Monday, October 13, 2008

End the Culture Wars!

Anyone who took high school history will remember this image. This was one of the first political cartoons to appear in the American colonies calling for unification. Created by Benjamin Franklin it was first published in the Pennsylvania Gazette on May 9, 1754. The contemporary relevance of this image is striking. Though today it might be simplified even more. The snake could be made into 50 bits colored in red and blue.

The Bailout! The Rescue!
Raising taxes! Rolling back the tax breaks!
Occupying Iraq! Liberating Iraq!
Killing an unborn child! Ending a pregnancy!

Well Which is it?
- It' all about framing the issue.
Politics in the United States has boiled down to who promotes the shortest most powerful sound bite. If we are going to avoid a collapse the likes of the Roman, Ottoman, or the Persian empires we have got to be willing to use reason above and beyond party lines. Reason is a unifying force that needs to be reclaimed with a vengeance. Though politicians are guilty of the empty rhetoric that has stuck us in the mire of partisanship, much of the blame must be shouldered by a complacent citizenry. Below Steven Pinker gives us some insight into why.

As I've said before, the financial crisis is a great place to start coming together. There are no clear party politics surrounding this crisis because the damage caused by this affects us all. It is fitting that Americans need go little further than their currency for wisdom regarding this mess.


On an unlikely stage a Rhodes scholar holds up the candle of reason and begins the end of the culture wars.

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