So far, we’ve only reviewed Dangerous at Disability in Kidlit; we’re unfortunately unable to vouch for the others. Hopefully this list will still prove useful to some, though—and if you’ve read any of these, please pitch in with your thoughts!
“Slavery was not only an economic and industrial system,” one scholar noted, “but more than that, it was a gigantic police system.” Over time the South had developed an elaborate system of slave control. The basic instrument of control was the slave patrol, armed groups of white men who made regular rounds. The patrols made sure that blacks were not wandering where they did not belong, gathering in groups, or engaging in other suspicious activity. Equally important, however, was the demonstration of constant vigilance and armed force. The basic strategy was to ensure and impress upon the slaves that whites were armed, watchful, and ready to respond to insurrectionist activity at all times.
- Carl Bogus, The Hidden History of the Second Amendment (via publius-esquire)
The news: A new scientific study from Princeton researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page has finally put some science behind the recently popular argument that the United States isn’t a democracy any more. And they’ve found that in fact, America is basically an oligarchy.
An oligarchy is a system where power is effectively wielded by a small number of individuals defined by their status called oligarchs. Members of the oligarchy are the rich, the well connected and the politically powerful, as well as particularly well placed individuals in institutions like banking and finance or the military.
For their study, Gilens and Page compiled data from roughly 1,800 different policy initiatives in the years between 1981 and 2002. They then compared those policy changes with the expressed opinion of the United State public. Comparing the preferences of the average American at the 50th percentile of income to what those Americans at the 90th percentile preferred, as well as the opinions of major lobbying or business groups, the researchers found out that the government followed the directives set forth by the latter two much more often.
It’s beyond alarming. As Gilens and Page write, “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” In other words, their statistics say your opinion literally does not matter.
That might explain why mandatory background checks on gun sales supported by 83% to 91% of Americans aren’t in place, or why Congress has taken no action on greenhouse gas emissions even when such legislation is supported by the vast majority of citizens.
This problem has been steadily escalating for four decades. While there are some limitations to their data set, economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez constructed income statistics based on IRS data that go back to 1913. They found that the gap between the ultra-wealthy and the rest of us is much bigger than you would think…
Sometimes I cry a whole day I care a lot, use an analog clock And never know when to stop And I’m passive, aggressive I’m scared of the dark and the dentist I love my butt and won’t shut up And I never really grew up
They tell us from the time we’re young To hide the things that we don’t like about ourselves Inside ourselves I know I’m not the only one who spent so long attempting to be someone else Well I’m over it
[Chorus:] I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are (secrets are) I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are (secrets are) So what So what So what So what I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are (secrets are) I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are (secrets are) So what