Author Archives: Peter

About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.

psychoanalyzing presidents

There’s lots of conversation right now about Donald Trump’s mental condition. It includes claims that he demonstrates narcissistic personality disorder and that changes in his speech patterns reveal cognitive decline. I personally analyzes his speech pattern from a particular angle here. … Continue reading

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social movements depend on social capital (but you can make your own)

The Montgomery Bus Boycott was the glorious chapter in the American Civil Rights Movement that began when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the segregated bus. This story is usually misrepresented in ways that hide Parks’ planning, … Continue reading

Posted in civic theory | 2 Comments

youth don’t always tilt left

(Washington, DC) In the US since 2004, young voters have tilted moderately leftward. They gave very strong support to Barack Obama, especially in 2008. And in Britain right now, only voters under-25 favor Labour: But young people are not consistently liberal or … Continue reading

Posted in democratic reform overseas, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

is everyone religious?

In the perennial debate about the place of religion in politics and public life, one available stance is: “Everyone is religious.” This position has weaknesses, which I will mention below, but here are three points in its favor: Ethical people hold beliefs … Continue reading

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the Hollowing Out of US Democracy

In lieu of an original post here today, I’ll link to a new post of mine on The Evidence Base, a group blog from CESR, the Center for Economic and Social Research at University of Southern California.  I argue that … Continue reading

Posted in 2016 election, Trump | Leave a comment

mini-conference on Facts, Values, and Strategies

We are about to begin discussions of the papers listed below, in draft form. They are destined for The Good Society journal. The conversations are at the Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts For me, the underlying rationale goes … Continue reading

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American tapestry

6:10 am, Monday, Boston, MA: My taxi driver is a retired guy from the South Shore. His son is a Ranger, active duty. The son curls up on the floor now when fireworks go off: PTSD. He is friends with … Continue reading

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what does it mean to attribute narcissistic personality disorder to a person?

(St Louis, MO) We have two rival languages for analyzing personality: the medical and the moral. They are largely incommensurable, yet cases force us to choose between them. For instance, psychiatrists and pundits are currently debating whether to diagnose Donald Trump … Continue reading

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The Cliff-Top Monastery by A.B. Jackson

If you want a 20-line respite from the fascinating train wreck of American politics (on which my eyes are riveted, like everyone else’s), I recommend A.B. Jackson’s “The Cliff-Top Monastery” in the May issue of Poetry Magazine. A whole short … Continue reading

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Habermas on the French election

Here are Jürgen Habermas’ recent remarks on “the future of Europe” at an event with President-elect Emmanuel Macron and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel. They spoke in March, before the election, but Habermas credits Macron with courage in “a challenging situation.” Habermas … Continue reading

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