The Dreadfulness of War

In our media and our culture today, there’s an unfortunate tendency to see military service as uniquely efficacious and ennobling, and to see war as necessary and even to view it as antiseptic (notably our so-called “surgical” drone strikes). But real war is dirty.  It’s as likely to infect us, to spread sepsis through our bodies…

Shooting the Gun Myths

Richard Sahn I live in Central Pennsylvania, the heart of the gun culture in the state. Guns are considered a birthright, a God-given birthright no less. The Second Amendment, of course, is interpreted literally (the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed), meaning that the Founding Fathers intended that people should have…

Bread and Circuses in Rome and America

W.J. Astore Just posted a new article to Huffington Post.  Here’s the link and the article (pasted below): The expression “bread and circuses” captures a certain cynical political view that the masses can be kept happy with fast food (think Cartman’s “Cheesy Poofs” on South Park) and faster entertainment (NASCAR races, NFL games, and the like).…

Learning from Europe’s Dark Past

b. traven On a trip to Berlin my son and I spent some of our time looking into the crannies that elude most visitors.  In Europe I have researched how some countries memorialize (if at all) their resistance to fascist occupation during World War II.  The French Resistance Museum is a disgrace!  It’s poorly lit,…

The Temptations of Drone Warfare

A recent article at NBC News is unusual in that it highlights the awfulness of war even when the killing is “surgical” and done by drones.  Brandon Bryant, a former drone operator for the Air Force, suffers from PTSD and feels that killing by drone caused him to lose respect for life, that he became…

The Dangers of Reification

Richard Sahn As a sociology professor, I’m often frustrated when I attempt to teach my students what reification is–treating or thinking of an abstract concept, usually the name of a country, state, ball team, or institution as if were a reality sui generis.  That is to say, reification is regarding an abstract concept, say the USA, as if…

What Is Terrorism?

When I entered the Air Force in 1985, I grabbed a pamphlet by Brian M. Jenkins of Rand.  The title caught my eye: International Terrorism: The Other World War.  Back then, the country was focused on the Cold War against the Evil Empire of the Soviet Union.  Jenkins suggested there was another war we should…

Of Tail Fins and Fighter Jets: Artificial Obsolescence and Economic Bankruptcy (Updated)

Harley Earl was Vice President of Styling for General Motors and considered the father of American automotive design.  Since its inception in the 1920s, GM styling was based on a concept known as “artificial obsolescence,” which involved redesigning and retooling the entire line of cars every two years so that car owners would want to…

Favorite Contrarian Quotations (1)

  Occasionally we here at The Contrary Perspective will publish quotations that have special meaning for contrarians and free-thinkers.  One of my favorite quotations comes from the Norwegian author, Arne Garborg.   For money you can have everything it is said. No, that is not true. You can buy food, but not appetite; medicine, but…