By virtually eliminating risk, crop insurance subsidies are encouraging farmers to plow up wetlands and prairies, a trend that is increasing water pollution, releasing more carbon into the atmosphere and destroying wildlife habitat.
One big reason why people read fiction is to feel strong emotions -- joy, surprise, anger, etc. And when it comes to anger, few literary experiences make our blood boil more than observing the actions of hypocritical protagonists.
While the entire political punditry world is caught up in yet another horserace, major tenets of the Republican party's faith seem to be crumbling. Their bedrock ideology is revealing itself, in multiple ways, of having been built on sand all along.
Shame seems to be held in disrepute -- it suggests some kind of old fashioned Protestant moralistic view, or the Catholic confessional -- but it can be a useful feeling if it helps us to face our own failings, and to remedy the injuries we might have done to others.
We know nothing about President Obama's meeting on Wednesday with CEOs to discuss the fiscal cliff. But we can hope that it was hostile and unproductive, because the CEOs are hypocrites with terrible ideas.
The First Amendment guarantees our right to embrace any religion we choose, no matter how peculiar. It also protects our right to talk about it along with almost anything else (truthfulness is optional).
What bugs me about this story is not right-wing hypocrisy about sex (which is old news) or that sex leads smart people to do dumb things (even older news). It's that, by focusing on D'Souza's timing, commentators are ignoring the main double standard at work here.
Without hypocrisy, the conservative mind would explode from the sheer force of its eternal contradictions and Dinesh D'Souza, along with his phantom, would be sucked into the void. Hypocrisy is the glue that holds it all together.
I'm not a policy person, and most of my friends aren't, either. Still, policies spring from ideals and values. As nice as it would be to keep politics out of the realm of friendship, can we ethically say "I couldn't care less what my friends believe -- I just care about them as friends?"
Ever since Nixon, Republicans have campaigned on the lessons they learned about TV back then. For a long time, those lessons served them well. The trouble is, TV is no longer our culture's dominant medium. It's being replaced by the Internet.
Already, Venezuela has indicated it wishes to leave the highest human rights court in the Western Hemisphere -- the Inter-American Court for Human Rights. Why? Because it loses, time and time and time again.
Prior to the scandal, Bo Xilai was the closest thing the Chinese Communist Party had to a Western media darling. But if Bo looks familiar to Western eyes it is because he embodied much of the worst of Western politicians.
When you say what you are going to do in a situation, you are making your best guess about it. However, it is hard for you to simulate all of the other factors that are going to influence your behavior.