248 Comments

As I said in an earlier post, Robert, you are a gift to humanity. Thank you for sharing this important work. We need more people like you who work at the architecture level of society to help the rest of us rebuild and strengthen our base of shared fundamental values and work through the dilemmas served up by a complex world.

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The folks who need it the most are the 90% of Republicans who vote against their own economic and health interests.

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A combination of jurisprudence, good judgment, and honesty mixed with an equal measure of fair play and respect for all the people who make up our country. Blend gently with basic human trust and understanding. Bake at a temperature that will expand our horizons and full fill our dreams, happiness is the destiny of this dish. All we have to do is enjoy what we have concocted, after washing the dishes.

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Donald, I like your recipe. I suspect that even if we invite Republicans to this feast, they would claim to have something else more important to do, like watch Fox. They'd rather latch onto that misguided entity than to expand to see that there are things we have in common and that we can work together for the good of all.

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Ruth--Well said, lets not forget before Trump we were a united people with differences that had solutions. The orange guy has turned our population into a vinaigrette composed mostly of oil and water. The word of the day is "Emulsify."

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Trump is the culmination of the Gingrich philosophy of politics as a zero sum game. Remember they said their primary aim at the beginning of Obama’s administration was to make Barack a one-term president. Their primary aim.

And this “unitary president” stuff is coming back. The Cheney administration talked about that. Not new. Just landing now on more fertile soil, after Trump has crapped all over our democracy. [Please pardon the crass language — it seemed to fit. I don’t like sinking into it, and will try to climb back out now …]

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Mitch did say his happiest moment was denying Obama his SCOTUS pick. He filibustered his own bill to deny Obama a winning legislative victory. Mitch brags about the bowells of congress, He is a

P ompous

O leaginous

O bsequious

P opinjay, so I don't think you sank into anything but reality.

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💕Stanley Kubrick's writing assignment: Portray the worst of humanity: "DR. STRANGELOVE: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB"💕

Kubrick chose comedy. Ukrainians chose a comedian. Hollywood Corporations greed has "choked off our comedians while Russian missiles fly all around the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe." 😳

Like Kubrick I choose to write about the worst and like Reich I choose to write about the best. Like Kubrick I choose to write about bodily fluids:😁

WARNING: DO NOT READ! THIS IS NOT "AGE APPROPRIATE" FOR AMERICANS SINCE WE ARE ALL TOO CHILDISH.😁

Oxytocin was sprayed in the noses and caused charity. 💕

The evolutionary origins of the shape and stroke of the penis are to remove the last male's ejaculate. 😲🤔😳This is a "Joyful Act of Sabotage." Likewise the Boston Tea Party was a "Joyful Act of Sabotage." Mitch McConnell pledging to each new President that he was going to Sabotage everything was a "Joyful Act of Sabotage." MAGA is a "Joyful Act of Sabotage."

Accidentally dropping a banana peel and then laughing when someone slips on it is a"Joyful Act of Sabotage."😄

The scientist inventor bestselling author of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy💕 found the treatment to be "The Death of the Ego." First, make someone angry at you (I'm really good at this part!😁). Second, say:"You are RIGHT and I am WRONG."😁😁😁😁💕

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Suppose we ran a little experiment? It's RR's IP and he can do with it what he wishes.

Let's say he reprinted a set of these, didn't change any of the content, released it under a pseudonym, "Robby Rich" for example, renamed it "Good Paying Work, No Woke!" and put pictures of tumbling piles of money on the cover. How far into the book would Faux News viewers get before they either changed their minds or realized they got tricked into considering another point of view?

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C., The challenge is getting them to even look at the book in the first place and decide that the money illustrations are enough to get them away from Fox and so much else they read and do that is meaningless and doesn't require any thinking. If they actually started reading it, they would get caught up with the idea of what America could be. Maybe if there were a lottery with a decent prize with every Republican who reads the book entered (with specific questions that would require having read significant portions of it). Nah, I doubt that would do it either. These are people who have mostly given up on doing any better than they are right now. Since they can comfortably blame Democrats for their troubles, they will accept whatever Republicans do to them as just the way life under Democrats is. You see, no reality going on there, and they like it that way, until their more violent cohort starts waving their guns around, then who knows what they will do.

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I definitely get all that you're saying, yet it was the very end of your comment that gave me a new idea. What if the prize for finishing the book, proven by passing a pop quiz afterwards, was a gun? That could be just the thing to pull attention from FNC. Like yelling the word sex but for reactionaries.

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If it has the moronic term "woke" they'll definitely pick it up! LOL.

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good suggestion 🥸

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But they can’t read or think too well.

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Hey, if you improve someone's diet they look and feel healthier. Maybe we could trick a few into a nutritional literary infusion. A heaping dose of thoughtful exploration of a topic, from a point of view other than screeching Faux commentators, could boost and regenerate critical thinking harmed by hours of high volume vitriol and demonization of others pouring out of their TV sets. All options need exploring at this point. lol

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Ruth I suspect Republicans would take Dr. Reich's words and thoughts and claim them as their own. Much like they have taken the money provided by Biden's programs and claimed it as their own.

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Rolyac, they will be selective, though. That "common good" sounds to them too much like OMG, COMMUNISM (god forbid), so they will warp what Prof. Reich has said so much even he wouldn't recognize it. Lying, distorting, renaming, are all effective tools wielded by Republicans these days. They get away with it because our media is too scared or owned to call them out on their hypocrisy. Republicans claim to be sooo family and community oriented, but nothing they have done recently would let anyone know that, probably because it's just part of a set of talking points Republicans toss out that contain a lot of lies, just as one who pays attention would expect.

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Sad.Sad. I truly believe you are correct. These people are angry for all the wrong reasons. These dirty tricks and half truths of their media is the culprit.

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Excellent recipe.

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progwoman--And the beauty of it all, you don't have to be hungry to enjoy it.

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deletedJul 21, 2023·edited Jul 21, 2023
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Well, that’s provocative …😐

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Jul 21, 2023·edited Jul 21, 2023Liked by Robert Reich

Professor Reich, thank you. I can’t wait to read your book. The question you pose, “….  are we just self-seeking individuals who happen to live within the same borders? “ has plagued me for a good part of my life, and certainly since the “Reagan revolution” of the ‘80’s. The folks that I’ve known that seem to fit that description have without exception been conservative Republicans or Libertarians, which upon reflection is not all that surprising. As Daniel Solomon has posted above, it’s the right wingers that should be reading your book, and unfortunately, they won’t be benefiting. But if after reading it I feel I can dupe a few relatives into taking a look, I’ll pick up a couple of copies to leave on selected doorsteps, (though, please forgive me, I may have to obliterate your name as it’s certainly wolfsbane to them by now :-). Thank you again for your insights, your generosity and all that you do for this community.

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Citizen Raff, you make some good points. But for me, the operative word in Professor Reich's question “….  are we just self-seeking individuals….?” is the word “just”. I read a fascinating book years ago, “Hierarchy in the Forest” by Christopher Boehm ( https://www.amazon.com/Hierarchy-Forest-Evolution-Egalitarian-Behavior/dp/0674006917/ref=sr_1_1? ) who made a study of the several other primate groups to explore the question of whether human beings are hard-wired for egalitarian behavior by evolution - or not. If you haven’t read it and might be interested in doing so I can give it a definite thumbs up and won’t spoil Boehm’s conclusion here.

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Daniel, you have that right, but I suspect most of them would hear the title and think it too "woke" for them. They would miss some wisdom that could actually help them.

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IMHO my best suggestion to Robert is that he link his "Wealth and Poverty" course to every media outlet, offered at no cost regardless of party affiliation in the country.

E.G. ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, NYT, WAPO, NY Post, Fox News, etc.

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Jul 21, 2023·edited Jul 21, 2023

Daniel Solomon:

Genius idea!! Like the book topic itself! .My recipe for "The Common Good", 👍!

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Daniel, a full media sweep! That is a great idea. I wonder how many would actually pick it up and put it out here without deliberately slanting it to suit their conservative owners.

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So does this mean you are not going to read it or suggest it to anyone? What a killjoy1

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What! Ellen, where did you get the idea that I wouldn't read or share it? I have already read the original book and will probably read the update if my screen reader cooperates. How about you?

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Seems to be going around !?

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my thoughts exactly.. there’s too much hatred in some hearts.

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So don't give in to the hate. Spread some good information...

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Sadly..yes

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Dead in it's tracks then, ya! Or are you just too lazy to try to hang on to our democracy?

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Farewell - goodbye - get the hatred out of your heart. Or are you too lazy for that.

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And why do they do this? They are so severely under-educated that they joined a CULT, lead by a career conman/career sexual predator!

I know it is supposedly un-Christian like to wish for someone's death, but it sure SEEMS like Bunkerboy is KNOWINGLY doing the work of Satan and/or The Anti-Christ, eh?

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Collective racist subconscious?

Peer pressure?

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agree...

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We need to do a humanitarian book drop by parachute over disenfranchised red states! Or a campaign to leave stacks of these books in airports across the nation!!!

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Here I come again to challenge this trope about economic and health interests.

Daniel, do you vote against your own economic interests when you vote to raise taxes on yourself? Of course you do. What if you put your full set of interests, economic, health, environmental, security, meaning, future, in a ranked order, and the one that took precedence over all the others was neither health nor economic?

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When you vote to raise taxes on yourself, you are NOT voting against your own economic interests. “Of course” you do not! That is a very short-sighted view of the issue. When your government has the wherewithal to function, when we all have the necessary access to resources like security services, fire services, decent schools, affordable health care, affordable housing, vibrant communities — the function of those higher taxes redounds to our benefit multiple times, and far more than we could manage to accomplish on our own, with our bit held back from the tax man.

NONE of us wants to vote for outrageous and unfair taxes {although that IS what we have now, as those of us earning in the tens of thousands instead of hundreds or more are paying a far greater share of our income than is “fair”}, but voting for higher taxes to be used for programs we approve of is NOT against our economic — or health or any other — interests.

Actually, when thinking about whether we are “all in this together,” it’s part of that very question. And more nuanced than you seem to grasp.

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Thank you. You saved me the trouble of saying the same thing. I don’t think people give what we have(or maybe have not, depending)in the way of infrastructure luxuries we have today all because of common taxation. Should loopholes for the really high dollar makers and shakers be closed? Absolutely! But the very ones who would benefit greatly from better equity rarely take the time to figure out who or how they can make such happen.

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Well said... Thank you Pat Goudey O'Brien

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Very well written. I believe what bothers citizens is when the local, county, or state officials then use tax dollars for things public does not want or agree with. Also the officials seem like a child in a candy store with spending, or financing projects of the wealthy as they become wealthier. Citizens are willing to vote taxes on themselves for a better community, they want officials to be good keepers of tax dollars.

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And if they expect their tax money to be spent in ways that benefit them, they have to elect people to represent them who believe in spending taxes for the benefit of THE PEOPLE, and not just, ohhhh, sayyyy, the Military-Industrial-Complex we’ve been hearing about since Eisenhower. And perhaps we should elect representatives who have our interests at heart, rather than those who legislate for the benefit of the deepest pocket who finances election campaigns.

Knowing which representatives those are takes a moment. Falling for ridicule does not help one make good choice as to whom to vote for.

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Yes. Recently, in our state one party has refused to publically debate or hold town halls so they don't have to answer questions. The area is so dominant one party due to farming they can get by doing this. Things are changing but in the meantime young people just leave.

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I have listened (up close and personal) to the life stories of thousands of people who vote against themselves. Virtually all workers and their families will be eligible for government benefits like SS and Medicare. The 90% figure probably is a bit conservative.

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So they are choosing their faith in Jesus or their life styles or X above their self-interest. You know, so did I. My self-interest in this out of control capitalist society was to become an extremely high-paid attorney and marry a ditto. Had I done that, I would now be living where I want to be, instead of in Massachusetts. But I had the idea that I wanted to work as a public employee for a limited time period so that I could retire and do my art, finally, after 60 years of living some other peoples' ideas of a good life. Now, in order to go back home, I would have to earn more than $115,000/year. I'm 77. So I very much understand the bitterness rage and resentment of the deplorables.

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Did you make decisions that were against your own self-interest? Or did some pols — especially since the Reagan administration — pull the floor out from under you? And are you now throwing in with the very people who structured our sick capitalistic system against you, instead of throwing in with those who want to re-instate a regulated and fair capitalism, and a government FOR the people, which would have worked well for you, if they had not skewed it against us since the 1980s?

I’m also 77 years old, and trying to figure which side my bread is buttered on. I do NOT think it is with the anti-democratic, autocratic, and oligarchic Republicans.

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What exactly do you think you understand about their bitterness, rage, and resentment?

I was born to and raised by some of them. They certainly do not understand my bitterness, rage, and resentment at the way they have abused me for not submitting appropriately to their Godly Benevolent Dictatorship and committing the sin of expecting to even have a vote in what my own best interest might or might not be.

I have no sympathy for their delusional “the lord will provide” for his favorite chosen ones and the rest of us can and should go to hell. I have no sympathy for the way they attack others, like secular government, for getting in the way of their authoritarian antisocial behaviors.

But that is just me. My biggest accomplishment in life (I’m 60) is that I didn’t sell my soul to them for any amount of money or torture.

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As an atheist raised in a Catholic family that respected my sincerity, I send you my deepest sympathies, and respect for your ability to hold onto something of yourself.

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Reflecting on our past--coulda, woulda, shoulda. It’s part of growing older. The healthy question is, if upon making those other choices would we have been really capable of truly enjoying them or would we have just created another set of circumstances to be bitter about?

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I love that expression: "...the architecture level of society..." The whole structuralness of it.

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Structure. "Architecture is more than the design of buildings and the configuration of cities; it is a physical reflection of society, embodying its values, beliefs, and aspirations. Through its form and function, architecture subtly influences our behavior, shaping our experiences and interactions."

In property law in a commonwealth (Pa, KY, Va, Ma) every citizen owns an individual share of the whole of the land, unless it has been devised to private interests. If you owned a cow in colonial Massachusetts, you could take it to the "commons" to graze. https://www.boston.gov/parks/boston-common

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If you have driven a car on

some Boston streets, you know they were originally, cow paths!

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Ha ha ha almost all the streets

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Tom, I agree too.

Robert, thank you for this gift.

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The Sawed Off . .

Tho once said, Praise to the Face . .is an open unmanly disgrace . .

This guy's a one man Think Tank . . one Sunday Morning thanks.

A gift to the Soul of a Nation. Insights first rate . .

Cartoonist Socrates . . .

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Professor

Thank you for doing this, and more important for your work on behalf of part of my chosen family over your life time.

I am excited to join you and to read your book.

My excitement is mixed is mixed with jealousy, I wish I could write a book, much less a book as good as I am sure this will be. I suspect you would tell me to continue to try and I will.

I wake up in the middle of the night, turn on my computer and often is dismayed at what I read, see and hear. This morning, something joyful has popped up.

Thank you again.

Fred

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Jul 21, 2023Liked by Robert Reich

Hello Sir, I am always eager to read your comments or listen to your lectures. Living in Europe but visiting frequently the USA, for work, or visiting friends and family, I am also concerned, not only for the USA but for the World in which we live, and for the one we pass on to our children and grandchildren. Never underestimate the actions of one, the butterfly effect, and what it means to many. Thanks! Francine Danniau

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It takes a good man to even consider the Common Good.

Thank you, Robert Reich, for writing a whole book about it and generously sharing it with us!

.

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professor reich: i am thrilled to learn that you are sharing your book with us! it's incredibly challenging for me to get books that are published overseas here in norway, so i am looking forward to this unexpected treat.

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Jul 21, 2023Liked by Heather Lofthouse

Professor,

Tom said it best..."you are a gift to humanity". Absolutely. I've started your "last" class and have found it to be fascinating. I've learned so much that I thought I knew, but not to the depth you explain things. I just love learning so you are supplying me with a great fix! There are a lot of people who are very grateful to know you! Thank you for everything.

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I purchased and read "Common Good" soon after I started on this Substack forum. Very worthwhile experience! Looking forward to reading the updated version! Thank you for publishing an updated version here.

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Robert: Someone in a comment commented on protecting free speech. I think it is important to define the limits of free speech. In fact, the limits on any freedom. Any freedom some time begins to impinge on the freedom of someone else. There is no such thing as one person having an absolute freedom of anything. All freedoms have to be titrated against other people's expression of that same freedom. The key is how you define that boundary and how you resolve the conflict.. Not everyone will agree with you as to how you resolve this conundrum. Many elements of society spread their message of an absolute freedom (especially those around Trump) and don't want to recognize any limits. The religious folks want to invoke a divine right for themselves (making cakes or websites only for those they agree with) where divine roughly means absolute (and to hell with everyone else). The Sisyphean burden of the liberal side is to recognize these limits. When you express limits to freedom, you will be attacked by anyone who thinks his freedom needs to be absolute. It's a tough road!

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I appreciate your recognition, Paul, of the other person in recognizing the affect words and emotive expression will have. A person is never truly separate from the supposed other. There exists an intimate relationship between oneself and the so called 'outside world," which reveals that there truly is no outside.

But in our hyper-individualized society, Americans will never ... see themselves in the other.

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Frederick, I find your description interesting, and I hope it is not correct, though well thought out. I want to believe there are many Americans who actually can see the collective and not only the individual. We have lived with the myth of the being able to do everything on our own and if we didn't do that we were worthy of nothing of value. It turns out that no one does it on their own. Someone is always contributing to people's success. There were a rare few "mountain men" who might have done a few things alone, but they ended up trading with others because that is what people do. That old bootstraps crap needs to be tossed on the ashheap of history as they say because it is a joke. You know what would happen if one pulled themselves up by their boot straps, they'd be on their butt on the ground. So, we need to start or continue getting the word out that you can't do it all by yourself and you didn't do whatever you have already done all by yourself. We need each other and the more we work together, the better the outcome will be. I know that is idealistic, but I would rather see through rose-colored glasses than through dark ones that only let in pinpoints of light that keep us from seeing the other.

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Ruth, well said. We all need to envision our ideal of a perfect society of cooperation and common good, especially now. Our society seems to be on yet another cusp of dynamic change; however, change can be either a roller coaster of tragedy or a series of truly great unfolding’s. The question is have we ever in history had the latter? This needs to happen so that we as humans can see the result and learn for once from the good of what we do instead of the short sighted deeds of the desperate and greedy.

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Brava Ruth!💜

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Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.

- Hermann Hesse

This is today's Daily Peace Quote. i highly recommend this daly email!

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The OXTR gene (Oxytocin Receptor gene) is associated with empathy and love. Oxytocin is a hormone that promotes love and social bonding in humans. The oxytocin receptor is regulated by the OXTR gene. Changes in this gene can increase or decrease a person's ability to feel empathetic.

Many schools use the Socratic method, and or force students to argue the opposing view, which probably can trigger the gene.

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I look forward to reading your book and expanding my knowledge even more. Thank you for sharing this valuable information with your community!

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Do you think it is possible that the great "chemical experiment" that has permeated every aspect of our consumption could have shut down, damaged or corralled the OXTR gene?

The mercury in the air? The lead and PFAs in the water? The micro plastics in our food?

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Bill, I am suspecting the gene was interrupted for our Republican siblings by their contact with Fox Not Nearly News which they consume incessantly. It is sending out vibes that shut down the empathy gene very neatly and triggers the fear, hate, anger, Comstock gene.

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You'd think there is research.

IMHO some people have a heightened flight mechanism in the amygdala. Abnormal emotional maturation. But peer pressure probably has more to do with it in kids who "act out."

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Daniel -many kids who "act out" have no emotionally acceptable way to express their anger, frustration, resentment, fear, and pain. they simply are not developmentally able to express their pain in a way that "adults" deem acceptable. moreover, the trauma that most of them has experienced damages the brain physically as well as psychically. the research is compelling and depressing, especially where trauma is severe enough to damage the brain in irremediable ways, without extensive therapy, which for poor kids will never happen. it's how we start pushing them into the prison pipeline.

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Once upon a time, I represented school districts. Under IDEA all of these kids should be identified and their IEP, Individualized Educational Prescription should include therapy.

I also was a prosecutor and defended a few juvenile cases where psychiatric testimony was needed.

Later I worked for SSA and had something to do with Child's disability. https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/112.00-MentalDisorders-Childhood.htm

There are several disruptive behavior disorders. https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/conditions/disruptive-behavior-disorders

Anecdotally, most of these kids were grandstanding to impress their peers.

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Gotta watch out for those "peers", eh?

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I've read it already, and I will happily reread it here. I am old enough to remember taking Civics classes in school. I don't believe those classes are still taught -- and they need to be. At the very least, all people seeking to be elected to a public office should have to complete some type of relevant training, for example an immersive civics semester at the John Glenn College of Public Affairs.

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Thank you, Robert for your generosity, kindness and humanity!

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Fantastic ! Your book, and all rational thoughts of what truly contributes to building and protecting the common good are not only extremely pertinent, its something we desperately need immediately. We need definition, clarity, broad recognition, understanding, and agreement. I consider the fact that the incredibly delusional Trump, and the predictably fascist citizenry and individuals who like him, believe that he IS, inexplicably, "The" common good. Therefore, I know this to be a time of great challenges whereby we need you and other great leaders and teachers to help us, not only to rescue, but to set forth clearly defined tenets and principles of the common good and define what they mean and will provide for today and our future as a nation. Your book, thoughts, and leadership are extraordinarily important! Carry on good Professor.

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Just in time - I need a good read and good conversation to finish out the summer! I spend 10 mos of the year educating 8th graders -sometimes their “me, me, me“ attitudes scare me, but then they come back to visit as high schoolers or beyond and I get to see that they do in fact become good people - lol. There is hope.

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As someone who worked 25 years at a publisher devoted to young people, I'd like to say thank you. The first person I worked for there used to say that for all their distractions, kids in middle school are the best audience. It's our last chance to reach them before they reach high school where they're expected to be cool and less open to learning certain things.

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Middle Schoolers are special - they try to be too cool for school, but they listen for the most part, and they definitely watch what you do, and how you do it. This will be year 30 for me. . . I keep trying to be those guardrails.

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Good for you. The liminal spaces are great for kids, and I'll bet they remember you for at least another thirty.

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Thank you so much for sharing your book! I have so much respect for you. You are so wise and discerning. I'm sharing your newsletter with family and friends. I wish everyone would read it.

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Thanks Robert, I will read along!

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I appreciate you letting us read your book at no cost, very few seasoned writers would do such a thing.

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My introduction to you. The book made me feel as if I was NOT entirely alone with my thoughts!

Sent it out to friends with a sentiment that a revolution was not only possible, BUT MANDATORY!!!

Thanks for sharing your gifts and talents for a "Common Good."

btw: I would love to hear your thoughts regarding "Free Speech" in the age of such damaging MISinformation - Than You!!!

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