John Buell

John Buell has a PhD in political science, taught for 10 years at College of the Atlantic, and was an Associate Editor of The Progressive for ten years. He lives in Southwest Harbor, Maine and writes on labor and environmental issues. His most recent book, published by Palgrave in August 2011, is "Politics, Religion, and Culture in an Anxious Age." He may be reached at jbuell@acadia.net

Articles by this author

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Sunday, September 16, 2001
Apocalypse Now?
In apocalyptic tones, the media now tell us that life will never be the same after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon. They are surely right in one sense. Plane travel is already more difficult and major buildings more militarized. Extensive intrusions into our privacy are more likely. But this rhetoric invites another question.
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Saturday, September 01, 2001
Corporate Crime or Business as Usual?
Fresh out of graduate school 25 years ago I was offered a job as a summer intern by Erwin Knoll, the editor of The Progressive magazine. Erwin could be cantankerous and opinionated, a quality that often surfaced in his regular PBS appearances during the last years of his life. Nonetheless, he was a brilliant and articulate observer of our political economy. Conversations about corporate morality within our offices were at least as illuminating as any graduate school seminar.
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Tuesday, August 28, 2001
Nature, Technology and Stem Cell Politics
George Bush is confident he has crafted a complete solution to the stem cell controversy, one that faithfully reflects nature and the sanctity of human life. Advocates of stem cell research are appalled by the limits he has imposed. They are confident that this research offers the possibility not merely of progress against disease but even of quantum leaps in longevity.
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Tuesday, July 31, 2001
Global Warming vs. Our Economic Health
Last week, I was struck by a curious coincidence. On the day the Bush administration condemned the rest of the world for global warming agreements, the Environmental Protection Agency issued another insistent warning on smog for coastal Maine.
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Sunday, January 07, 2001
A Party Pulled Apart: New Democrats Lose Touch with True Base
Immediately following Richard Nixon's resignation, President Gerald Ford famously proclaimed, "Our long national nightmare is over." Yet Watergate's causes lay in more than the paranoia of one man, and his resignation did not purge the body politic. Vietnam-era wounds exacerbated by economic insecurity, cultural conflict and racial polarization have never fully healed. The extraordinary postelection saga in Florida did more to illuminate if not to exorcise these issues and concerns than a bland and tedious campaign.
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Monday, November 06, 2000
Weighing Electoral Risks
If politics is governed by an iron law, it is its very unpredictability. Citizens and commentators all see as through a glass darkly. We can and must make generalizations about politics. Nonetheless, the patterns we discern are at best rough approximations of a world that is itself subject to unexpected shocks and disruptions. The corollary of systemic unpredictability is that there is no politics without risk.
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Tuesday, August 01, 2000
Economic Chance and Estate Taxes
Proposals to repeal the estate tax come wrapped in paradoxical symbolism. The poster children are family farmers who purportedly cannot pass their farms along to their children. The symbolism is poignant, but the economic system conjured up, one of equal economic opportunity, is being destroyed not by estate taxes but by vast concentrations of wealth and power.
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Tuesday, July 18, 2000
Looking At Democracy And US Presidential Debates
Political science 101 tell us that U.S. electoral laws favor a two-party system. Single-member districts and winner-take-all elections reduce the leverage of minor parties. Earlier insurgencies have been unable to dislodge these foundational electoral principles. Yet the two-party system is sustained by more than winner-take-all electoral laws.
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Tuesday, June 20, 2000
Is Gore Really The Lesser Evil?
Are progressives irresponsible in supporting Ralph Nader? Won't they enable a Bush presidency, just as liberals' aversion to Hubert Humphrey helped elect Richard Nixon? As a Nader voter, I accept the importance of this question. Nonetheless, I am not convinced that progressives today must support Al Gore to avert social catastrophe.
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Saturday, April 01, 2000
Revisiting Canadian Health Care
With health costs escalating and complaints mounting, politicians promise us a fresh look at health care reform. One hopes the promise will be kept. One old tale needing reexamination is the now virtually axiomatic wisdom that the failure of the Canadian health system "proves" single payer alternatives won't work. I would argue that, to the contrary, the Canadian experience clearly demonstrates that single payer systems remain the most equitable and efficient in the world.
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