Mark Hanson

Commentary - July 16th, 2014
10:47 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Genes And Politics

Why do people vote the way they do?  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?

Read more
Commentary - June 18th, 2014
3:14 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

On the Ownership of Public Lands

Few topics in the West stir up controversy more quickly than public lands—those places all Americans own together.  The latest headline involves some Utah county commissioner planning an ATV rally on public lands of archeological importance.  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.  But what does it really mean to own these lands?

Read more
Commentary - April 23rd, 2014
11:05 am
Fri April 25, 2014

American Oligarchy

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.  Pay a million dollars in taxes, get a million votes.  His audience laughed.  But Tom Perkins, a very wealthy man, wasn’t joking.  The sad fact is that, in a certain respect, his wish has already come true.

Read more
Commentary
3:12 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Beware of Common Sense

Beware of Common Sense

Read more
Commentary - January 29th, 2013
8:26 am
Thu January 30, 2014

The War on Poverty

Fifty years ago President Lyndon Johnson, in his State of the Union address, declared an “unconditional war on poverty.”  Last night, President Obama took the same stage once again to highlight the tragedy of poverty perpetuated by obscene and corrosive inequalities.  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.”  But that’s the problem with persistent and complex challenges:  we’re too easily tempted to buy into the stories that let us off the hook.

Read more
Commentary - January 1st, 2014
10:09 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Humility: The Forgotten Virtue

On New Year’s Day, many of us make resolutions to do certain things for self-improvement.  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.  One learns virtues by imitation:  imitate a good person, and you will become a good person.

Read more
Commentary - December 04, 2013
10:57 am
Fri December 6, 2013

The Collapse of Compassion

We’ve seen the fateful video many times.  Dallas, November 22, 1963.  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.  At that moment, he doesn’t know that it is the last time he will ever smile.  And that unknowing, in that smiling moment, of what will happen next . . .

Read more
Commentary
2:09 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

A Harvest for All

A Harvest for All

We reap a bountiful harvest.  Many Montana kitchens fill with aromas of applesauce simmering on stovetops and later, pumpkin pies and Thanksgiving turkeys.  We stock pantry shelves with garden bounty.  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.

Read more
Commentary - October 9th, 2013
10:08 am
Thu October 10, 2013

It’s about Democracy

If you think the current standoff in Congress over the government shutdown is the failure equally of both sides to negotiate a compromise, suppose the party roles were reversed.  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.  We all know Republicans would howl that this is government by extortion, which it is.  Give a minority the laws it wants, or everybody suffers.  If President Obama gives in to current demands, th

Read more
Commentary - September 11th, 2013
2:53 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

The Costs of Fear

September 11, 2001, is often called the Pearl Harbor of our generation.  Like our response to Pearl Harbor, we rallied ourselves to face a dangerous enemy.  Unlike Pearl Harbor, we suffered a blow targeting innocent civilians, designed to elicit fear.  And fear is a dangerous thing. 

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.

Read more

Pages