Articles by Robert Zaller
Apr. 28, 2017
When a university loses its soul
More than six decades ago, sociologist C. Wright Mills warned of a “new universe of management and manipulation” that had entered American life, and that threatened to fundamentally alter its character and undermine its values. Mills was prescient.
Apr. 21, 2017
Ready for another war?
It’s clear that Donald Trump’s first hundred days haven’t turned out to be the walk in the park he envisioned. The most spectacularly unqualified and intellectually disabled leader ever freely chosen by any people on earth — that’s us, friends — can’t hide his scowl of frustration whenever he sits down for the obligatory photo op with visiting dignitaries. Otherwise, he retreats into Twitter-world, or his gated fortress at Mar-a-Lago. The most photographed person in the history of the world has suddenly become the least visible.
Apr. 14, 2017
Lies trump the truth
Orson Welles, the great American filmmaker, loved a good joke. He began his career with a radio broadcast about a Martian invasion of New Jersey that threw the whole country into a panic, and ended it with a movie called “F for Fake” about a Hungarian art forger and a few reflections on the fine art of scamming.
Apr. 7, 2017
Has Trump been involved with Russia?
Two Congressional committees, the one in the House at least temporarily sidelined by its chairman, Devin Nunes, are now investigating the question of Russian meddling in our 2016 election and the extent to which the Trump administration may or may not have been complicit in it.
Mar. 17, 2017
Ambition can’t wait but our salaries sure can
Opening the Internet on my home computer, I am frequently greeted by a headline in garish yellow: “Ambition Can’t Wait.” Unlike other advertisements that clutter my screen, this one has no off button.
Mar. 10, 2017
To impeach or not to impeach
Almost every day, I get an invitation in my computer mailbox to join a petition calling for the impeachment of Donald Trump. How it is that I have been identified as someone who does not subscribe to Breitbart News I do not know, but I have thus far refrained from signing on. This is not because I have not made up my mind about the subject, but because I am of several minds about it.
Feb. 24, 2017
When a liar speaks the truth
In writing about Donald Trump in these pages last spring, I pointed out that part of his appeal — and his value — lay in his willingness to drive sacred cows out of the barn. Trump, and no one else, said bluntly that the American working class had been sold out. He, and no one else, said that America was giving Europe, South Korea and Japan a nearly free ride on defense and wondered why. He, and no one else, said that demonizing Russia at the risk of a new Cold War was stupid and dangerous.
Feb. 17, 2017
Donald Trump and the unmaking of the American worker
In a world of lies, it’s sometimes best to seek truth from the devil. It’s true, he’s the Prince of Lies, but the best principle for lying is to occasionally tell the truth — it keeps the opposition off balance. That is what t I found in a Wall Street Journal article the other day, a confession of rare candor: “Never before have American companies tried so hard to employ so few people.”
Feb. 10, 2017
The incessant flow of noise and static from the Trump White House — occupied territory on American soil — is designed, among other things, to conceal the fundamental new reality of our political situation: that we have an unelected autocrat running the executive branch of our government, and that the plan is to make it the only branch.
Feb. 3, 2017
Nat Hentoff and the courage of one’s convictions
Nat Hentoff died with the coming of the new year. He was someone this country can ill do without. Especially now.