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By Royalbroil — Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18493223

A republic is a government that respects the rule-of-law. Will America’s Republican Party continue to be republican?

Part of understanding modern American politics is understanding words, and today’s word is republicanism. American politics adds a lot of complications and caveats to the historical concept, so this post will focus not on the Republican Party but on republicanism, the small-R historical notion that identifies a political ideology and a philosophy of government.

The Republican Party started in 1854 but small-R republicanism is much older than that, dating back to Greek civilization, centuries before the Roman Empire. The essence of republicanism is…


Thank you Jeff. The news on this topic seems so one sided it is wonderful to get your viewpoint, a platform perspective, and a perspective that the platforms struggle to provide for themselves.

How much harm do you think has been done by Google's capitulation? WIll this destroy the web, as per Sir Tim's most dire predictions?


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Banned from Social Media: Alex Jones, Logan Paul, Paul Joseph Watson, Milo Yiannopoulos, David Duke, Louis Farrakhan, and Donald J. Trump.

It’s too easy to take for granted the structures that support accountability, just as we take for granted our democracy. Now is the wrong time for that.

Pick up nearly any book from your bookshelf and you can find, both on the cover and in the first few pages, the identity of the author and the publisher. For anyone with enough experience with books to read this article, it would be hard to make an observation less remarkable. Through years of conditioning, we take this information for granted. Yes it is a convenience to help you recognize books you might…


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@realDonaldTrump. Source: Twitter

To understand the power of new media, it is useful to consider Trump before and after he was “deplatformed,” his banishment from Twitter and other social media platforms. President Trump was banned after inciting a deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capital on 6 January 2021. His final tweets are no longer available on Twitter, but these authentic digital reproductions preserve the historic presidential communications for the benefit of my readers:


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Excerpt of Section 230. Source: www.govinfo.gov

President Trump and President-Elect Biden have one thing in common: a interest in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. As a candidate, Biden suggested Section 230 should be revoked, and Trump cited revocation in his rationale for vetoing the National Defense Authorization Act. Section 230, also sometimes referred to as “the liability shield”, prevents online services like Facebook and Twitter from being treated as the publisher of third-party content. That means, unlike publishers, they can’t be sued or otherwise held liable for problematic content, apart from a few narrow exceptions such as copyright violations.

Section 230, sometimes known as…


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The Cow Pock. Source: Wikipedia.

For those who object to vaccination there is a natural alternative. However, nature is not always kind.

When a highly contagious viral infection like COVID-19 takes hold of a population, the only way to defeat it is by reducing the R- number, the average number of new people infected by each individual who gets the disease. When the R-number is less than 1.0, the infection is in decline, with remission statistically assured as long as the R-number does not rise. Two ways to reduce the R-number are immunity and isolation. Immunity generally means you’ve either had the disease already or…


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Photo by Desmond Hester @DezHester on Unsplash

I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.

— Thomas Jefferson to William C. Jarvis, 1820.

Some think of the Enlightenment as a period between the Middle Ages and the Industrial Revolution, but I see Enlightenment as a project that remains unfinished. To support my assertion I would call out…


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The USS Maddox. Source (public domain)

In the wake of the U.S. Presidential Elections there is a great deal of attention on political disinformation and the potential for antagonists, both domestic and foreign, to disrupt the public’s capacity for fact-based reason, a facility at the foundation of our democracy. Given the sensationalism of some coverage, a naive reader might be misled to believe that disinformation was invented by the Russians for the purpose of electing President Trump. In reality, disinformation has a rich history. In previous posts I’ve explored disinformation as a phenomena outside of politics, for example, consumer disinformation and religious disinformation. I’ve argued that…


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Photo credit: Brad Chen

The COVID mask represents a conflict between liberty and duty that spans the arc of American history.

During a pandemic of a respiratory illness like COVID-19, wearing a mask helps reduce the spread of the disease by disrupting the diffusion of airborne droplets produced during normal activity like talking. Masks are a key part of the program of public safety that has allowed countries like China and Germany to manage the COVID pandemic and return a degree of normal economic activity. …


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Fact checking is like a car fire. It’s good to extinguish the flames, but the car is still totaled. Image Source

In this era of ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’, fact checkers are working overtime to keep up with the brutal pace of the 2020 Presidential race. After the Vice Presidential debate between Kamala Harris and Mike Pence, FactCheck.org produced over ten pages of material identifying false and misleading statements by both candidates. These efforts are necessary, heroic even, and yet there are very basic problems with such remediation. Here are five ways that fact checking fails to defend the truth:

Problem 1. First impressions count. For the many people who won’t even bother consulting secondary sources, the original false statement…

J. Bradley Chen

Exploring American politics from the view of an engineer.

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