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The Nation August 09/16, 2021

The Nation is America's oldest weekly magazine and is independently published. The Nation speaks to an engaged audience as a champion of civil liberties, human rights, and economic justice. The Nation breaks down critical issues with lively editorials, in-depth investigative reporting and analysis, as well as award-winning arts coverage. Publisher and Editor: Katrina vanden Heuvel.

United States
The Nation, LP
36 Issues

in this issue

3 min
they have no shame

UTAH SENATOR MIKE LEE, A RAVING HYPOCRITE WHO ABANDONED HIS STATED principles to play lackey to Donald Trump, is fond of saying, “We’re not a democracy.” Lee thinks that’s a good thing. He’s written: “Democracy isn’t the objective: liberty, peace, and prospefity [sic] are.” When Lee says these things, he’s not merely playing the role of an overzealous high school social studies teacher trying to use “cool facts” to deflect the hail of spitballs. He’s also channeling the deepest fears of the slavers and colonists who wrote the Constitution. Those guys understood, as Lee does, that a true democracy, in which everybody gets to vote and participate in self-government, would be a threat to white male hegemony in the New World. They’re not wrong. The founders and Lee and Jefferson Davis…

6 min
saving the library

“LOOK! BOOKS! THE TIRED OLD MID-MANHATTAN Library Gets a Crisp New Identity.” This Curbed headline, for a glowing piece by Justin Davidson, referred to a new circulating library in central Manhattan, renamed the Stavros Niarchos Library. Davidson celebrated the light-filled atrium, elegant staircase, rooftop terrace, and innovative children’s area. A famously decrepit and malodorous building has been utterly transformed. A reader of Davidson’s piece could be forgiven for thinking that the Stavros Niarchos, a major branch of the New York Public Library, resulted from an act of benevolence by the NYPL trustees. That is hardly the case. The new library, which cost $200 million and occupies 180,000 square feet, owes its existence to two and a half years of tenacious activism against the NYPL, whose trustees, from 2007 to 2014, were…

2 min
athan theoharis (1936–2021)

ATHAN THEOHARIS, A PREEMINENT HISTORIAN OF the FBI, was a master at unlocking the secrets of J. Edgar Hoover and his bureau. His 21 books and scores of articles, most of them reports on Hoover’s massive surveillance efforts and his illegal secret operations that were designed to destroy individuals and organizations whose opinions he disliked, provide the most extensive record of Hoover’s near half-century reign of terror. Theoharis died on July 3 in Syracuse, N.Y., from pneumonia. From 1969 until his retirement in 2006, he was a professor at Marquette University, to whose archives he donated his thousands of FBI files. Nearly as important as Theoharis’s deep knowledge and insight into Hoover’s years as FBI director, from 1924 until his death in 1972, were the skills he developed to unearth the bureau’s…

4 min
the final frontier

“WELCOME TO THE DAWN OF A NEW SPACE AGE,” SAID billionaire Richard Branson after the successful launch and landing of his spaceship the VSS Unity. The test flight for Branson’s space tourism venture, Virgin Galactic, was indeed a fitting inauguration of this new, neoliberal space age, which substitutes corporate noblesse oblige for the cosmic vision of collective progress that space travel once represented. With this test run completed, more people may now be able to experience suborbital spaceflights. Fellow billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have lined up for their own 11 minutes of heaven, the result of decades of work, billions in investment, and endless campaigns portraying their respective vanity NASA clones, SpaceX and Blue Origin, as laying the groundwork for humanity’s salvation. Their sojourns, however, bear more resemblance to…

5 min
bosses aren’t family

THE COMPLETE MELTDOWN OF DIANNE MORALES’S New York City mayoral campaign was like a live-action parody of Tolstoy’s opening line from Anna Karenina: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Family really shouldn’t have had anything to do with it, but it sprang to mind precisely because Morales herself invoked the F-word in one of her many multi-paragraph servings of BS: “I sat with campaign staff—many of whom I consider family—for hours to listen to concerns on a myriad of issues.” Anytime someone likens the employment relationship to a family, it should set off alarm bells. Seeing a supposedly anti-capitalist campaign engage in rhetorical manipulations long derided as the tools of the oppressor confirmed that it was all a farce. Put simply: You…

5 min
jfk’s coup fears—and ours

WHILE SOME HOPEFUL PROGRESSIVES CONTINUE TO FANTASIZE about Joe Biden as the second coming of Franklin Roosevelt or Lyndon Johnson, another, more disturbing historical analogy might be relevant. Biden is the first president since John F. Kennedy to face an active threat from right-wing extremism in the military, defined broadly to include veterans as well as current soldiers. The Department of Justice arrested approximately 500 people for participating in the January 6 insurrection, at least 45 of whom were veterans or active-duty soldiers. Of those 45, a quarter belonged to extremist groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers. Responding to the military involvement in January 6, Lloyd Austin, Biden’s secretary of defense, has made cracking down on right-wing extremism in the ranks a priority, pushing for an updating of…