Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Michael Brown, Ferguson, and Implicit Racism in America

In recent weeks, everywhere I look I see pieces written by people about the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Some of the pieces support Brown, others attack Brown, all of them make explicit or implicit claims about what the incident means for America’s soul. All of them seem to take as a given that this incident tells us something we didn’t already know. The truth is that like any individual death (regardless of whether it was murder or an accident), Michael Brown’s does not tell us what the general trends are in America. All it can serve to do is highlight an issue. To understand what’s really going on, we have to look at that issue in a wider statistical context, and this piece seeks to provide that context.

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The Rick Perry Indictment Conundrum

Earlier today, I was asked for my opinion on the Rick Perry indictment. Texas Governor Rick Perry was indicted for abusing official capacity and coercing a public servant. Is there anything to the charges?

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2 Years of Blogging

Once a year, I permit myself to write a self-indulgent piece about the state of the blog near the date that marks the anniversary of my first post. I began this project on August 4, 2012, so that time has arrived. To date, I have maintained my promise to only do this once annually. I have no intention of regularly subjecting my readers to my banal self-reflections. Read the rest of this entry »

Demilitarization of the Police Requires Demilitarization of Civilians

The recent clashes between demonstrators and police forces in Ferguson, Missouri over the death of Michael Brown at the hands of police forces has many calling into question the slow, steady rate at which police forces in the United States have become militarized. If we want to stop and potentially reverse this trend, we need to understand its underlying cause–the simultaneous militarization of the civilian population.

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Misconceptions: If the West Doesn’t Intervene in Country X, it’s “Being Complicit”

Iraq. Boko Haram. Israel/Palestine. Syria. Ukraine. Libya. Kony 2012. In every one of these cases, interventionists make the argument that if we do not offer material support to their faction of choice, we are “being complicit” in whatever violent awfulness happens in these places. This is claimed as if it were self-evident. It’s not. Read the rest of this entry »

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