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"Tradition?? The only good traditions are food traditions. The rest are repressive."

"There are two ways to think. The first is to trust to your ancestors, your religious leaders, or your charismatic professors. The second is to question, to challenge, to explore history for meanings, and to analyze issues. This latter is called Critical Thinking, and it is this that is the mission of my web site. "

Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman  

November 2019

The Paranoid Style in History

Paranoia is a psychological ailment in which a person believes that everyone is out to get him. Many paranoids believe that there are hidden enemiesburied deeply in society (deep state) who are responsible for their own miseries. They believe that the elites (the educated and/or the wealthy) deliberately keep the poor and miserable from thriving.

The latter category are not psychologically afflicted, but are rather victims of manipulators who play upon the "unfairness" of those i more...

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Disrespect for Truth



We already know that President Trump has no respect for truth. He lies every time he speaks, and what we need is a running banner on the television screen that truth-checks as he speaks.

As annoying as this is, the disrespect for truth has gone beyond this one man. Around the world, particularly in the more traditional (lesser-developed) countries with more than 50 percent illiteracy, there is little acceptance of facts as a source of truth. Dictators and authorita more...

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September 2019

Disrespect for Truth



We already know that President Trump has no respect for truth. He lies every time he speaks, and what we need is a running banner on the television screen that truth-checks as he speaks.

As annoying as this is, the disrespect for truth has gone beyond this one man. Around the world, particularly in the more traditional (lesser-developed) countries with more than 50 percent illiteracy, there is little acceptance of facts as a source of truth. Dictators and authorita more...

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The Rebirth of Fascism

Two political systems were born early in the 20th century: Fascism and Communism. They behaved as enemies throughout the century, although they shared a common goal: defeat of liberal democracies. In retrospect, however, they shared more qualities than differences.

To discuss these movements, definitions are needed. Liberal democracies (United States, Britain, France) had political systems that provided for regular changes of leadership through elections; equal power among head of more...

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March 2018

Two Books Explore "What Ifs" in History


The extraordinary closeness of our 2016 presidential election is getting plenty of attention. Very few political analysts at the time predicted that Hillary Clinton could lose the election. Even Donald Trump didn?t really believe that he would win, which was obvious in the choice of a modest venue for the election night party. Analysts are just beginning to explore the "what ifs" of this moment in history.

What if they overlooked the rising tide of people left jobless by more...

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August 2016

Book Reviews: Nazi Issues

Erik Larson, In The Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler?s Berlin, Crown Publishers, 2011

Barry Rubin & Wolfgang G. Schwanitz, Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, Yale University Press, 2014.

Mary Elise Sarotte, The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall, Basic Books, 2014.
Reviewer: Laina Farhat-Holzman

By Laina Farhat-Holzman

These three books treat one important more...

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Genocide extends back 7,000 years.

Archaeologists have just found a 7,000-year-old Stone Age mass gravesite outside of Frankfurt, Germany! This horrifying find erases what we had always thought about human behavior at the beginnings of agriculture and village life. Genocide has a long human history, but we didn?t know that it was that early in the agricultural revolution when population density could not have been large enough to provide for organized warfare.

This is just one of a number of similar mass graves. T more...

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July 2015

Putin Has His Own Private Assassins

I don?t know how many of you remember the story of the "Sorcerer?s Apprentice," charmingly done in the Disney film Fantasia. Mickey Mouse played the Sorcerer?s apprentice, tasked with sweeping out the house. The lazy rascal found the master?s book and tried his hand at magic, turning the broom into an army of brooms who swept and went to the well, nearly flooding the house and coming close to drowning Mickey until the Sorcerer returned and put things to rights, punishing the foolish apprentice.< more...

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