them. In one...
Difference in Desire
The wide attention being paid to Scott McClellan and his book has brought...

May 2008: 
Memorial Day
Memorial Day is said to be a time of reverence, which, I suppose is fine for many people. But
for me it doesn't much signify. That's because...
Religious Nationalism
Surely, I can't be the only person in this country who's growing weary of being told I have to
worship "Americanism"...
The Hollow Men
Being in the nation's capital for the past week has brought powerfully to mind certain lines from
T. S. Eliot's poem , "The Hollow Men"...
Splitting Apart
Now it seems there are "brands" of patriotism and if you don't embrace the right kind some of
your fellow citizens are...

April 2008: 
Should I, or Should I Not?
I've been wondering if I should take up the badge of elitism and wear it proudly...
Characterizing America
Is America the greatest country on earth? Is it a bulwark of freedom and democracy?...
Exploitation and Opportunity
It seems to be the case that Barack Obama's remarks about the bitterness of people in small
western Pennsylvania towns is going to...
Media Motivation
The wish to have the major media outlets in the United States report what's actually happening
in the world appears...

March 2008: 
Linguistic Holidays
This week I went to the library in Williston, Vermont to talk about a history of the boarding
schools conducted by...
Mental Breakdown
I'm not worried in the least about the commander in chief threshold but I am becoming seriously
concerned about the looney tunes threshold, which...
Signs
I don't want to be pessimistic or anything approaching that degree of unAmericanness, but I have
to admit that...
Transformation
On Book TV yesterday, I listened to Shelby Steele discuss his book, A Bound Man, in which he
explains why he doesn't think Barack Obama can win the presidency...
Turned Off
I don't know precisely why it happened. But I do know it came suddenly, almost like a light switch
being flipped. My zest for keeping up the with...

February 2008: 
A Mind of Sorts
For the past several days I've been asking myself whether there is anything that can reasonably be
called the mind of America...
Nation of Dopes?
Susan Jacoby has created quite a stir with her new book, The Age of American Unreason...
Owning Land
It’s clear to anyone who thinks about it that the ownership of land is a political condition...
Possessing JFK
The launching of the Camelot phalanx against Hillary Clinton is forcing the nation to think yet once
more about who and what John F. Kennedy was...

January 2008: 
The Great Disconnect
It becomes ever more apparent that most of the American public and a significant portion of the
press has no understanding that politics is...
Intellectual Corruption
Over the past two decades, I've grown strongly suspicious of either historical accounts or policy
discussions that pay no attention to...
The Value of Symbolism
Numerous voices have proclaimed that Barack Obama as president would present to the world,
and to ourselves, a new face of America...
Which Side?
There is in America a big debate -- one I have no desire to enter -- over whether the United States
is a beacon of...





©John R. Turner

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