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Trump and ‘soulless’ McConnell use the coronavirus crisis to ram through wretched judges, dirty air and worse

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- Commentary

About 99% of Americans have no idea who Judge Justin Walker is, and for that they can be totally forgiven. After all, most folks are a little busy these days, what with calling their state unemployment office 143 times trying to get through, or sick with worry about a parent or a grandparent in a nursing home or just trying to get the damn microphone to work on their fourth Zoom conference of the day.And this is exactly what President Donald Trump and his utterly soulless enforcer, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, are going for. But let me help you out here, since they won’t: Justin Wal…

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Tolerance and violence: The fate of religious minorities during the plague under Christianity and Islam

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Pandemics are nothing new—they scythed through the ancient world as they did the pre-modern and, as we know to our grief and confusion, they are still mowing us down today.

We might think that human nature is fairly invariant across time and space, and expect the response to these catastrophes to be perennially the same. Certainly, in the 21st century there are disturbing echoes of the way Jews were blamed by European Christians of the 14th century for the Black Death. From the US to the UK, from Iran to Indonesia (the largest Muslim country in the world), there has recently been an escalation of abuse and violence against Chinese and Asian-looking people. And not just Asians. Political groups and politicians have latched on to coronavirus as a weapon in their anti-immigration policies, urging their partisans to hunker down and suspect the alien minority. In a bid for votes President Trump seems to be using coronavirus to whip up anti-Chinese feeling. In India, egged on by the BJP, the ruling Hindu nationalist party, Muslims have been viciously attacked and accused of conspiring to kill Hindus by deliberately spreading the disease.

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These psychological motives have shaped right-wing conservatism in America ever since the Civil War

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Many people who see little rational basis for supporting Donald Trump ask themselves: Why is he so popular?  Relatedly, why did so many people support Richard Nixon, Adolf Hitler, and other avatars of popular right-wing conservatism?  There are, of course, many different reasons for each situation.  But there also key commonalities that have been identified in meta-analyses of the topic written by the psychologist John T. Jost and colleagues.  In relation to Jost’s work, I have examined aspects of the antebellum South in order to better understand its political culture, especially aspects of that culture that prompted many Southerners to become more emotionally receptive to the appeals of “fire-eater” secessionist conservatives.  More broadly, this historical lens can help illuminate the mass appeal of conservatism in general, focusing particularly on the psychological factors that tend to underlie this appeal.

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‘The god of under par’: Trump critics wonder why he went golfing instead of going to church after deeming them ‘essential’

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President Donald Trump proclaimed that all houses of worship were "essential" and must open whether they wanted to or not. While Americans had a choice of whether to attend services at their church, Trump maintained that "it's not right" to have churches be closed.

"So I'm correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential," he said during a statement at the White House. "I call upon governors to allow our churches and places of worship to open right now. If there's any question, they're going to have to call me, but they're not going to be successful in that call. The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now, for this weekend. If they don't do it, I will override the governors. In America we need more prayer, not less."

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