New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Expanding Bike Programs

June 15, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Economy, Jay Walljasper

A Modest Proposal in a Time of Shrinking Budgets, Soaring Gas Prices

by Jay Walljasper

Gas prices have raced toward four bucks for the second time in three years. So it’s more crucial than ever to find quick, enduring ways to free our nation from over-dependence on oil.

Millions of Americans suffer when prices at the pump rise, because they have no alternative to driving almost everywhere they go. We need to create a transportation system that will not be held hostage by volatile fuel prices.

Here’s some good news: Over the past few years, simple infrastructure improvements (bike paths, lanes, etc) making it more convenient and safe for people to bike and walk have been constructed coast-to-coast. Cities from New York to Minneapolis to San Francisco have enjoyed 100 percent or more increases in the number of people biking to work, school, and shopping. (more…)

Educating for War No More

May 23, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Harry Targ, Politics

Resisting Militarism in Our Schools

by Harry Targ

I have been thinking a lot lately about “ideological hegemony” — how and why we think about the political world in the ways we do. I do so not to add another layer of theory to an already complex set of arguments about economics and politics. Nor am I interested in immobilizing political activists. Rather, I think progressives need to think about how to challenge the ideas that most of us are supposed to accept and believe.

Of course, the primary public institutions that transmit ideas and ways of thinking to people, from the start to the end of their educational careers, are schools. Our friends on the Right know how important it is to shape schools at all levels. Early in this century I remember hearing Rush Limbaugh say on one of his radio programs that “the only institutions we do not yet control are the schools.” With this as a goal, just the other day we read stories about Koch brothers’ money financing faculty positions at Florida State University in economics (presumably Marxist or structural economists need not apply). (more…)

Performative Contradictions

May 12, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Politics, Winslow Myers

Revenge Is Self-Defeating, and War Brings Terror

by Winslow Myers

Our euphoric national mood in the wake of the assassination of Osama bin Laden may make for a reluctance to look once again, or perhaps for the first time, at his demands. There has been almost nothing in the mainstream press that examines his motivations for terrorism.

We prefer a bogeyman of pure evil, because this does not require the kind of introspection suggested by the Society of Friends: what is it in my own inner condition, or that of my country, that might play a part in leading to a phenomenon like bin Laden?

In an extensive 2002 letter to the American people printed in the British publication the Observer, bin Laden laid out his specific justifications for horrific violence against innocents.

He began by citing passages from the Koran that give permission to Islamists to fight “disbelievers.” Immediately this sets up a pathological context, because it contains what philosophers call a performative contradiction: he proclaims Islam as a universal religion, but his vision is radically exclusivist. His illusion is that a universal God is on the side of pure Islam against impure or non-Islamists. (more…)

Obama Bags Osama

May 03, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Politics, Randall Amster

But Will It Bring Peace, or More War?

by Randall Amster

President Obama’s shocking May Day announcement that Osama bin Laden has been killed and his body captured promises to usher in a new era of U.S. foreign and domestic policies alike. But what will this portend in actual practice? The implications for the future are potentially staggering in their full import, and they turn initially on how this seminal event will undoubtedly be used to justify U.S. policies that have defined the recent past.

In his announcement, President Obama demonstrated how different he is in temperament (if not policy making) from his predecessor, George W. Bush. Coming eight years to the day after the infamous “Mission Accomplished” speech — and, coincidentally, falling on the 66th anniversary of the announcement of Hitler’s death — Obama’s rendering contained none of the misplaced bravado (“Bring It On”) or glorification of misery (“We Got Him!”) that defined the previous administration. Instead, the President spoke in measured terms about justice, courage, and American resolve in the face of grave challenges. (more…)