December 18, 2021 | Reading Time: 2 minutes

Brandolini’s law, the Great Resignation, John Dewey, war on Christmas, coup in plain sight, American aristocracy and more

The week that was.

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Welcome to the weekend edition of the Editorial Board

I’m your host, John Stoehr. 

And now to the week that was …

Claire Bond Potter wrote about anti-CRT partisans and their phony education reform. Real reform recalls the teaching of John Dewey. “He believed the function of school was not to turn out students as quality products, but to cultivate individual creativity and, most importantly, incubate citizens capable of life-long learning.”

Noah Berlatsky wrote about the president’s low approval rating. It comes down to the pandemic he said. “Biden’s economic success is impressive. But if he can’t beat covid, the country is going to suffer. Then it’s going to suffer some more.”

Matt Robison wrote about the Republicans and their endless bad faith. “Brandolini’s Law: ‘the amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.’ By throwing out patently cockamamie ideas, Republicans tie Democrats in knots. The more they flood the zone with bullshit, the harder it is for Democrats to marshal the focus and attention needed to debunk it all.”

Mia Brett asks If ‘secularists’ are waging war on Christmas, where does that leave the Supreme Court? It said Christmas trees are secular. The Christmas tree, nativity scene, and even Santa have clear cultural, if not religious, connections to Christmas, which is a religious holiday. Placing a menorah next to a Christmas tree won’t change that.”

Lindsay Beyerstein wrote about how revelations by the House Select Committee risk drawing attention away from GOP legislators who aided and abetted a failed coup. “The evidence is like a reverse iceberg: 90 percent of it is on the surface. We’re standing next to this skyscraper-sized chunk of ice, wishing we could just get a few ice cubes.”


In an interview with me, Anoa Changa said it’s not too late to save democracy but the clock is ticking. “Joe Biden is finally coming around to seeing the damage done by the extremism within the GOP. But he’s still clinging to the idea of good people agreeing with him.”

In an interview with me, Elizabeth F. Cohen explained the cycles of political time. “We knew Joe Biden wasn’t going to improve things for undocumented Americans. Our hope was maybe a rollback of the worst and, in some cases, illegal policies of the Trump administration. That hasn’t happened. When it does, we’ll know we’re in a moment where human rights are assuming their rightful place at the center of our political agenda and institutions.”

In an interview with me, Jeremy Littau explained why the Washington press corps should center Fox in its politics coverage. “When Fox personalities behind the scenes are saying the 1/6 insurrection was a horrible event but going on the air downplaying it, they’ve been caught misusing that power. That is a damning thing for their claim to be doing news, and it’s dangerous for our democracy.”

In an interview with me, Barry Lam broke down a new report showing more than a century of tax avoidance that has created what can only be called an American aristocracy. “The eternal inheritance of great wealth, even the growth of it, perpetuated by the state no less, because it is the job of the state to enforce property rights and transfers, is feudalism in disguise. Some of these tax avoidance schemes – dynasty trusts – actually make trust fund beneficiaries immune from certain laws, making them have a superior civil status simply in virtue of being inheritors of wealth.”


John Stoehr is the editor of the Editorial Board. He writes the daily edition. Find him @johnastoehr.

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