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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 2017

Is Saudi Arabia Heading for Disaster?

Saudi Arabia is a unique nation-state: a kingdom named for its ruling family, the Sauds. The Saud tribe joined forces with the leader of the Wahhabi religious cult in 1744 and gradually conquered all other tribes. Their modern existence as a kingdom began in 1930, when Abdulaziz al Saud became absolute monarch, succeeded one after another by six of his sons from his first wife.

The modern Saudis solidified their hold on rule by marrying into all the other major clans in more...


One World or Back to Tribalism?

The past few centuries have seen the rise of the nation-state, countries defined by a common language, often a common religious identity, and a strong central rule. Out of that process came Spain, France, Great Britain, and the United States of America. Other nation-states emerged in the 19th century: Germany, and very late, Italy.

Before nation states, the western world was divided into kingdoms---some fairly large, and others (such as Spain and France) divided into mult more...


Gender Wars in Perspective

An obnoxious Hollywood mogul, a man who for decades sexually harassed seemingly every female who came in range, has been named, condemned by everybody, and even fired from the successful film company that he founded.

A once beloved comedian, Bill Cosby, now in doddering old age, has been outed as a sexual predator of young women whom he was supposed to be mentoring.

A conservative Fox Network executive and a popular show host on the same network have both b more...


Democracy Cannot Have One Hand Clapping!

When our country was being created, our first president, George Washington, tried to avoid having political parties. He saw that as factions, something that created many problems in old Europe. However, political parties were inevitable. Great minds may agree to disagree on matters of policy, yet do so using the democratic principle of voting.

The first parties were represented by Thomas Jefferson, a Democratic Republican (ancestor of the Democrats) and John Adams represe more...