5 Best Monday Columns

On conservative women and feminism, the future of biotechnology, and more

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  • J. M. Bernstein on the Very Angry Tea Party  Flexing his analytical muscles, the New School for Social Research professor examines the philosophical underpinnings of the Tea Party movement. Bernstein discerns a "fierce logic" beneath the movement's political raison d'etre, despite contradictions in its policy proposals: "the absolute dependence of us all on government action" is quickly eroding the "deeply held fiction of individual autonomy and self-sufficiency that are intrinsic parts of Americans’ collective self-understanding." He muses, "The implicit bargain that many Americans struck with the state institutions supporting modern life is that they would be politically acceptable only to the degree to which they remained invisible, and that for all intents and purposes each citizen could continue to believe that she was sovereign over her life. Recent events have left that bargain in tatters."
  • Christoph Westphal on Biotechnology's New Frontier  Writing in the pages of the Boston Globe, the biotech entrepreneur gazes confidently into a possible future of wondrous advancements in biotechnology. Given the advancements of the past several decades, Westphal is convinced that "cures developed over the next three decades should change our lives even more deeply." Regenerative medicine and the discovery of genetics-based controls for aging are only two of the most significant reasons for hope. "After converting several fatal illnesses into chronic diseases, biotech could in the next 30 years bring an even more powerful revolution."
  • Steven F. Hayward on How to Think About Oil Spills  Writing in the Weekly Standard, the American Enterprise Institute fellow provides a course correction to those experiencing a rapidly deteriorating view of the oil industry. "The extraordinary nature of this platform spill is no excuse to take leave of reason, or avert our gaze from thinking seriously about risk tradeoffs," writes Hayward. Switching entirely to ethanol can be just as dangerous, as "it is possible to point to an ethanol-related environmental calamity in the Gulf every year." In order to find a balance between safety and economic efficiency, Hayward advises Americans to stop panicking over the Deepwater spill cam and rationally consider the risks and benefits of oil production.

  • Timothy Egan on Insults Across the Water  Following the result of Saturday's World Cup game between the U.S. and England, the New York Times contributor comments on the growing contentious relationship between the two countries, namely in regards to the way each are treating the oil spill in the gulf. He says, "If the world’s most popular sport is war by other means, then let’s keep it on the pitch. For the other conflict appears to be a monumental misread on the part of the British." He continues to describe the "muddled" mindset of each country in regards to what the other thinks. "As to what specifically angers the Brits about the American response to the BP spill, they point to Obama’s answer to a question about whom to hold accountable. They can’t fathom that the pundit class in the United States thinks our leaders have been too timid, too cool, too restrained. A sound bite to please the Washington magpies is hardly akin to stepping on the Union Jack. After all, the English burned our capital."
  • Ross Douthat on Conservative Women and Feminism  With the recent emergence of Republican female candidates, most endorsed by Sarah Palin, the New York Times columnist brings to light the question of whether Palin's "mama grizzlies" can be considered feminists, even though what they stand for is a far cry from feminist ideals. He says, "The question of whether conservative women get to be feminists is an interesting and important one. But it has obscured a deeper truth: Whether or not Palin or Fiorina or Haley can legitimately claim the label feminist, their rise is a testament to the overall triumph of the women’s movement."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.