Benjamin Studebaker

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

Tag: Corruption

No One Should Want Trump to Be Like Andrew Jackson

Today I read that President Trump has hung a portrait of Andrew Jackson in the oval office. One of Trump’s spokespeople heaped praise on Jackson, calling him:

an amazing figure in American history — very unique so many ways

Jackson was indeed unique–uniquely terrible. Many on the left dislike Jackson because of his mistreatment of Native Americans, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Jackson was objectively and provably a disastrous president for all Americans, native or otherwise. I continue to see Trump get compared to Jackson, but none of these comparisons capture just how bad Jackson was for the country. The 1830s were so long ago that few now remember just how absurdly terrible they were. Let me tell you all about it.

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How the United States Invented a New Kind of Corruption

It’s easily forgotten that the US constitution was written to address the defects of a very specific kind of government–the 18th century European absolute monarchy. The trouble is that when we design our states to solve one very specific kind of problem, we often over-correct and create precisely the opposite sort of problem. Our minds are too aware of our recent experience. We get myopic, we fail to see how our solutions to yesterday’s problems contain within them the beginnings of tomorrow’s problems. This piece aims to detail how America’s answer to absolutism has contained within itself the foundation for many of our current political woes.

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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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Why Developed Countries Deny God

I ran across a fascinating Pew survey today about the extent to which people in different parts of the world believe that belief in god is necessary to justify moral views. It is a rare thing to get such a comprehensive look at the philosophical and theological views of people all around the world. Even more interestingly, the Pew survey reveals important relationships between the kind of society we have and the way we think about moral philosophy.

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Democratic Death Spirals

At this point, a very large number of people recognize that there are serious structural problems with the American political system, but most of these people still support American democracy in the abstract. Today I’d like to argue that this position is inconsistent, that it ignores the implications of recognizing the structural nature of the problems in the first place.

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