The Psychology That Leads People to Vote for Extremists & Autocrats: The Theory of Cognitive Closure

≡ Category: Politics, Psychology |9 Comments

There’s a political disconnect in the United States. We have two political parties, each now living in its own reality and working with its own set of facts. The common ground between them? Next to none.


Why Socrates Hated Democracies: An Animated Case for Why Self-Government Requires Wisdom & Education

≡ Category: Philosophy, Politics |8 Comments

How often have you heard the quote in one form or another? “Democracy is the worst form of Government,” said Winston Churchill in 1947, “except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time….


Watch Georges Méliès’ The Dreyfus Affair, the Controversial Film Censored by the French Government for 50 Years (1899)

≡ Category: Film, History, Politics |Leave a Comment

History resounds with events so momentous they can be conjured with a single word: Waterloo, Watergate, Tiananmen, Brexit….


How to Know if Your Country Is Heading Toward Despotism: An Educational Film from 1946

≡ Category: History, Politics, Yale |3 Comments

Nobody likes a despot — even despots know it. But actually identifying despotism can pose a certain difficulty — which despots also know, and they’d surely like to keep it that way. Hence Encyclopedia Britannica’s Despotism, a ten-minute Erpi Classroom Film on how a country slides into that eponymous state.


Umberto Eco Makes a List of the 14 Common Features of Fascism

≡ Category: History, Literature, Politics |15 Comments

Creative Commons image by Rob Bogaerts, via the National Archives in Holland
One of the key questions facing both journalists and loyal oppositions these days is how do we stay honest as euphemisms and trivializations take over the discourse? Can we use words like “fascism,” for example, with fidelity to the meaning of that word in world h


How to Recognize a Dystopia: Watch an Animated Introduction to Dystopian Fiction

≡ Category: Literature, Politics, Sci Fi |2 Comments

Literature and film can open up to the depth and immensity of social truths we find profoundly difficult, if not impossible, to articulate.


The Cast of Hamilton Sends a Strong Message to Mike Pence (After the Crowd Jeers Him)

≡ Category: Current Affairs, Politics, Theatre |22 Comments

When Mike Pence entered the Richard Rodgers Theatre to see Hamilton Friday night, the crowd booed him.
When the play ended, the cast sent Pence off with a special message. Speaking for the cast, Brandon Victor Dixon, the actor who plays Aaron Burr, said this:
You know we have a guest in the audience this evening.


Philosopher Richard Rorty Chillingly Predicts the Results of the 2016 Election … Back in 1998

≡ Category: Literature, Philosophy, Politics |20 Comments

Twenty years ago a strong academic left in universities all over the world spoke to political culture the way that a globalized nationalist far-right seems to now. Among public intellectuals in the U.S., Richard Rorty’s name held particular sway.


Henry David Thoreau on When Civil Disobedience and Resistance Are Justified (1849)

≡ Category: Philosophy, Politics |2 Comments

History is rife with examples of oppressive governments. The present is rife with examples of oppressive governments. You can name your own examples.


High School Teacher & Holocaust Expert Suspended for Drawing Parallels Between Trump & Hitler’s Rhetoric

≡ Category: Education, History, Politics |26 Comments

Image by Bahn Mi, via Wikimedia Commons
Frank Navarro has taught history at Mountain View High School for 40 years. He’s an expert on the Holocaust, having been named a Mandel Fellow for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1997, and studied at the International Center for the Study of the Holocaust in Jerusalem.


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