New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Neither Victims nor Executioners

October 03, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Current Events, Michael N. Nagler

Building a Movement Through Constructive Programs

by Michael N. Nagler

The execution last week of Troy Davis by the State of Georgia on the International Day of Peace was a painful blow to all sensitive people — really to all humanity, not to mention our prestige as a nation. Whatever may have been the “correctness” of the legal procedures leading up to it, it must seem to many no better than a legalized lynching.

Scholar René Girard, with his keen insights into the all-too-prevalent dynamic of scapegoating, ancient and modern (the latter more disguised but no less deadly), often cited lynching as a thinly disguised institutional form of that deadly reflex held over from (even) more barbaric times. By the sheer irrationality of its logic, the death penalty in the United States (and wherever else it is held over) must qualify as ritual. Homicides slightly increase in states where the penalty is reintroduced, and killing in order to show that killing is wrong does not deserve the name of logic. (more…)

Making a Killing

September 23, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, David Swanson, Politics

Troy Davis and Our ‘Pro-Life’ Government

by David Swanson

Wednesday evening, when the news was mistakenly announced that Troy Davis would not be killed, the crowd that I was with erupted with joy and with the enthusiastic realization that we all were capable of believing that something good had been done by our government.  I was at the dedication of the Howard Zinn room in the new Busboys and Poets restaurant in Hyattsville, Maryland.

Some of us had been assigned to read selections from the late Zinn’s “Voices of a People’s History of the United States.”  I was asked to read John Brown’s courtroom speech in which he said, “Now if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children, and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments, I submit: so let it be done!” (more…)