Category Archives: Politics

Cramming Goodness into a Box

My story on Duke Professor Ruth Grant is now online at the University of Chicago Magazine. An excerpt: “There is no form of goodness that’s good in every situation,” Grant says. “Nobody is a perfectly good person.” Whether someone can … Continue reading

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The Barriers to Action

This video is a good companion to my previous post. Here political activist Dave Meslin talks about the barriers that keep us from working to change the status quo, even when we want to change it. He’s talking about agitating … Continue reading

Posted in Becoming Good, Politics | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

The Ethics of Taking the Risk Out of War

War is an inherently unethical pursuit. Even a “just” war involves death on a massive scale. Even if you believe that some people should be killed, the too politely named “collateral damage” kills innocents. But at least in war each … Continue reading

Posted in good vs. evil, Politics | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Is Goodness Possible Without Empathy?

Penn State Sociologist Sam Richards just took attendees at a TED conference on an experiment in empathy. Richards argues that sociology is impossible without empathy, but I think his radical experiment also shows something else: Goodness, at least in the … Continue reading

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The Ethics of Politics

One of my favorite Zen teachers, Judy Roitman, has written a column about ethics in politics. It’s well worth reading. Here’s a bit:

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Gov. Scott Walker and Goodness

A comment on the Facebook In Search of Goodness page has prompted me to consider whether or not Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is a moral man. I’m swamped today with other work, so I’m interested in your take on these … Continue reading

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Wisconsin and Goodness

What the GOP just did in Wisconsin is a travesty, and it’s frightening. I suspect that Wisconsin’s Republican governor and legislative leaders think of themselves as being good. I’ve covered legislatures, and I doubt that few lawmakers would take such … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Practicing Goodness | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Civil Conversations

I launched The Goodness Project because I wanted to understand how I could become good, but I also had a much broader goal in mind: Exploring whether/how goodness can  help us create a better world. It has taken me nine … Continue reading

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Responding to Bullets with a Civility Institute

The University of Arizona has responded to the Tucson shooting by launching a high-profile National Institute for Civil Discourse, with former presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush as honorary chairs. At first the idea of responding to bullets with … Continue reading

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Owning Our Dark Side

Sometimes I think I sound like a wimp in political arguments. I’m forever talking about the mistakes and frailties of my own side, instead of slamming full speed into the weakness of my political opponents. Conducting an all-out assault on … Continue reading

Posted in good vs. evil, Politics, Practicing Goodness, religion | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

JFK, Tucson and Fear

In the wake of the Tucson shootings and liberal concerns about political rhetoric, our honorable opposition on the right has taken to yelling, “FOUL!” Right-wing commentators claim that progressives’ concerns about rhetoric aren’t real concerns; they’re politics. This scream has … Continue reading

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Coming Attractions

Finally, I’m finishing up the long-promised post about the Tucson shootings. The post is called “JFK, Tucson and Fear,” and I’ll publish it tomorrow.

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Taking Time To Think

My immediate reaction to the Tucson shootings was to post the instant I heard, except that the only thing I wanted to do was to howl with fury and point fingers. I was spitting fire, and I could think of … Continue reading

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Brene Brown Answers My Questions

Storyteller and social work researcher Brene Brown has just answered the central questions of my quest for goodness, or at least most of them. I have asked: What is goodness? What enables human beings to be good? What trips us … Continue reading

Posted in Becoming Good, Goodness Personified, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Goodness and Courage

The Senate just voted 65-31 to repeal the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell ban on lesbians, gays and bisexuals serving openly in the military. I’m speechless. My face is wet with all the losses we’ve suffered. And I’m remembering those I … Continue reading

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