Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Indivisible - Daniel Webster and the Birth of American Nationalism: a conversation with Author Joel Richard Paul


Indivisible - Daniel Webster and the Birth of American Nationalism: a conversation with Author Joel Richard Paul

Professor Joel Richard Paul

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Daniel Webster and the Birth of American Nationalism

Daniel Webster was at the center of the great issues that defined his times. He was opposed to slavery, vehemently opposed the Indian Removal Act - that ended in the notorious and, illegal, Trail of Tears - with fellow congressman Davy Crockett; argued consistently for freedom of religion and the protection of religious minorities. Yet even today an ambivalence exists about him that reflects a judgment of him based on current standards.

In his book Indivisible: Daniel Webster and the Birth of American Nationalism, historian Joel Richard Paul seeks to draw our attention to the two most abiding principles of Webster: Freedom - that drove his belief that slavery was wrong, and Union, without which securing freedom for slaves in the southern states would not be possible and without which America could not fulfill its most promising ideals.

Paul makes a convincing case that Webster was the force that gave birth to the to the belief that we were Americans, not merely Virginians, or Pennsylvanians or New Hampshireites; That the Constitution of the United States was the thread that wove us together and gave us common cause.

Joel Richard Paul is a Professor of Constitutional and International Law, University of California Hastings College of the Law; Author, Indivisible: Daniel Webster and the Birth of American Nationalism

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Rediscovering Our American Song

 The Radical Centrist Podcast introduces "Rediscovering Our Song"

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Three months of innovative ideas for renewing our Democracy

Introducing an in-depth examination of ideas for Rediscovering the American Song. For the next three months, we will be talking with some of the most innovative thinkers in the country, particularly those who have ideas for rebuilding a sense of community, both locally and nationally.

Most of our lives and the culture(s) of America are built around the stories we tell ourselves and one another. We'll take a look at some of those stories and ask ourselves if there is another, better story to tell. One that unites us, one that opens up new avenues for our future; one that builds a sense of hope and purpose for every American, beyond the dividing lines of race, religion, income, and geography.

It's no secret that I believe there is an American song inside nearly all of us, the folks we will be interviewing will reveal some of their most interesting and innovative ideas for drawing that song out.

This is our moment . . . other "generations" of Americans have had theirs: before and after the Revolution; After the Civil War; during and after the Gilded Age; During the New Deal; and during the Civil Rights era.
Americans are ready to feel good about themselves and to feel hopeful about their future. We can make it happen but we have to shed some of the baggage of the past. We have to listen to one another; to meet our neighbors, near and far, "where they are" and seek out ways to move forward together. We will not always agree. That's what Democracy is all about - sometimes raucous, sometimes gracious - but as long as we can listen to one another there is always a path forward. To borrow an age-old quote: "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness."

I hope you'll join us by subscribing to InDepthNH.org's newsletter. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of one or more episodes of "Rediscovering Our Song" you can contact me, (waynedking9278@gmail.com) and we will find the best way to acknowledge your sponsorship during the Podcast.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Who Owns the Wind - A Conversation with David McDermott Hughes


Who Owns the Wind?: Climate Crisis and the Hope of Renewable Energy 

A Conversation with David McDermott Hughes 

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David McDermott Hughes is a Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University in New Jersey. His book "Who Owns the Wind?: Climate Crisis and the Hope of Renewable Energy," is one of the most important books of the past five years addressing the existential crisis of climate change; One of the reasons that we feature our interview with David Hughes for the "Rediscovering Our Song" series - the focus of The Radical Centrist podcast for the next three months. 
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In 2015 Hughes found himself frustrated with the slow pace of building out a renewable infrastructure that would permit us to decarbonize our economies. His interest in wind energy led him to decide to study the problem by identifying an area where it seemed that they were making better progress than the rest of us. He choose a village in the Andalusia region of Spain and a town pseudonymously named "Serano" for the purpose of the book.

Hughes expected to find that life was all rainbows and unicorns in Serano as they retooled for a greener future. What he discovered was quite different. The local folks were not in favor of the towers; at least not at first blush. Further research led him to conclude that  there was more to the story pointing to a sense that they were being victimized by the process, Being asked to sacrifice for a future that saw few or no benefits for them.  It led to the conclusion that economic justice was an important part of the equation for creating a carbon-free future.

Today, Hughes remains cautiously optimistic about the hopes for wind energy but he insists that we will fail in our efforts to decarbonize our energy production if we fail to take into account the need for all the people to share in the gains of the transition. The answer to the question posed by the book: "Who Owns the Wind?" is that we should all own the wind but that ownership must be paired with an eye toward justice. Only then will we be able to achieve the sustainable energy build-out that  is necessary to succeed in the race to sustain a liveable world. Renewable wind and solar power, energy, compromise and justice,  ALL are necessary components of success.

By bringing his expertise in anthropology to the tableau, Hughes helps us understand the people who are caught in the middle of the fight for a livable world - to truly see them, to truly hear them.  His nuanced, sensitive and innovative approach offers us a way forward. It's no wonder that Naomi Klein said this about "Who Owns the Wind:  “David Hughes is doing some of the most innovative thinking and writing about energy democracy in the world. The movements for climate justice are in his debt.”