Politics Mind Matters Articles

Human behavior in a post-rational world

  • Forget the Pilgrims, We Have Lincoln to Thank for Thanksgiving

    Before shopping and football, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving to be a holiday for American solidarity.

  • Why Environmentalists Should Try to Change Laws, Not People

    How do you get people in a democratic society to change their way of life? The theme has come up a lot at gatherings of climate scientists and environmentalists I've attended, where the answers fall on a...

  • More Schools Mean Fewer Women

    It's a truth universally acknowledged around the world that education is good. The higher a people's schooling, goes the mantra, the better its economic progress, political prospects and gender equality. ...

  • Tired of the Tea Party?

    Then check out these guys. The "coffee party" had about 29,000 Facebook "fans" on the morning of March 1, according to this New York Times story. By the same afternoon, that number was up to 40,000. Late last...

  • No, Fort Hood Was Not "Islamic Terrorism"

    Jury selection starts this week in the trial of Scott Roeder, who has confessed to the assassination last May of George Tiller, a doctor vilified by pro-lifers for performing late-term abortions. (There's a trial...

  • Lest You Harbor Any Crude Stereotypes About Islamic Countries . . .

    Pakistan's Chief Justice has ordered the government to recognize a third gender, so that the nation's 80,000-300,000 hijras may fully exercise their civil rights. Hijra is a term from a different system of...

  • Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab: Utterly Typical Terrorist?

    Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man accused of trying blow up Northwest Flight 253 to Detroit, is in many ways the very model of a modern terrorist. Like many al-Qaeda members, he was raised in privileged...

  • Time to Eat the Cat?

    More cuddly holiday season news: According to two architects who specialize in sustainable-living solutions, it takes twice as much land-use in a year to keep a medium-sized dog fed as it does to run a Toyota Land...

  • Health Care Reform: Don't Stop Worrying About Tomorrow . . .

    The U.S. Senate passed the health-care overhaul this morning, which means there's probably only one very risky step left before some sort of reform becomes law: reconciliation of the House and Senate bills. ...

  • Maybe Big Problems Need Small Solutions

    Last week's New Yorker contained this mind-opening piece by Atul Gawande, who argues that muddling through with small-bore trial projects is not a bad response to the crisis in U.S. health care. "Where we crave...

  • The In-Crowd Is Feeling Dissed in DC

    Maureen Dowd has all the steadiness and heft of a tin weathervane, but like a weathervane she can point which way the wind is blowing in Washington. And her column today suggests the self-flattering elite that...

  • Deadly Realism

    Expectations for the Copenhagen summit next month are dropping like a cartoon anvil. Where once there was talk of a comprehensive international accord on cutting greenhouse-gas emissions, now the great global...

  • Why Are We in Afghanistan?

    Matthew Hoh thinks there is no good reason. And his opinion is significant, because he is the U.S. Government's Senior Civilian Representive in the Afghan province of Zabul -- or was, until he resigned last...

  • The Myth of Prevention

    In the raging debate over healthcare here in the U.S., there is one point on which everybody, from Newt Gingrich to Barack Obama, seems to agree: We should be spending more to prevent expensive diseases from...