CapitalismEssaysThe Psyche

Economic Globalization and Mental Health

Individual suffering in social context

Economic globalization is much in the news these days, most recently as Congress debated President Obama’s proposal for a “free trade” agreement with the nations of the Pacific Rim. My impression is that few mental health professionals keep up with the details of economic globalization and its impact on culture and mental health. In this article I will briefly present two ways in which economic globalization has a huge and largely unrecognized impact on …

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EssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionSex & Gender

Faith in Marriage

Religion, heterosexuality, and the Obergefell decision

On June 26, 2015 the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges added the United States to a growing list of nations that provide equal marriage rights to same-sex couples. In an impassioned majority opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy, Obergefell overturned remaining state bans on marriage for same-sex couples and required all states to recognize marriages legally performed elsewhere. (I am among the historians of marriage whose amici curiae brief …

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EssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionSex & GenderThe Left

Ireland’s Victory for Marriage Equality, Continued

How Irish was it? And how much of a victory?

I very much liked Sinéad Kennedy’s piece on the yes to same-sex marriage in the Irish referendum. I share her sense that the 62% yes vote on May 22 was an impressive progressive victory. At the same time, I strongly agree with her statement, “As a political objective, same-sex marriage sits comfortable with prevailing neoliberal ideology.” I would like to add a few comments …

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CapitalismEssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionSex & GenderThe Left

Another New Kind of Marriage

Has fiscal conservatism found a partner in gay rights?

On Friday, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision guaranteeing the right of same-sex couples to marry in every state in the nation. This landmark case concludes just as another marriage is crumbling: the marriage between anti-gay politics and fiscal conservatism.

Since the 1980s, Americans have grown accustomed to a national-level political discourse juxtaposing the buzzwords free marketssmall government, and family values ...

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EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

Democracy or Immaturity?

Interpretations of the Greek referendum in the Euro Zone

The referendum that Alexis Tsipras announced in the early hours of June 27, just days before the expiration of Greece’s rescue program, was from the very beginning a dangerous gamble with little chance of success. His main objective was to strengthen his position as far as his internal rivals are concerned — mainly the hardliners within Syriza who opposed a solution that would entail austerity measures — and his government’s negotiation tactics abroad. The referendum, announced hastily and featuring a fuzzily-worded question on the approval or dismissal of a text that was no longer under negotiation, divided the Greek people deeply and became the subject of heated debates. The clamorous 61% in favor of a “No” vote more accurately reflects people’s accumulated frustration over the ongoing hardship of five consecutive years, rather than an outright rejection of the common currency, as interpreted by the vast majority of the European leadership. …

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EssaysRace/ismsSex & Gender

Dolezal and the Defense of the Community

Reflections on the unique difficulties of passing from white to black in America

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CapitalismEssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

The Greek Referendum: A New Battle of Marathon

The historical resonance, significance and challenges of 'no' on July 5th

Some commentators have compared the victory of the “Oxi” at the Greek referendum of July 5th to a Pyrrhic victory, implying that while the anti-austerity camp won this battle, it is doomed to lose the war, strangled by the insurmountable economic difficulties caused by the lack of liquidity. Others have suggested that the referendum looked like the Thermopylae battle of 480 BCE, where three hundred Spartans valiantly fought the Persian army and lost. A better comparison, however, in my judgment is that with the Battle of Marathon. …

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EssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionThe Left

The 24M Elections in Spain

A new era in the regime's crisis

The local and regional elections of last May 24th arrived four years after the great social upheaval symbolized by the 15M Movement and the Indignados. The starting point of a long and deepening political crisis, the 15M was both a moment of change and a genuine foundational event within the contemporary political and social history of the Spanish State. The popular mobilizations of May and June 2011 inaugurated a cycle of social struggle that translated during 2012 and 2013 into the so-called “citizenry tides” against cutbacks, particularly those regarding public health and education. Although they had few concrete victories, the “tides” witnessed the capabilities of popular resistance and its limits vis-à-vis austerity measures. …

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EssaysRaceRace/isms

Actually Essential Reading About the Confederacy

Understanding the historical context of the massacre in Charleston and the debate about the Confederate battle flag

The massacre at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston and the subsequent debate about the Confederate battle flag have sent Americans scrambling for historical context. The shortlist of introductory readings on the Confederacy recommended by John Williams in the New York Times ArtsBeat, however, is an embarrassing catalog of dated scholarship that emphasizes the experiences and reflections of white elites. Histories of the lives of Confederate generals that date to the 1930s may have their virtues. The impact of the Civil War on the planter class is surely worth knowing. And no one ought to discount smart literary analyses of Harriet Beecher Stowe or Albion Tourgee. But scholarship that predates the Carter Administration and centers on a small segment of the slaveholding class hardly provides a starting point for understanding our current moment. …

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