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Payam Boruman | Madonna / politicalcartoons.com

Against Charity ~ Daniel Raventos & Julie Wark

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Angelina Jolie visits refugees in 2012. UNHCR / Flickr

Rather than creating an individualized “culture of giving,” we should be challenging capitalism’s institutionalized taking.

Mathew Snow, Jacobin

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https://www.booktopia.com.au/http_coversbooktopiacomau/big/9781849353045/against-charity.jpg 08.25.2015 | Imagine you came across a child drowning in a small pond and you were the only one around to help. You could easily save the child by wading in, although doing so would ruin your clothing and shoes. But if you don’t, the child will die.

It’s a no-brainer — you should save the child. Would the answer be any different if there were others around who could also help? No. Should it make any difference if the desperate child wasn’t directly in front of you? No.

Mathew Snow is a graduate student in philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh.

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Series | A Nation Under Trump: Part 1 - What has the GOP learned since Trump's election?

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President Donald Trump in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington Oct. 13 (CNS/Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

  • The Series: As the anniversary of Donald Trump's election as president of the United States approached, the NCR staff wondered if the calls to action that persisted immediately following the election remained as urgent.
  • Part 1: This is what the Republicans have learned: Their winks at racism helped keep alive some of the ugliest impulses in American culture, and all it took was someone like Donald Trump to throw a match onto the kindling. If they do not find a way to distance themselves from this man, and drive a different message to their core supporters, the fire will consume them too.

Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter (NCR)

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Nov 1, 2017 | Next week marks the first anniversary of the election of Donald Trump as the president of the United States. In one sense, we have learned very little about the man in the past year. He governs as he campaigned: mercurial, thin-skinned, populist, ill-informed, disdainful of democratic traditions and norms, narcissistic. This is who he is and none of us should be surprised.

But, in another sense, we all have learned important things in the past year, things about ourselves and our country, as we have watched our political system bend in the strong winds of the Trump presidency. In the next few columns, I will look at what we have learned and today, I begin by asking: What have the Republicans learned?

Michael Sean Winters covers the nexus of religion and politics for NCR.

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“You're F*cked': How Pouncing on Mistakes Helps the Right Escape Moral Responsibility

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  • I’ve argued before that the right wants to muddy up moral distinctions when it’s their actions that are under scrutiny. They say, in effect, “nobody’s perfect” in order to minimize their sins and even to excuse treasonous actions.
  • Related: When Feeding the Homeless Becomes a Crime

Jonathan Malesic, Religion Dispatches

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December 20, 2017 | If you make a mistake, another mistake, there is a very severe possibility that you’re both going to get shot,” says a cop to the man and the woman lying face down on the floor of a hotel hallway. It’s a video, with the camera sitting on the shoulder of another cop who has an AR-15 rifle trained on the man, making the scene look like a first-person shooter game.

The woman follows the hyper-specific orders—“You are to push yourself up to a kneeling position…. Crawl toward me”—and gets handcuffed. A moment later the man, wearing a T-shirt and nylon shorts, no shoes, is crawling on the carpet as the cop demands. He’s sobbing and seems drunk. “Please do not shoot me,” he asks. As he crawls, he’s trying to keep his left foot crossed over his right foot, exactly as the cop told him to.

Then he makes another mistake, and the police, true to their word, immediately gun him down.

Jonathan Malesic is a writer in Dallas. He is the author of Secret Faith in the Public Square: An Argument for the Concealment of Christian Identity (Brazos Press, 2009). His essays on religion, work, and education have appeared in The New Republic, America, the Washington Post, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and other publications. He has a Ph.D. in religious studies from the University of Virginia and is currently writing a book about the spiritual costs of the American work ethic.

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Related:

When Feeding the Homeless Becomes a Crime, Jon Miltimore, Intellectual Takeout 

More than a dozen people were arrested in El Cajon, California, attempting to distribute food to the homeless. 

 

I Don't Think the Moral High Ground Exists Anymore

 

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  • Some thoughts on Al Franken's departure.
  • Related: Franken is no victim as he leaves the Senate.

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Charles P. Pierce, Esquire / Portside 

December 7, 2017 | I was going to let Dahlia Lithwick’s angry, lucid account in Slate of the end of Al Franken’s senatorial career speak for me, since Lithwick said everything I felt about this tawdry episode, and probably better than I could. Especially this part:

"Is this the principled solution? By every metric I can think of, it’s correct. But it’s also wrong. It’s wrong because we no longer inhabit a closed ethical system, in which morality and norm preservation are their own rewards. We live in a broken and corroded system in which unilateral disarmament is going to destroy the very things we want to preserve."

Charles P. Pierce is a staff writer for Grantland and the author of Idiot America. He writes regularly for Esquire, is the lead writer for Esquire.com’s Politics blog, and is a frequent guest on NPR.

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Franken is no victim as he leaves the Senate, Editorial Board,  Minneapolis (MN) Star Tribune

  • He deserves credit, however, for a decision that's best for Minnesota.
  • Related: Al Franken has to go.
     

 

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