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“selected by Trump purely because his pandemic position, essentially one of zero intervention, conforms to the alternate reality of Trump’s administration”

Scott Atlas, an advisor to the White House coronavirus task force, was selected by Trump purely because his pandemic position, essentially one of zero intervention, conforms to the alternate reality of Trump’s administration. A neuroradiologist and NOT an expert in infectious diseases, he was recently rebuked by the usually restrained Fauci as lacking “insight or knowledge or experience” for the advisory role. Atlas appears to be pursuing a libertarian ideology in ensuring all his analysis conforms to a worldview that is wholly anti intervention. …

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Since the 90s the outrageous and confrontational have come to occupy a very large part of a media that is increasingly structured towards presenting what’s loud and divisive. Social media and cable news is led by characters who appeal to particular identities often through mocking and demeaning the identity of others. Studies have shown how the most critical posts on social media get the most shares, likes, and comments.

An important experiment that flipped the twitter feed of 1,220 regular Twitter users for one month, demonstrates the effects of this polarizing content on opponents. The exposure led users who identified…

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“What historical trends are indicating must …be re-examined in terms of the polarizing conditions that are in effect now”

History is often used to predict political futures. There’s been a lot of that of late concerning Trump’s re-election chances. Polling behind Biden is one thing, but Biden having led all 40 national polls conducted in May is a more portentous sign entirely. That such a feat has not been done against an incumbent since Jimmy Carter in 1976 would seem to confirm its historical integrity. Even more historically significant is that Biden is now the only challenger ever, since polling…

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Perhaps the biggest problem that we have in critical thinking is the historical side-lining of emotions.

Mind/body and reason/emotion dichotomies, which separate and elevate one side of these oppositions over the other (i.e. mind over body, reason over emotion), prevail in apparent forms of rational public debate and in our programs of mass education. Yet this overlooks the intelligence in emotions, which offer a heuristic account of our innermost concerns.

The philosopher Robert Solomon, describes (albeit in a paradoxically overly rationalistic manner) how ‘contempt’ is a form of hostility that incorporates “an essential judgement of marked superiority”. The Judge can feel contempt for the defendant but the defendant cannot…

All around us are signs of a desperate need for a society that can understand itself: from the pandemic of shifting uncertainties to those who seek to dispel it through quackery and wishful thinking; from encroaching climate change brought on by a carbon heavy system that cumulatively grows beyond its own possibility to those that deny it as conspiracy; from a ruling economic philosophy that atomises humanity to a demagogue who exploits division; from a polarized electorate oblivious to the socio-historical origins of their own biases to the mass delusion of self-proclaimed ‘critical thinkers’, ‘free thinkers’, and ‘truth-seekers’ — ironically…

An evocation of a class perspective remains absent from climate advocacy and debate. Emission disparities are routinely hidden by headline statistics referring to national emissions. Per capita and historical emissions, often used to reallocate blame to developed countries, still fit a narrative that individualises climate change responsibility.

These classless statistics conceal how each citizen is not equally responsible for their country’s emissions. In contrast, evidence gathered by Chancel and Piketty suggests the top global 1% — with a mean income of €171000 for its EU members — emit as much as the bottom 50%. …

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“Climate injustice is caused by inequalities: the most politically, culturally, and economically marginalized communities and nations use vastly less fossil fuel–based energy and bear far less responsibility for creating environmental problems than do wealthier nations and people, who use far more than is needed for a decent quality of life”

(Harlan et al., 2015, 127).

Climate change exacerbates existing vulnerabilities and inequalities. While both the poor and the rich can lie in the path of the same hurricane, or heatwave, it is the poor and the marginalised that have much less at their disposal for fending off the impact and…

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Like the financial crash of 2008, and the encroaching onslaught of climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic is demonstrative of how everything is interconnected from its spread through the globalized movement of people (to at least 185 countries) to a fatality rate that is deeply dependent on the interplay between environment, politics, science, media, healthcare systems, ICT, social equality etc. We should therefore apply a reasoning that recognizes the systemic and interconnected nature of the virus itself as well as a nuanced understanding to the contexts in which the society-virus relationship is unfolding.

This form…

Emmet Fox, PhD

Sociologist writing about society, climate change, energy transition, critical thinking, etc &

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