Reinhold Niebuhr was one of the 20th century's greatest theologians and philosophers. One of his most influential works was the 1932 classic Moral Man and Immoral Society.
The title may be a bit misleading as Niebuhr wasn't convinced that human individuals were necessarily all that moral--it's just that we are even more dangerous when we're in groups. Compared to group behavior, human individuals seem pretty harmless.
As he put it,
In every human group there is less reason to guide and to check impulse, less capacity for self-transcendence, less ability to comprehend the needs of others and therefore more unrestrained egoism than the individuals, who compose the group, reveal in their personal relationships.
In his view, one of the (many) tragic features of human life is that we are social animals and need others in order to survive and thrive. Group orientation can bring out the best in people, but it can just as easily bring out the worst. I'll be looking at some over his ideas over the next little stretch. Stay tuned.
WHILE TEA PARTIERS PROTEST high taxes, most Americans paid less than at any time since 1950.
UNEMPLOYMENT. This report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recommends a moratorium on interest payments for states that borrow from the federal government to fund unemployment insurance.
URGENT UPDATE ON HOW SOME DINOSAURS GOT TO BE SO BIG here.
GOAT ROPE ADVISORY LEVEL: ELEVATED