God Help us all: Fending off an American Theocracy

by Mark Harvey The trouble with theocracies is that they generally lead to crusades. And the trouble with crusades is that if you’re not of the right sect or denomination, you’ll end up crucified. Theocracies lead nowhere, bring great suffering on peoples, stifle creative thought, and have women covered or in the kitchen. They do…

Crude American Petulance

by Mark Harvey I’m not sure what Americans were like in the 18th and 19th century, but they have to have been a lot tougher, less whining, less self-important and paradoxically more exceptional without thinking they were exceptional than Americans of today. Even Americans born well into the 20th century had a stoic quality and…

The Hazy Politics of Wildfires

by Mark Harvey On the morning of July 22, 2016, an illegal campfire in Garrapata State Park near Carmel, California got out of control. Within a day, the fire grew to 2,000 acres. Within two days the fire grew to 10,000 acres. A month later the fire was at 90,000 acres and still largely uncontained.…

Phenology and the Rites of Spring

by Mark Harvey Out of the blue, between the sea and the sky, Landward blown on bright, untiring wings; Out of the South I fly –Maurice Thompson One of my sisters who is a wildlife biologist often leaves the cinema with an entirely different take on the virtues of any particular movie if it’s set on…

Quiet Plans to Steal the Election

by Mark Harvey “I consider it completely unimportant who in the party vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this–who will count the votes and how.” –Joseph Stalin In the game of chess, there are dramatic moves such as when a knight puts the king in check while at the same time attacking…

America’s Futile War on Drugs

by Mark Harvey Sometimes our American ideas about social problems and how to fix them are downright medieval, ineffective, and harmful. And even when our methods are ineffective and harmful, we are likely to stick to them if there is some moralistic taint to the issue. We are the children of Puritans, those refugees who…

Squandering American Treasure: This is not Your Father’s Marshall Plan

by Mark Harvey Someone described the US Federal Government as a huge insurance company that has its own army. There’s real truth to that description. The vast majority of the federal budget goes to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Those entitlement programs take up about 65% of the federal budget, while the military takes up…

Mississippi to Mussolini: Our Weak Hold on American Democracy

by Mark Harvey Where I live in Colorado there are unstable elements of the landscape that sometimes fail. In severe cases, millions of tons of rock, silt, sand, and mud can shift, leading to massive landslides. The signs aren’t always evident because the breakdown in the structural geology often happens quietly underground. The invisible changes…