Unlike the covert electronic infringements by the NSA, some other infringements are open and obvious—for example, security check-points at airports and government buildings, or surveillance cameras covering public spaces. These are examples of what I term “reverse transparency.” Traditionally, transparency has been a standard applied to organizations, such as corporations or governments, by which we require that their decisions be clear and open in order to permit accountability. Increasingly, however, under the pressure of homeland security concerns, this traditional conception has been, as it were, stood on its head.
The widespread use of information technology by the military, government, schools, financial institutions, transportation centers, and personal homes (to name just a few) means that nearly every aspect of American society is susceptible to cyber-violations. Hardly limited to the theft of individuals’ personal information, hacking threatens to undermine the nation’s economy and our general safety. Electrical grids, water processing facilities, stock exchanges, and weapons defense systems all depend on computer networks, and any malicious incursions could render disastrous results.
Poverty is often seen as a personal failure, whereas success is a mark of hard work; thus economic status serves a surrogate for individual self-worth, and not an indicator of society’s structure and its limitations. Poor men and women are still often portrayed in stereotypical terms as being lazy and unmotivated.
The Citizen Patient is the design for a new ship of health, one captained by patients and not by stakeholders.
Some of the deepest costs of our prohibitionist immigration system have to do with family. And they’re not just emotional costs—they’re economic costs as well.
Doubting the capacity of the law to distinguish between legitimate militancy and subversive radicalism, labor conservatives disapproved of legislation outlawing sedition. Instead they pursued a voluntarist program of evangelizing about the evils of Communism and excluding Communists from AFL unions. In the aftermath of the first Red Scare, labor conservatives formed a crucial backstop against reaction. In the late 1930s, the situation changed. Alienated from the New Deal order and at odds with liberal union leaders in the competing Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO), labor conservatives abandoned commonsense anticommunism for calculated red-baiting.
Yet despite today’s typical view of marijuana as a “soft” drug in comparison to, say, the opiates and cocaine, Mexicans of a century ago believed it to be perhaps the “hardest” drug of them all, one that triggered sudden paroxysms and delirious violence.
Historically, race and gender have had the most significant impact on the creation of immigration policy and its outcomes; but those factors have always been intertwined with larger social concerns about foreign policy and national security, the economy, scientific and medical issues, morality, and attitudes about class, religion, and citizenship.
Have the recently reported bizarre behaviors related to synthetic drugs been primarily caused by these chemical compounds or by the set and setting of their ingestion? The answer is still unclear, but history and science suggest that anxiety produced by unfamiliarity with these drugs and the accompanying horror stories in the press are probably contributing in some way.
View the trailer for the documentary film ‘Death Row,’ included in the new book by Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian called ‘In This Timeless Time: Living and Dying on Death Row in America.’
“Beltway politics” are not the only barrier to efficiency in government. Despite what they say, the American people have long preferred an inefficient federal government that they could shape rather than an efficient government that they could not.
We have become so used to hearing of regulations–particularly consumer protections like banking rules or the proposed controls on mercury emissions—as threats to prosperity that it has become nearly impossible to imagine these debates in any other way. But in 1940s Los Angeles, controlling air pollution and creating a healthy environment was understood as essential to prosperity, and the business community led the regulatory effort.
Turning our backs on the grim prospects for Afghanistan is part of a long tradition. We drew a veil over the struggle against insurgents in the Philippines. A combination of amnesia and speculative might-have-beens disposed of the Korean stalemate and the Vietnam defeat, and it seems likely the Iraq invasion and occupation will suffer the same fate.
Gitterman and Coclanis argue that our leaders must find a way to forge a bipartisan, pro-growth economic agenda and, in order to implement it, embrace creative public-private partnerships of various kinds.
The prevalence of xenophobia in diverse places and historical periods invites us to reflect on its common causes and consequences.
Rock Center with Brian Williams airs a story about North Carolina’s history of state-ordered sterilizations, featuring audio recordings of social workers involved in the program that were uncovered in Johanna Schoen’s research on the subject in the 1990s.
Polanyi’s classic suggests we should ignore the profoundly false choice between markets and the state.
Vanessa May discusses the history of the struggle for domestic workers to be protected by labor laws.
Michael Barkun discusses the gap between real and perceived terror threats and the nonrational decision making that has shaped U.S. homeland security policy.
Nuclear policy historian Shane Maddock considers environmental safety and national security in his arguments against government funding for nuclear power.