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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  

August 2019

Women?s Uneven Progress Globally



The treatment of women from the beginning of our species has been shaped by biology: female humans generally smaller than males, physically weaker, and hampered by childbirth and lactation. Even hunter-gatherer tribes, whose survival depended upon mobility, learned to space between births. A woman on the move can carry only one or two children.

After agriculture replaced hunting/gathering, when humans settled in villages, towns, and city-states, spacing childbirth more...

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Our Security Clearance Gap


We recently learned that President Trump insisted that his son- in-law and daughter, both of them senior advisors in the White House, be given security clearances despite denial by the Intelligence Services. This raised a red flag with Trump?s former chief of Staff and chief White House lawyer, both of whom kept memos of this decision.

Our presidents do have the right to award security clearances to any members of their staffs and cabinet, but this president lied that he i more...

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July 2018

Clash of Civilizations


Western Civilization does not have all the answers to those wanting a perfect society. Even the excellent American Creed (everyone is an equal citizen under the law) does not have all the answers, but both are far better than any other older, traditional civilizations.

Modern intellectuals do not like to repeat what seems to be the arrogance of 19th century Europeans and Americans who looked down on all other cultures. We shudder at the notion that only White people of No more...

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Michael V Hayden: The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies

Penguin Press, NY 2018., Random House, 2018.

Reviewer: Laina Farhat-Holzman

The unexpected election of Donald Trump to the presidency in 2016 has spurred a library of new books explaining to the public how America?s most important institutions work and why we have them. This particular president has little patience for institutions that may constrain his authority, which differs from the norms followed by most of our former presidents, regardless of political part more...

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Valentine's Day Has Religious Enemies


It is difficult to believe that a holiday as seemingly benign as St. Valentine's Day could arouse hatred, but it does. This dubious but nice Catholic holiday commemorates an early saint who provided dowry money to deserving but poor girls. But when romantic love (choosing one's spouse) became the norm in the 18th century Western world, this holiday morphed into one of courtship. Young people sent sweet and often anonymous messages or cards to the object of their affection. This practice more...

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September 2017

Identity Politics?


We have heard the term "identity politics" a great deal during the last presidential election campaign. Hillary Clinton. in almost every speech, listed the identities of every possible group that needed to be defended against the attacks of Candidate Trump. She and the Democrats would protect Gays, Blacks, Transgendered people, Muslims, women, Hispanics, the deaf, the handicapped, and seniors. This was a demonstration of her care for people who needed protection, government protection if more...

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The Past and Future of Work

There are people in the lesser-developed parts of the world who do work that our modern societies have long forgotten. Women and children live atop mountains of garbage that they sort through to find anything that can be sold for a few pennies. In India, women sort through slag heaps from coal-mines to find a few pieces of coal that can still be used for fuel.

Miners in China, Latin America, and Africa do not live as do our modern miners, whether coal or other minerals, who are u more...

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Liberal or Illiberal Democracies, What Are They?


My vigilant husband has called my attention to my use of the term "Liberal Democracy." Many readers, even when college educated, are not familiar with that term. The word "liberal" suggests a political position, such as left-leaning. So in this column, and in future ones, when I use the term Liberal Democracy, I will spell out what it really means.

Liberal in this case means Liberty, or freedom. That freedom is provided by a division of power in the government (President, more...

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December 2016

Tradition!

In Fiddler on the Roof, Tevya, the milkman, a poor Jewish villager trying to survive in Tzarist Russia, is faced by societal changes that he resists with all his might. Tradition is his shield and protection from what he sees as chaos.

Of course, there are limits to how much one can resist the present. Around the world, and even in our own country, there are people who resist the present, or, rather, resist some of the changes of the present. They cherry pick.

The more...

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