Archives

Public Miscasts Mainstream Media as Villains

November 11, 1999

“Public Miscasts Mainstream Media as Villains” USA Today, (November 11, 1999), page 17A.
There is a new villain of choice in Tinsel Town. Last week, movie theaters unveiled The Insider, a movie in which a TV network is the bad guy.
The film is based on a true story. An insider -- the former head of research and development at Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., a major tobacco company -- was set to tell all to the audience of the top TV news magazine, 60 Minutes. But CBS corporate bosses demanded that the whistleblower interview be squelched. Mike Wallace and the show's executive producer, Don Hewitt, buckled and broadcast a heavily censored and much weakened report.

Back to the Pillory?

November 01, 1999

“Back to the Pillory?” The American Scholar, Vol. 68, No. 3, (Summer 1999), pp. 43-50. Published in part as “Shaming Crominals: An Alternative Punishment,” Current, No. 417, (November 1999), 7-11.

Plumbing the Depths–er, Shallows–of American Mass Culture

September 21, 1999

“Plumbing the Depths–er, Shallows–of American Mass Culture,” Washington Post Book World, September 21, 1999, p. C3.
Are our tastes waning, or are we experiencing a vast democratization of high culture, given that masses are flocking to museums, classical music sales are booming, chamber music quartets are springing up all over?

The Monochrome Society

September 13, 1999

Various demographers and other social scientists have been predicting for years that the end of the white majority in the United States is near, and that there will be a majority of minorities. CNN has broadcasted a special program on the subject;(2)President Clinton has called attention to it in national dialogue about race relations;(3) and numerous books and articles in recent years have addressed America's changing demography from vastly different--and frequently antagonistic--perspectives.

Communitarian Elements in Select Works of Martin Buber

July 13, 1999

267. "Communitarian Elements in Select Works of Martin Buber," The Journal of Value Inquiry, No. 33, (July 1999), pp. 151-169.

I. Background and Focus

I was a high school dropout who chose to join the army and fight to drive the British out of Palestine and face the Arab invasions that followed during what is known as the Israeli war of independence. When the war ended, I enrolled in a brand new institution that Martin Buber had just created in Jerusalem, dedicated to training teachers for adults. 

The Truths We Must Face to Curb Youth Violence

June 09, 1999

Conservative Republicans are right when they tell us, in response to the tragedy in Littleton, that "gun control will not solve the problem of youth violence." Liberal Democrats are right when they claim that it is ludicrous to assert that parents and educators could solve the problem by bringing up kids right.

Podium: Rational Privacy Doctrine

May 17, 1999

“Podium: Rational Privacy Doctrine” The National Law Journal, (May 17, 1999), page A21.
Our rights are constantly being recast. For example, the right to free speech meant much less before 1920, and the constitutional right to privacy did not exist until 34 years ago. This is why I dare suggest major changes in legal doctrines governing privacy in public and private lives.

A Contemporary Conception of Privacy

May 13, 1999

The headlines remind us almost daily that privacy is endangered, but there are times when our commitment to privacy endangers public health and public safety. Frequently, the common good is neglected to protect privacy. Good societies carefully balance individual rights and social responsibilities, autonomy and the common good, privacy and concerns for public safety and public health, rather than allow one value or principle, to dominate. Once we accept the concept of balance, the question arises as to how we determine whether our policy is off balance and in what direction it needs to move, and to what extent, to restore balance.

The Good Life

May 09, 1999

A recent, very tempered debate between William A. Galston and Robert P. George brought into relief the importance of a concept neither employed, that of the good society.

Privacy Isn’t Dead Yet

April 16, 1999

“Privacy Isn’t Dead Yet” The New York Times, (April 6, 1999), page A27.
It seems self-evident that information about your shoe size does not need to be as well guarded as information about tests ordered by your doctor. But with the Federal and state governments' piecemeal approach to privacy protection, if we release information about one facet of our lives, we inadvertently expose much about the others.

Less Privacy is Good for Us (And You)

April 09, 1999

Despite the fact that privacy is not so much as mentioned in the Constitution, and that it was only shoehorned in some 34 years ago, it is viewed by most Americans as a profound, inalienable right.

Protecting Privacy: Personal View of Amitai Etzioni

April 09, 1999

“Protecting Privacy: Personal View of Amitai Etzioni” The Financial Times, (April 9, 1999), page 18.
Sweden is suing a US airline for collecting lists of passengers who ordered Kosher meals or wheelchairs. The American company is selling such information to various marketers. The lawsuit reflects the fundamentally different perspectives Europe and the United States have on privacy. This gulf is highlighted by recent demands that American companies must abide by the new EU Data Privacy Directive as of October 1998, or--the EU will block the flow of information about personal transactions (credit cards, employment records) of European citizens to the USA. Such a boycott would make work and commerce damn near impossible for numerous corporations that work on both sides of the Atlantic.

Privacy on the Internet? Don’t count on it

March 29, 1999

“Privacy on the Internet? Don’t count on it” The Boston Globe, (March 29, 1999), Page A15.
Most Americans are troubled by their loss of privacy on the Internet and are groping for new safeguards.
In response, business associations are offering to regulate themselves. The associations encourage members to arrange their Web sites so that a visitor can readily ascertain what privacy policy a particular corporation employes. Individuals are then said to be free to avoid those Web sites that unduly keep tabs on them.

Medical Records: Enhancing Privacy, Preserving the Common Good

March 09, 1999

The privacy of medical records, which contain highly intimate information that people legitimately are keen to keep from others, often is violated.

Kristallnacht Remembered: History and Communal Responsibility

February 12, 1999

“Kristallnacht Remembered: History and Communal Responsibility”Commonweal, (February 12, 1999), pages 12-15.
I am bound by history and duty, and by my personal journey to face again a very well known subject. As with the story of Passover, slavery and the ten plagues, and the liberation that followed forty years of purification in the desert--repeated and restudied every year in the Jewish tradition--so we must acknowledge, remember, and learn from the past. Whether it isKristallnacht (November 9), Auschwitz Liberation Day (January 27), or a specific time to reflect on slavery (February in the United States), we must use ritualized occasions to focus our shared memories and to draw lessons from them about collective guilt and how to deal with it.