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Michael Lind


  • Originally published 06/27/2013

    Michael Lind: A No-Lose Fix for the Voting Rights Act

    Michael Lind is the author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States and co-founder of the New America Foundation.By striking down Section 4 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and thereby gutting the act’s Section 5, the Supreme Court has presented defenders of voting rights in America with a challenge—and a historic opportunity. The challenge is the need to avert a new wave of state and local laws restricting voting rights in the aftermath of the Court’s decision. The opportunity is the chance that Congress now has to universalize Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, to make it apply to all 50 states.

  • Originally published 06/12/2013

    Michael Lind: Libertarians' Weak Grasp of History

    Michael Lind is the author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States and co-founder of the New America Foundation.My previous Salon essay, in which I asked why there are not any libertarian countries, if libertarianism is a sound political philosophy, has infuriated members of the tiny but noisy libertarian sect, as criticisms of cults by outsiders usually do. The weak logic and bad scholarship that suffuse libertarian responses to my article tend to reinforce me in my view that, if they were not paid so well to churn out anti-government propaganda by plutocrats like the Koch brothers and various self-interested corporations, libertarians would play no greater role in public debate than do the followers of Lyndon LaRouche or L. Ron Hubbard....

  • Originally published 05/23/2013

    Michael Lind: Voting is Not a Right

    Michael Lind is the author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States and co-founder of the New America Foundation. Is it time, at long last, for the citizens of the United States to enjoy the constitutional right to vote for the people who govern them?Phrased in that way, the question may come as a shock. The U.S. has waged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan justified, at least in rhetoric, by the claim that people deserve the right to vote for their leaders. Most of us assume that the right to vote has long been enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.Not according to the Supreme Court. In Bush v. Gore (2000), the Court ruled that “[t]he individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States.” That’s right. Under federal law, according to the Supreme Court, if you are a citizen of the United States, you have a right to own a firearm that might conceivably be used in overthrowing the government. But you have no right to wield a vote that might be used to change the government by peaceful means....

  • Originally published 05/07/2013

    Michael Lind: Is Revolution Coming to the U.S.?

    Michael Lind is the author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States and co-founder of the New America Foundation. Will the third revolutionary wave hit the U.S. next? The revolutions in today’s world are getting ever closer to America.Revolutions tend to occur in waves, triggered by the aftermath of wars, like the world wars, or by revolutions in leading countries, like the French Revolution and the revolutions of 1848. In the last generation, there have been four regional waves of revolution. With the end of the Cold War, communist regimes were swept from power from Eastern Europe to Central Asia, surviving only in a few countries including China, North Korea and Cuba. Unable to justify themselves with the pretense of fighting communism, military dictatorships were swept away in Latin America. Then the Arab Spring triggered a wave of populist if not necessarily democratic revolutions against autocracies in North Africa and the Middle East.

  • Originally published 04/23/2013

    Michael Lind: The World is Actually More Peaceful than Ever

    Michael Lind is the author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States and co-founder of the New America Foundation. In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, it is important to keep things in perspective, by emphasizing what the mass media tend to neglect — namely, the fact that the world has become much more peaceful in recent decades and is getting more peaceful all the time.It does not diminish the horror of mass casualty attacks on civilians, in this and other countries, to point out that today’s terrorist incidents provide a counterpoint to a declining arc of political violence worldwide. Both violence among states and violence within states have diminished dramatically in the last few generations.If we look at battle deaths in the last century, the spurts in the Cold War, associated with the Korean, Indochina and Soviet-Afghan wars, were dwarfed by the huge spikes of slaughter associated with the world wars. And with the end of the Cold War came a steep decline in political violence worldwide — mainly because the two sides no longer kept local conflicts going by arming and supplying opposing sides from Latin America to Africa to Asia and the Middle East.

  • Originally published 03/21/2013

    Michael Lind: Private Sector Parasites

    Michael Lind is the author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States and co-founder of the New America Foundation. You don’t have to be a Tea Party conservative to believe that the economy is threatened when there are too many “takers” and not enough “makers.” The “takers” who threaten the dynamism and fairness of industrial capitalism the most in the twenty-first century are not the welfare-dependent poor—the villains of Tea Party propaganda—but the rent-extracting, unproductive rich.

  • Originally published 02/05/2013

    Michael Lind: The White South’s Last Defeat

    Michael Lind is the author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States and co-founder of the New America Foundation. In understanding the polarization and paralysis that afflict national politics in the United States, it is a mistake to think in terms of left and right. The appropriate directions are North and South. To be specific, the long, drawn-out, agonizing identity crisis of white Southerners is having effects that reverberate throughout our federal union. The transmission mechanism is the Republican Party, an originally Northern party that has now replaced the Southern wing of the Democratic Party as the vehicle for the dwindling white Southern tribe....

  • Originally published 01/16/2013

    Michael Lind: More Market Means More Welfare State

    Michael Lind is the author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States and co-founder of the New America Foundation. Few conservative misconceptions are more deeply rooted than the idea than the welfare state competes with the market for resources.  In fact, modern business and the modern welfare state have grown up together –and both have grown at the expense of the family.Before the industrial revolution, most production as well as most care-giving was performed within the farm household, by family members.  You churned your own butter and you cared for your children, your elderly parents and your sick spouse at home.Thanks to the development of machinery powered by mined or collected energy—be it coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear or renewable energy—most production has long since moved out of the household into mechanized factories.  You now buy your factory-produced butter in a store.