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Philip Slater

Entries by Philip Slater

The Bargain Days Are Here Again for the Wealthy

(5) Comments | Posted March 10, 2010 | 2:30 PM

One of America's fondest illusions is that Americans are all one people, and that when disaster strikes we are united in suffering--that we're all in the same boat. This is nonsense. For the wealthy, a recession--even a depression--is a happy time. The billionaire J. Paul Getty referred to the deepest...

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Consumers Have To Try Harder -- Our Economy Depends On Them

(7) Comments | Posted December 30, 2009 | 4:07 PM

Our economy is based on the idea that there's no such thing as enough. If you're rich, you should try to get richer -- using your money to get more money. Ordinary consumers, meanwhile, should buy stuff they don't need, which helps the rich do their job of making more...

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The Cowardice of Machismo

(18) Comments | Posted December 14, 2009 | 9:50 AM

I was surprised by Bill Moyers' recent show airing taped conversations between LBJ and his advisers about the Vietnam War. I had naively supposed that these men believed at least some of their Cold War rhetoric -- the 'Domino Theory', and so on. But it was clear from the tapes...

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America's Number One Sucker Confronts Health Care Reform

(11) Comments | Posted September 9, 2009 | 3:23 PM

The Rugged Individualist--America's Number One Sucker--cheers when needy people are deprived of food, battered women are deprived of protection from brutal husbands, children are deprived of education, etc., because this is "getting government off our backs." He's particularly interested in getting government off the backs of corporations who spend billions...

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The Cancer of Religious Narcissism

(8) Comments | Posted May 27, 2009 | 1:45 PM

The bloody clashes between Sikh sects reminds us once again of the intimate bond between religion and violence. It seems to take only the tiniest doctrinal differences to produce bloodshed. My favorite headline from 2008 was CHRISTIANS BRAWL AT JESUS' TOMB, citing a donnybrook between Armenian and Greek Orthodox priests....

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Time for the Military PR Folks to Come Up With a New Spin

(0) Comments | Posted May 13, 2009 | 2:15 PM

Every time the military slaughters a bunch of children in some distant land the PR staff robotically cranks out the same old chestnut: "it-is-not-our-fault-the-enemy-is-using-human-shields." First, in order to grab the moral high ground here you would have to actually be deterred by this nefarious stratagem, which no one ever is....

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Why We Overreacted to an Ordinary Flu

(9) Comments | Posted May 6, 2009 | 1:33 PM

In an online newsletter recently some mad housewives were sharing tips on how best to triple-wash and triple-sterilize their countertops. What on earth did they think they would catch from their own countertops? Small wonder our population is riddled with asthma, allergies, and other auto-immune diseases.

Since I eat food...

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Why the West Bank Settlers Are Not a Barrier to Middle East Peace

(3) Comments | Posted April 29, 2009 | 1:53 PM

Jewish settlements continue to be built on the West Bank, and those who hope for a two-state solution in the Middle East can often be seen wringing their hands in despair over the question. The thought of trying to tear down the settlements and return all the settlers to Israel...

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The roots of Homophobia in Iraq and Elsewhere

(4) Comments | Posted April 22, 2009 | 1:50 PM

Islamic fundamentalists in Iraq are murdering gay men at the urging of their imams. This is their sick way of dealing with their own repressed homosexual impulses--the basis of homophobia. A psychological study found that homophobic men were sexually aroused by images of gay sex, while tolerant men were not....

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Why What Frightens 'Skeptics' Frightened Einstein

(18) Comments | Posted April 8, 2009 | 1:51 PM

I'm fascinated by the fanatical zeal with which self-styled skeptics pounce on non-ordinary events and try to discount them--largely by the liberal use of words like 'preposterous'. Posing as 'scientific', these ideologues are clinging to a materialism long since discredited by quantum physics.

The fear that motivates the armchair skeptics...

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The Blindness of Individualism

(5) Comments | Posted April 1, 2009 | 1:46 PM

Our individualistic ideology has spawned absurdities in every field of American endeavor, from sports and the arts to corporate finance and the war on terror. Consider, for example, our policy of dropping bombs on terrorist leaders. This is based on the premise that terrorist networks are rigid bureaucracies that will...

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Creating A Register of Shame For White-Collar Malefactors

(2) Comments | Posted March 25, 2009 | 2:10 PM

The AIG bonus babies have received some negative attention lately, but by and large the perpetrators of our current economic crisis have escaped the kind of public humiliation suffered by misbehaving celebrities in other fields. Corrupt politicians are subject to media derision. Sports figures who take steroids, movie stars who...

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Another Spectacular Failure: The War on Drugs

(10) Comments | Posted March 18, 2009 | 1:30 PM

We Americans seem to be incapable of learning from past mistakes. We learned nothing from the debacle of 1929. We learned nothing from Vietnam. And we learned nothing from Prohibition. The neo-conservative movement that Reagan initiated has managed to repeat all three.

Prohibition skyrocketed organized crime and violence, deprived the...

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Why Individualists Are More Vulnerable to Dictatorship

(12) Comments | Posted March 11, 2009 | 1:50 PM

After the Olympics last fall David Brooks wrote a thoughtful article comparing individualism and collectivism. He cited studies showing that individualists fail to see contexts and tend to overestimate themselves, while collectivists see relationships and tend to underestimate themselves. He seemed to be acknowledging that despite the failure of communism,...

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Money Doesn't Attract 'Talent': It Merely Attracts Greed

(24) Comments | Posted March 4, 2009 | 12:43 PM

When the banking and auto industries claimed they needed their exorbitant executive salaries to attract 'talent', we all laughed to think the 'best and brightest' were needed destroy the global economy. What actually did the job was greed, which is, after all, what money attracts.

Whereas the average ratio of...

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How the Modern Republican Party is Trying to Subvert American Democracy

(2) Comments | Posted February 25, 2009 | 12:36 PM

The Communist Party was denounced in the 1950s for 'cynically using the democratic process to subvert democracy'. The same could be said of today's Republican Party, which seeks to replace our democracy with a system approximating the Latin American 'banana republics' of the early 20th century.

The strength of our...

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Why Free-Market Capitalism Will Follow Communism Into the Trash-Heap of History--Part III:

(1) Comments | Posted February 11, 2009 | 12:53 PM

The third fatal flaw of Free Market capitalism is the Myth of Perpetual Growth.

A recent headline announced that consumer 'prudence' was sinking the economy. This reveals the depths to which Free Market thinking has sunk: claiming it's bad for people to save their money in hard times, instead of...

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Why Free-Market Capitalism Will Follow Communism Into the Trash-Heap of History, Part II

(37) Comments | Posted February 4, 2009 | 12:39 PM

Last week I said free market capitalism rested on three fatal flaws: (1) the premise that greed is good; (2) the legal concept of corporate personhood; and (3) the necessity of infinite growth. This week I'll deal with the second.

When corporate law first evolved a few centuries ago no...

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Why Free-Market Capitalism Will Follow Communism Into the Trash-Heap of History

(10) Comments | Posted January 28, 2009 | 12:53 PM

It should be clear by now that following the precepts of free market capitalism is a recipe for disaster. Free market capitalism rests on three fatal flaws: (1) the premise that greed is good; (2) the legal concept of corporate personhood; and (3) the necessity of infinite growth. All three...

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Not Yet Endangered: The Big-Bellied, Tiny-Brained, Common American Sap/Sucker

(8) Comments | Posted January 14, 2009 | 11:11 AM

The common American Sap/Sucker is such a fervent believer in free market ideology that he tends to trust implicitly anyone who espouses the same doctrine. He may be recognized by his gullibility and his unusual capacity for redundant consumption.

While the Common American Sap/Sucker mistrusts 'Big Government' and is strongly...

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