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Articles by Robert Jensen

Life without Limits: The Delusions of Technological Fundamentalism

Australian Broadcasting Corporation/Religion and Ethics ·

In a routinely delusional world, what is the most dangerous delusion?

Living in the United States, I’m tempted to focus on the delusion that the United States is the greatest nation in the history of the world – a claim repeated robotically by politicians of both parties.

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The Woman Beside Wendell Berry: The Most Important Fiction Editor Almost No One Has Heard Of

YES! Magazine ·

Tanya Berry challenges our assumptions about women’s work and small-town living.

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Radical feminism is the only solution to men’s ongoing ‘sexual misconduct’

Feminist Current ·

“I’m not surprised,” women say, in response to the flood of revelations of sexual “misconduct” by men, especially men in positions of power.

But none of us — women or men — should be surprised, because the United States is a patriarchal society and in patriarchy men routinely claim the right to own or control women’s bodies for reproduction and sexual pleasure. Men — liberal and conservative — know that just as well as women.

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Good guys and bad guys

Feminist Current ·

I am not as abusive as Harvey Weinstein, nor as narcissistic as Bill O’Reilly. I’m more respectful to women than Donald Trump, and not as sleazy as Anthony Weiner.

Judged by the standards set by these public reprobates, most of the rest of us men appear almost saintly, and therein lies a danger. The public disclosure of these men’s behavior — from the routinely offensive to the occasionally criminal — is a good thing, and all those who have been harassed and raped should continue to speak out.

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Critical questions need to be answered in transgender debate

San Antonio Express-News ·

Now that the “bathroom bill” has died in the Texas Legislature and the political fireworks are over — for the moment — we should step back and consider what makes the transgender issue so vexing.

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When Will the United States Transcend White Supremacy?

CommonDreams ·

Now that the violence in Charlottesville has forced “white supremacy” into our political vocabulary, let’s ask an uncomfortable question: “When will the United States transcend white supremacy?”

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Eating Responsibly

Edible Austin, July/August, 2017 ·

A young friend recently stopped by my house as I was cooking dinner—a favorite rice-and-greens dish that is simple, cheap, tasty and nutritious. I’d just started sautéing the onions and garlic in some olive oil. My friend watched for a moment then said, with inappropriate reverence, “I don’t know how you do that.” “How I do what?” I thought. Cut up an onion, slice a clove of garlic, pour some oil and turn on a burner? It’s not exactly painting a masterpiece or performing brain surgery. I likely would have made fun of my friend if not for the fact that, at one point in my life, I would have found sautéing onions and garlic exotic, as well.

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How radicals are offering realistic solutions to our spiraling political problems

Dallas Morning News ·

Students will sometimes ask me — often hesitantly, out of fear of offending — if it’s true what they’ve heard, that I’m a liberal.

“Don’t you ever call me a liberal again,” I tell them, feigning outrage. “I’m a leftist and a radical feminist.” Once they realize I’m not angry, I explain the important differences between left and liberal.

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Beyond ‘No’ and the Limits of ‘Yes’: A Review of Naomi Klein’s ‘No Is Not Enough’

Resilience.org ·

In her new book, No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need, Klein reminds us to pay attention not only to the style in which Trump governs (a multi-ring circus so routinely corrupt and corrosive that anti-democratic practices seem normal) but in whose interests he governs (the wealthy, those he believes to be the rightful winners in the capitalist cage match), while recognizing the historical forces that make his administration possible (decades of market-fundamentalist/neoliberal rejection of the idea of a collective good).

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The Case for Truth Seeking (No Matter How Messy)

YES! Magazine ·

Why We Are Driven to Search for the Truth

It’s something we struggle to see more clearly, to realize day to day, to make more real in our lives. And that’s always messy business.

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Robert Jensen on Millennial men, climate change, and the increasing need for radical politics

Feminist Current ·
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Can We Talk? How Dogma Degrades Democracy

Counterpunch ·

“There’s a disagreement in the planning group, about inviting you,” an organizer told me, hesitantly, during a phone call this spring to finalize the details of my speaking slot in a “diversity-and-inclusion” event.

I sighed and prepared to respond, knowing that the objection to my participation likely had to do either with my writing after September 11, 2001, that was critical of the U.S. empire or more recent essays challenging the ideology of the transgender movement from a radical feminist position.

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‘Real men’ talk: Interviews between Robert Jensen and Barry Doak

Nation of Change ·

As radical feminists/male allies/men we need to take control of the conversation on issues like prostitution, pornography and toxic masculinity.

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Beyond Liberal Pieties: the Radical Challenge for Journalism

CounterPunch ·

Many liberals and leftists criticized the New York Times last month for giving right-wing ideologue Bret Stephens a piece of the most valuable real estate in U.S. journalism, a regular spot on its op-ed page.

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‘It’s just porn’: Coming to terms with a sexually corrosive culture

Conatus News (UK) ·

Although the most compelling critiques of pornography over the past four decades have been articulated by radical feminists, many young people—including women—assume that challenges to the pornographic culture come only from conservative and/or religious perspectives. As a result, secular and liberal folks often assume that they must endorse porn to be cool.

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“Sex work” or “prostitution”? Language choices reveal views on male dominance

Conatus News (UK) ·

The terms to describe the buying and selling of bodies for sex in the modern world convey much about the underlying ideological debate going on in the culture, and within feminism.

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Listening to golf banter taught us teenage caddies that it’s OK to objectify women

Dallas Morning News, January 27, 2017 ·

Donald Trump comments caught on tape reveal underpinnings of inequality in our society.

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Inauguration Eve: PEN Writers Respond

PEN Center USA ·

On the eve of the inauguration, we asked writers and journalists to share short essays of strength, hope, reflection, and resistance. These essays are part of a series that demonstrates PEN Center USA’s continued efforts to defend freedom of expression.

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If We’re Honest, We All Know Trump’s America

YES! Magazine ·

Trump articulates ideas that are closer to what is considered “normal” in the United States than many of us are willing to acknowledge.

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How feminists can challenge liberal bathroom politics

Dallas Morning News ·

Most public discussions assume that liberals will support and conservatives will reject the transgender movement’s claims. A more radical feminism — one that doesn’t shy away from challenging male dominance — offers a different approach.

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Why ‘Professor Watchlist’ Gets My Teaching Values Completely Wrong

Truthdig ·

From a “critique” of my work on the recently launched website Professor Watchlist, I learned that I’m a threat to my students for contending that we won’t end men’s violence against women “if we do not address the toxic notions about masculinity in patriarchy … rooted in control, conquest, aggression.”

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With Trump, a Renewed Call to Radical Feminist Men

YES! Magazine ·

Our task is to reject men’s claim to control women’s reproductive power and sexuality, while calling out White supremacy and a widening equality gap.

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Politics Aside, the RNC Was Onto Something When They Said Porn Is a Public Health Crisis

Verilymag.com ·

Experts agree—this isn’t just a moral issue, it’s a serious health concern that affects us all.

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What is the World? Who are We? What Are We Going to Do about It?

Resilience.org, July 19, 2016 ·

What are the big questions that religion answers?

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Can The United States Transcend White Supremacy?

Crossing Genres/Medium.com ·

Facing what seems like an endless stream of news about racialized conflicts and violence, many people call for us to get beyond our history and find solutions for today, concrete actions we can take immediately, ways of expressing love right now to help us cope with the pain.

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Is the Ideology of the Transgender Movement Open to Debate?

Voice Male Magazine ·

Most people involved in feminist movements know how bitter the trans debate has become, and those of us who identify with radical feminist principles are used to being labeled transphobic TERFs (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist), sometimes even accused of supporting a climate of violence against trans people. My goal here is not to assign responsibility for the breakdown of dialogue, but to point out one consequence of this state of affairs: Many people are afraid not only to disagree with the trans movement’s policy positions but even to ask questions about the underlying claims.

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How porn makes inequality sexually arousing

Washington Post, In Theory ·

Last year in my University of Texas office, after I had summarized for a group of young women the feminist critique of pornography (which they had never heard of), one of the students in her early 20s suggested that older people (such as myself, age 57) are out of step with young people, including young women. Yes, some pornography is nasty, she said, but she and her friends don’t get all worked up — it’s just porn.

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The Panama Papers just Saved Journalism — and Could Save Democracy

resilience.org · originally published by Dallas Morning News ·

Revelations about the widespread use of shell companies and offshore banking by politicians and business figures has challenged the traditional model of investigative reporting. It could be the new way investigative reporting is done.

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Review of ‘The Occupation of the American Mind: Israel’s Public Relations War in the United States’

CounterPunch ·

In the conflict over the land of Palestine, Israel’s overpowering military superiority has produced decisive battlefield victories. But just as crucial to Israeli dominance in that region is its supremacy in the U.S. news media, which is captured in the title of an important new film from the Media Education Foundation, “The Occupation of the American Mind: Israel’s Public Relations War in the United States.”

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The Coddling of the Capitalist, White-Supremacist, Patriarchal American Mind

Crossing Genres/Medium.com ·

To avoid being conned, politically and intellectually, it’s important to examine how a debate is framed and what ideology is advanced by that framing. What is the scope of the question? How was the direction of the inquiry decided? Who set the boundaries of the conversation?

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Pornographic Values: Hierarchy and Hubris

Sexualization, Media, & Society ·
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An ‘Extremist’ in the United States

The Wire ·

When conventional politics has failed to deal with pressing problems, we have no choice but to think beyond the conventions, sometimes in ways that may seem extreme. The question is not whether one is extremist, but whether one’s ideas make sense.

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A Missing Item on the COP21 Climate Agenda: Grieving

Resilience.org ·

There’s an important item missing from world leaders’ agenda for the climate change summit underway in Paris: Grieving.

This article also appeared as:

“What’s missing from Paris climate talks: Grieving,” Houston Chronicle, December 6, 2015.

“A key missing item on the climate agenda – grieving,” Austin American-Statesman, December 1, 2015, p. A-10.

“A Missing Item on the COP21 Climate Agenda: Grieving,” http://www.telesurtv.net/.

 

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McRaven’s delusional, dangerous national security strategy

Medium ·

Bill McRaven is a highly respected retired admiral and popular chancellor of the University of Texas System. But his remarks at a recent conference on national security left me doubting his intellectual and moral fitness to lead institutions of higher education.

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As We Adapt to Climate Change, Who Gets Left Behind?

YES Magazine ·

A new documentary shows planning options to mitigate a new climate, but questions about the global South are largely ignored.

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Can Porn Be Good for Us?

The Economist ·

“Can Porn Be Good for Us?” Debate, The Economist, November 17-27, 2015.

http://debates.economist.com/debate/online-pornography?state=decision (subscription required)

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Naturalizing Hierarchies

Resilience ·

This is an excerpt from the new book Plain Radical: Living, Loving, and Learning to Leave the Planet Gracefully, published by Counterpoint/Soft Skull, which tells the story of Robert Jensen’s intellectual and political collaboration with teacher/activist Jim Koplin.

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Politicizing Columbus Day

teleSUR ·

Although the movement to stop honoring Christopher Columbus with a holiday is gaining support, most of white America would prefer to avoid the subject.

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The Problem of Agriculture

Resilience.org ·

This is an excerpt from the new book Plain Radical: Living, Loving, and Learning to Leave the Planet Gracefully, published by Counterpoint/Soft Skull, which tells the story of Robert Jensen’s intellectual and political collaboration with teacher/activist Jim Koplin.

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Dealing with Climate Change Deniers

teleSUR ·

Whatever the source of an individual’s climate denial, the question is how those of us who aren’t experts can engage in constructive dialogue with deniers.

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