Mark Hanson http://mtpr.org en Genes And Politics http://mtpr.org/post/genes-and-politics <p>Why do people vote the way they do?&nbsp; If we are supposedly rational, self-interested beings, why, for example, do so many people dependent on government programs vote for Republican politicians so bent on eliminating their benefits?</p><p></p> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 16:47:11 +0000 Mark Hanson 22042 at http://mtpr.org On the Ownership of Public Lands http://mtpr.org/post/ownership-public-lands <p>Few topics in the West stir up controversy more quickly than public lands—those places all Americans own together. &nbsp;The latest headline involves some Utah county commissioner planning an ATV rally on public lands of archeological importance.&nbsp; While some people see public lands management as federal land grabs and liberty restrictions, others value public ownership as protection for places from private exploitation.&nbsp; But what does it really mean to own these lands?</p><p></p> Wed, 25 Jun 2014 21:14:37 +0000 Mark Hanson 21059 at http://mtpr.org American Oligarchy http://mtpr.org/post/american-oligarchy <p>When asked to name one idea that would change the world, venture capitalist Tom Perkins responded that wealthy Americans who pay more taxes should get more votes.&nbsp; Pay a million dollars in taxes, get a million votes.&nbsp; His audience laughed.&nbsp; But Tom Perkins, a very wealthy man, wasn’t joking.&nbsp; The sad fact is that, in a certain respect, his wish has already come true.</p><p></p> Fri, 25 Apr 2014 17:05:10 +0000 Mark Hanson 18184 at http://mtpr.org Beware of Common Sense http://mtpr.org/post/beware-common-sense <p><strong>Beware of Common Sense</strong></p><p></p><p></p> Thu, 27 Feb 2014 22:12:53 +0000 Mark Hanson 15576 at http://mtpr.org The War on Poverty http://mtpr.org/post/war-poverty <p>Fifty years ago President Lyndon Johnson, in his State of the Union address, declared an “unconditional war on poverty.”&nbsp; Last night, President Obama took the same stage once again to highlight the tragedy of poverty perpetuated by obscene and corrosive inequalities.&nbsp; Given the half century between these speeches, it would be easy to conclude, as President Reagan did already in 1988, that the war on poverty is over and, as he put it, “poverty won.”&nbsp; But that’s the problem with persistent and complex challenges:&nbsp; we’re too easily tempted to buy into the stories that let u Thu, 30 Jan 2014 15:26:29 +0000 Mark Hanson 14322 at http://mtpr.org Humility: The Forgotten Virtue http://mtpr.org/post/humility-forgotten-virtue <p>On New Year’s Day, many of us make resolutions to do certain things for self-improvement.&nbsp; The ancient Greeks thought that becoming a better person was the product of taking on certain traits of excellence, called virtues, traits like courage and justice.&nbsp; One learns virtues by imitation:&nbsp; imitate a good person, and you will become a good person.</p> Thu, 02 Jan 2014 17:09:42 +0000 Mark Hanson 13151 at http://mtpr.org The Collapse of Compassion http://mtpr.org/post/collapse-compassion <p>We’ve seen the fateful video many times.&nbsp; Dallas, November 22, 1963.&nbsp; You see the turning of his head, a wave of the hand, that big smile erupting under bright eyes, and that broad shock of hair parted right to left.&nbsp; At that moment, he doesn’t know that it is the last time he will ever smile.&nbsp; And that unknowing, in that smiling moment, of what will happen next . . . Fri, 06 Dec 2013 17:57:39 +0000 Mark Hanson 12074 at http://mtpr.org A Harvest for All http://mtpr.org/post/harvest-all <p><strong>A Harvest for All</strong></p><p>We reap a bountiful harvest.&nbsp; Many Montana kitchens fill with aromas of applesauce simmering on stovetops and later, pumpkin pies and Thanksgiving turkeys.&nbsp; We stock pantry shelves with garden bounty.&nbsp; If nothing else, we sit down tonight to dinner and have the luxury of not thinking about hunger until the morning—most of us, that is.</p><p></p> Thu, 07 Nov 2013 21:09:56 +0000 Mark Hanson 10791 at http://mtpr.org It’s about Democracy http://mtpr.org/post/it-s-about-democracy <p>If you think the current standoff in Congress over the government shutdown is the failure <em>equally</em> of both sides to negotiate a compromise, suppose the party roles were reversed.&nbsp; A Republican president is confronted by a Democratic House speaker whose most liberal party wing refuses to fund the government unless the president agrees to a single-payer, government-funded health care system.&nbsp; We all know Republicans would howl that this is government by extortion, which it is.&nbsp; Give a minority the laws it wants, or everybody suffers.&nbsp; If President Obama gives in to Thu, 10 Oct 2013 16:08:20 +0000 Mark Hanson 9504 at http://mtpr.org The Costs of Fear http://mtpr.org/post/costs-fear <p></p><p>September 11, 2001, is often called the Pearl Harbor of our generation.&nbsp; Like our response to Pearl Harbor, we rallied ourselves to face a dangerous enemy.&nbsp; Unlike Pearl Harbor, we suffered a blow targeting innocent civilians, designed to elicit fear.&nbsp; And fear is a dangerous thing.&nbsp;</p><p></p><p> While remembrance of the victims is our primary task for today, we do them no dishonor by also reflecting on some of the moral costs of the fear that day inspired and the lessons we might still learn.</p><p></p> Fri, 13 Sep 2013 20:53:34 +0000 Mark Hanson 8272 at http://mtpr.org