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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  

February 2020

World Crises in Leadership

At the end of the Cold War, the world seemed hungry for political freedom. The Nazis and Soviet Union had been discredited, and the United States seemed to be the world?s model. To our credit, at least for a short time, we mentored a number of countries that had never known freedom to try participatory governance.

When I ran the United Nations Association in San Francisco, delegations of wanabe democracy national groups were shepherded through our office for a presentati more...


All Countries Have Underbellies

For the past 10,000 years, since our ancestors gathered into settled communities based on farming and trade, the pecking order of power was: rulers (or one ruler) on top, priests dealing with the gods, soldiers defending the community under the leadership of the ruler, merchants and traders bringing in the money, and laborers doing the heavy work of farming and digging irrigation systems or roads. Below that last group were women and slaves (mostly the same thing). India?s ancient caste system i more...


The Trumpification of Revenge

Our Judeo-Christian faiths tell us that "vengeance is the Lord's," one of those religious admonitions usually violated more than observed. Jesus enlarged that issue by urging "turning the other cheek," again, a rule rarely obeyed in our long human history.

But in modern Western Civilization, rule of law has replaced personal or clan vendetta. We trust to the courts for redress, and have become accustomed to seeking justice rather than vengeance. However, in some, their "id" (the more...


Book Review: Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig: A Very Stable Genius:

A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump's Testing of America
Reviewer: Laina Farhat-Holzman

The election of Donald Trump to the presidency has unleashed a flood of books about him. His rise to this position is unprecedented, considering his lack of political experience, his dismissal of norms of behavior observed by his predecessors, and his ignorance of issues that other presidents have mastered, or at least have advisors who can help him.

His political riva more...


Providing National Security Advice to President

National security, since the time of President Harry Truman, has been the most essential duty of the President of the United States. It is designed to consider the complexity of formulating rational policies for how the country behaves in a dangerous world. Unlike the process in dictatorships, the President must not "shoot from the hip." We should elect presidents who have judgment, knowledge of history, and the ability to weigh multiple options.

The National Security Coun more...