The Trump administration and defining down the acceptable

There is a sociological concept, succinctly described in a 1993 essay for the American Scholar by Daniel Patrick Moynihan entitled “Defining Deviancy Down,” that the level of perceived crime, or anything considered unacceptable, is constant over time, regardless of whether the true level of crime increases or decreases. In other words, a society of saints…

The Trump video in context: Why nothing should change

By now most people have read about and/or watched the disturbing video of Trump bragging about his ability to force himself on women (I wonder how long the Washington Post had that one tucked away…).  New shock waves about how someone so crass and so lacking integrity could get so close to our highest office.…

The Conundrum of Hegemony

The question of the United States’ role in the world, particularly with international institutions, has emerged as a common theme in this electoral cycle.  And while this theme is a common discussion, this time is particularly unique because it highlights the intrinsic tensions between a hegemonic power exercising its influence and contributing to its own…

Why the Russians would hack the DNC

Accusations that Donald Trump and Putin have some kind of mastermind plan to steal the election by hacking the Democratic National Committee’s servers are flying around, fueled by Trump’s relentless need to be outlandish at every turn.  While I don’t dispute the idea that the Russians might have some greater plan to affect the election,…