New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Universal Responsibility

December 22, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Politics, Winslow Myers

“O that there were some virtue in my tears . . .” — Shakespeare

by Winslow Myers 

One of the Dalai Lama’s first principles is something he calls “universal responsibility.” However quick we are to place His Holiness on a saintly pedestal, it is only because the threshold of our own responsibility sometimes seems so very low — especially at this moment of reflection upon the massacre of the innocents in Newtown.

From a tearful President on down through the powerful talk radio demagogues to ordinary citizens, we all bear a share of responsibility for the climate of violence that is the context for the tragedy in Newton. I’m as responsible as anyone because I haven’t yet written my representative concerning my strong feelings about gun control. Great Britain endured 58 firearm murders in 2011, while America had 8,775. Great Britain banned modern handguns altogether in 1997 and studies show a slow but steady decrease in crimes involving handguns in the UK ever since. (more…)

American Paradox

December 20, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Robert C. Koehler

Something’s Wrong with the World — Can We Set It Right?

by Robert C. Koehler

“Evil visited this community today,” the governor of Connecticut said, though he might have been more accurate if he had quoted Pogo: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

This may be the hardest truth of all to swallow. But the point-blank murders of 27 people, including 20 small children as they sat in their classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School — in Newtown, Conn., as safe and secure as any community in the country — shattered, at least for some people, the illusion that all our troubles are out there, beyond our borders and our exceptionalism, and that safety requires heavily armed protection from an incomprehensible “other.”

In one of the safest communities in America, we couldn’t protect our 6-year-olds and our 7-year-olds, despite the fact that we have been waging a “war on evil” for the past decade-plus. (more…)

Standing Strong

December 17, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Jennifer Browdy

Uniting Around the Finest Values of Human Life

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

Just as people in places like the Maldives, Bangladesh and Pakistan may have shook their heads at the cluelessness of Americans who suddenly woke up to climate change when Sandy came to town, people living in hot spots of violence around the world now have every right to be shaking their heads at the collective American refusal to see and understand how, in the wake of the Newtown massacre, we are much to blame for our own misery.

The U.S. is the largest arms manufacturer and exporter in the world.  We have by far the largest military.  We are also by far the most heavily armed civilian population in the world, with some 300 million guns circulating among our population of about 300 million people.  Americans, we need to acknowledge that collectively, as a nation, we have been responsible for hundreds, and probably thousands of deaths of children worldwide through the weapons we sell abroad.

There is not a conflict in the world today that has not been fueled by American weaponry. (more…)

Stop the Violence

December 16, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, David Swanson, Politics

We Must Work for Peace if We Want It

by David Swanson

The troubled souls (generally known in the media as “monsters” and “lunatics”) who keep shooting up schools and shopping centers, believe they are solving deeper problems. We all know, of course, that in reality they are making things dramatically worse.

This is not an easy problem for us to solve. We could make it harder to obtain guns, and especially guns designed specifically for mass killings. We could take on the problem with our entertainment: we have movies, television shows, video games, books, and toys promoting killing as the way to fix what ails us. We could take on the problem of our news media: we have newspapers and broadcast chatterers promoting killing as a necessary tool of public policy. We could reverse the past 40 years of rising inequality, poverty, and plutocracy — a trend that correlates with violence in whatever country its found. (more…)

Save the Children

December 15, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Family, Randall Amster

Sadness and Hope from the Connecticut Tragedy

by Randall Amster

My eyes filled with tears as I heard the news of the mass shooting in Connecticut, where most of those killed were elementary school children. As a parent with children of similar ages, I can only nullimagine the grief of those who suddenly lost the most precious thing in their lives. And as a person concerned about the well-being of all peoples and the tenuous future of our species, I keep hearing myself think: What will it take to end the madness?

I am loath to use yet another tragedy to point out (again) the inherent violence and brutality of our society, from the exploitation of individuals to the decimation of nations. I am not eager to connect it back (again) to the human-initiated violence toward the balance of life on the planet, that vast interconnected web on which our very existence depends. I take no solace in preparing to rant (again) about the culpability of the media, the profligacy of corporate profiteers who put their wealth above everyone else’s health, or about the profound alienation and emptiness of modern life. (more…)

Good Violence, Bad Violence

July 31, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Politics, Robert C. Koehler

Mourning the Victims and Resisting the Bait-and-Switch

by Robert C. Koehler

“In the end, after he has felt the full force of our justice system, what will be remembered are the good people who were impacted by this tragedy,” President Obama said last week in Aurora, Colorado, after the shootings.

That’s probably not true.

From Charles Whitman up to the present day, the collective American memory preserves the name of the killer . . . the lone psycho, the shadow hero. We’re far too fascinated with violence not to mythologize its perpetrators. And just as we all know (because the media tell us) that there will be a “next war,” we know, oh God, in the deep churnings of the heart, that there will be more murder victims — schoolchildren, college students, shoppers, churchgoers, theatergoers, bystanders. We know because we live in a culture that tolerates and perpetuates violence. (more…)

The Batman Massacre

July 24, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Michael N. Nagler

Tell Me When You’ve Had Enough…

by Michael N. Nagler

I want to make an offer to my fellow Americans who are, like myself, reeling from the worst “random” shooting the country has ever seen. My question: Have you had enough? Because if you have, I can tell you how to stop this kind of madness. I know that’s a bold claim, but this is not a time for small measures.

We cannot fix this tomorrow, because we didn’t cause it yesterday. We have been building up to this domestic holocaust since — to take one milestone — television was made available to the general public at the conclusion of World War Two.

If you are still with me, you are prepared to believe that it was not a coincidence that this massacre took place at the scene of an extremely violent, “long-awaited” movie. Psychologists have proved over and over again that — guess what — exposure to violent imagery produces disturbances in the mind that must, in course of time, take form in outward behavior. (more…)