Friday, April 10, 2015

Who Scares Us And Why

Almost all Americans fall victim to the hype, intensity, and propaganda, that accompanies political panics. Mark Stein examines American political panics over witches, Indians, Masons, Chinese, Socialists, Latinos, Muslims, gay marriage and more. Mark closely examines just what it is that causes us as a country to overreact in the face of widespread and potentially profound changes.

Mark also wrote the screenplay for the film, Housesitter, starring Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn, and Movies-of-the-Week for CBS and NBC, starring Katey Sagal, John Ritter, Teri Garr, and Robert Urich. Mark Stein's plays have been produced off-Broadway at the Manhattan Theatre Club, and at numerous regional theatres including South Coast Repertory, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Manitoba Theatre Centre, L.A.'s Fountain Theatre and the Rubicon Theatre in Ventura, CA. Mark lives in Washington, D.C., where he has taught at Catholic University and American University.
Source: C-Span: Book Discussion on American Panic

Ronald Wright
Surviving Progress

Ronald Wright joins Piya Chattopadhyay to discuss what can be done to respond to the pressures of progress.

"Progress can do us in, or so argues British historian Wright as he embarks on a lively if meandering journey through the development and demise of ancient civilizations to determine whether our current one is doomed. By reading the "black boxes" left by departed societies (like those of the Easter Islanders, the Sumerians and the Mayans), we can learn to avoid the mistakes that led to their downfall, he suggests. Many of those errors revolve around the plundering of natural resources and the development of social hierarchies that allow elite groups to indulge in over-consumption at the expense of the masses. 

Other errors involve "progress traps," technologies or advances that, like weapons, are initially useful but become dangerous to civilization once fully developed, especially if moral and technical progress diverge. The analogy of civilization as a kind a "pyramid scheme," which, like the sales scheme, thrives only if it grows, is one of several imaginative mnemonic devices Wright uses to round out his argument. 

Today's culprit, he declares, is "market extremism," which has "cross-bred with evangelical messianism to fight intelligent policy on metaphysical grounds." This laissez-faire capitalism, he reasons, will spell the end of the planet, and our civilization, if it is not controlled. 

Wright crafts an entertaining tale of eras gone by, incorporating relevant facts on subjects as diverse as the lifestyles of early hominids and recent patterns of climate change, and demonstrating the holistic importance of natural resources to a society. And if he never specifies exactly what the proper choices for modern civilization are, or how they will bring deliverance from the coming storm, his book will nonetheless convince readers that we are at a crossroads where the right choices can still be made." ~ Publishers Weekly
Source: YouTube: Ronald Wright: Proving Nature Wrong

Download or Play American Panic Part 1
Download or Play American Panic Part 2
Download or Play Surviving Progress Part 1
Download or Play Surviving Progress Part 2

Music includes XTC - Melt The Guns, Metric - Succexy, Wildman - Like A Wave, Capitol Steps - It Wasn't Bill, Izzy Smart - Anti-Austerity Protest Song, Capitol Steps - But We Only Have McCain, Crosby / Stills / Nash & Young - Ohio, Terry Gangstad - National Institute of the Blonde, Steve Angrisano - Go Make a Difference, The Specials - Nelson Mandela, Donovan - Universal Soldier, Odetta - Don't Think Twice It's Alright, Gil Scott-Heron - Lady Day and John Coltrane, Hair - Good Morning Starshine, Monty Python - Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life, Philip Glass - Powaqqatsi, The Classical Duo - Vivaldi Guitar, Titanic Soundtrack - Nearer My God To Thee

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