When NPR shut down its user comment line in 2016 it missed a major opportunity

Summary NPR’s comment line was obviously troubled when it was shut down in 2016. But there had been no  guidelines for contributions to it. Nor were significant corrections made when abuses began clogging the system. As the premier U.S. public radio news network I suggest that NPR should have taken on a generic problem facing […]

Confederate Monuments, Road Signs, And School Names: Don’t Put Them Out Of Sight And Mind

Why I’m writing about this subject. Current actions to remove Confederate statues and change the names of schools are in the news in Virginia. I have special reasons for offering suggestions on these sensitive issues. In 2005 I had a “born-again African American experience”. An emeritus professor of chemistry at the University of Missouri, Kansas […]

Seymour Martin Lipset and American Exceptionalism

If everything else about him is forgotten, the noted American sociologist, Seymour Lipset (1922-2006) will surely be remembered for coining the term, “American Exceptionalism” through his 1996  book,  American Exceptionalism: A Two-Edged Sword. Before I took up social science as a “second language” at George Mason University, Lipset’s last academic residence, I was a federal […]

The U.S. has entered a 21st Century “Gilded Age”. Can earlier history offer insights on reform?

The “Gilded Age” from 1870 to ~1890 was a time of rampant public and private corruption. Congressional seats could be bought and sold. “Robber Barons” made giant killings through monopolies and manipulation – and brought on devastating panics. The signposts are all around us that ethics in government and society have deteriorated. In recent years record […]

A 19th Century French Observer Sheds Light On America’s Unstable Politics

Alexis De Tocqueville arrived in the United States in 1831. The French nobleman, superbly educated and with Enlightenment ideals,  came with a companion to study democracy in the young nation.  The last major  representative system, the Roman Republic, had been overthrown in 27 BC by Julius Caesar, who had himself crowned leader of a Roman Empire […]