New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


March 13, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Michael N. Nagler, Politics

Morality Is Too Important to Be Left to Politicians

by Michael N. Nagler

Coming as it did in time for International Women’s Day, the decision of legislators in Virginia, to require women seeking an abortion to undergo a vaginal probe and see ultrasound images of their unborn infants has aroused considerable outrage.  And controversy.

Some (mostly Democrats) see it as an invasion of women’s privacy, if not technically a kind of rape, while others (mostly Republicans) say, with the conservative Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, “This law is a victory for women and their unborn children. We thank Gov. McDonnell and Virginia’s pro-life legislators for their work to ensure that women have all the facts and will no longer be kept in the dark about their pregnancies.”

I have a modest proposal that would resolve the issue.  (more…)

Muscular Empathy

January 18, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Family, Guest Author

‘The Heart that Breaks Open Can Contain the Whole Universe’

by Viral Mehta

Bullying at schools has become a huge issue. In looking for innovative solutions, Canadian educators turned to a unique classroom program called Roots of Empathy. At the heart of the program, now being implemented in 1,400 schools, lies this insight: When you put an infant and its parent in the center of the classroom, children start to sensitize themselves to the baby’s intentions and emotions. The results that ripple out are unambiguous: a measurable reduction in levels of aggression among schoolchildren.

The program is successful because it fosters the development of empathy, supporting children in tapping into an unconscious part of themselves. The baby becomes a catalyst in helping kids identify and reflect on their own feelings and the feelings of others. How can we do this in our own lives? By consciously creating circumstances in which we can cultivate within ourselves a “muscular empathy.” (more…)

The Arc of the Moral Universe

September 26, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Politics, Randall Amster

Justice May Be Just Around the Bend

by Randall Amster

Let’s face it: things are bad and getting worse every day. Even a casual glance at the daily headlines provides ample reason for dismay, from perpetual warfare and the ravages of climate change to economic collapse and the abject brutality of the “criminal justice” system (a cruel misnomer if ever there was one). It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, a millenarian, or even an avowed cynic to surmise that the ship is sinking and that actual justice is but a faded memory.

Still, despite all evidence to the contrary, I maintain that we might not be as bad off as it seems. This isn’t an exercise in wide-eyed optimism, strategic denial, or the power of positive thinking. Rather, it is reflective of what I take as an inexorable impulse in nature — and thus within humankind, as part of its workings — toward productive, sustainable, and ultimately just relations at all points in the web. In short, I want to suggest that life is good, and that it matters. (more…)