Jeff Zavadil

Jeffery Zavadil received his PhD from Arizona State University and his MA from Penn State, both in political theory, earning multiple academic awards and fellowships. He currently blogs as tribune 2.0 at www.starsthroughthestorm.blogspot.com and is writing a novel of green political fiction. In addition to teaching college-level political theory, he taught English in South Korea and served as a youth mentor with Big Brothers/Big Sisters. He currently works for the US State Department and been an intelligence analyst since 1998, first with the US Army Reserve and then the Defense Intelligence Agency.

We Have Met the Barbarians, and They Is Us

Our dominant cultural image of barbarians is of filthy, illiterate, bloodthirsty brutes: imagine a fur-clad, lice-infested savage ferociously raiding a village, axe in one hand and torch in the other, who then heartily celebrates with a flagon of ale and a giant roasted leg of some animal or another.  Barbarians are noted for their contempt for and domination of the weak, yet barbarians are also admired for their brawn and tenacity: think of Continue Reading...

Dear Conservative

I'm a liberal, a progressive, some would even call me a socialist.  And I don't stay awake at night thinking of ways to take your freedom. I don't stay awake planning a war on Christmas.  Or Easter, either. I don't stay awake thinking of ways to give your money to lazy people. I don't stay awake plotting how to ruin families. I don't stay awake thinking of how to drive the Continue Reading...

How Should One Live in an Unjust System?

While most of what I write focuses on topics of political and philosophical interest to me in an effort to help change how people think and thus, in the long run, change the world, the personal ethics of the writer, philosopher, and activist are a necessary topic to explore too.  If one finds oneself living in unjust times, how should one conduct oneself?  That question may seem like it has an easy response: "As best as one Continue Reading...

America’s Political Filters: A Veto on Majority Rule

I have observed America’s political system for 25 years now waiting for some progressive legislation to help deal with our many social, economic, and environmental problems.  The last real liberal program was enacted in the 1960s with the Voting Rights and Civil Rights Acts and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society.  A few times since then watered-down laws have been passed, such as the Americans With Disabilities Act (of 1990!) or Continue Reading...

Demographic Change Is Not Enough

Much has been made since last year's election of demographic shifts in America and their effects on our politics.  Pollsters, pundits, and politicians have all pointed out that the racial, ethnic, and gender makeup of America is evolving.  Soon whites will be just one of a number of minority groups, bringing an end to the politics of fear and resentment on issues of race, sex, gender, and secularism, which has been used so Continue Reading...

Non-Reductionist Materialism, Part I: What Is It?

I would now like to discuss reductionism, which I think is one of our society’s conceptual blockages to moral and social progress.  Reductionism is a form of analysis based on taking things apart and examining the small pieces to determine their properties, in order to create a description of how larger things function in terms of their smaller components.  It is also sometimes called the resolutive-compositive method: as when one Continue Reading...

Moral Interconnectedness

Humanity needs a consensus on a new outlook, a new ethic, to deal with the challenges that we have created for ourselves.  The pioneering environmentalist Aldo Leopold 70 years ago called for a "land ethic" to expand our sense of moral community to include mother nature, and we are lagging far behind in doing so.  Leopold, like nearly all environmentalists, clearly saw how human beings are connected to and dependent on other Continue Reading...

The Work Ethic Isn’t Very Ethical

America's traditional commitment to the so-called work “ethic" strongly and negatively affects our political culture, and is a major barrier to achieving real democracy and a healthy, egalitarian economy and society.  It is perhaps the fundamental driver of our stingy, cruel politics: it creates a reflexive aversion to the set of government programs denigrated as "welfare" and vilification of anybody who turns to Continue Reading...

If Only We Could Fire CEOs for Firing Workers to Protest the Election

Democratic wins in the 2012 elections have led conservatives to moan, ridiculously, that America is becoming a land of lazy welfare recipients dependent on government: Bill O’Reilly complained that people voted for Obama because he’s supposedly giving them “stuff,” and interpreted this as a rejection of the “traditional” American ethos of the White Protestant Work Ethic.  He said, “People feel that Continue Reading...

The Costs of Counteracting Climate Change

Environmentalists have long argued that the costs of doing nothing about climate change would far outweigh the costs of averting it -- as one would expect from the degradation of the basic environmental context in which all human activity occurs.  Once the biosphere is ruined, so will we be.  Doing nothing about climate change is like failing to install ventilation in a factory where corrosive vapors accumulate and then wondering why it Continue Reading...

Why Do Bad Economic Ideas Persist?

Protests have erupted in Greece and Spain over austerity measures, which are bound to keep those economies depressed far longer than a large Keynesian booster-shot of government spending would.  As liberal economists argue, as history shows, and as common sense indicates, cutting spending for the working class and taxes for the rentier class is not a recipe for economic strength.  While Ireland and the other Continue Reading...

Iceland’s Anti-Austerity “For the Win”

Iceland For The Win!  Bloomberg Businessweek, hardly a den of Leftist Big Government, reported that Iceland’s approach to economic recovery -- government social programs and legal punishment for the financial elites who drove the country into crisis -- is propelling the country to economic health and widespread prosperity: Iceland holds some key lessons for nations trying to survive bailouts after the island’s approach to its Continue Reading...