Author Archives: hessd

About hessd

Here is all you need to know to follow this blog. I am an old man and I love to think about why we say the things we do. I've taught at the elementary, secondary, collegiate, and doctoral levels. I don't think one is easier than another. They are hard in different ways. I have taught political science for a long time and have practiced politics in and around the Oregon Legislature. I don't think one is easier than another. They are hard in different ways. You'll be seeing a lot about my favorite topics here. There will be religious reflections (I'm a Christian) and political reflections (I'm a Democrat) and a good deal of whimsy. I'm a dilettante.

Making Policy by Hurt Feelings

Randall Kennedy, a law professor at Harvard, puts it this way in an email to Thomas Edsall of the New York Times. “Authorities… need to become much more skeptical and tough-minded when encountering the language of hurt.” Why? Here’s how … Continue reading

Posted in Political Psychology | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

But is it really therapy?

I am just about to read a news article (New York Times, June 1) about a “therapist” app named “Woebot.” I have read enough in the area that I think I have a sense of what has to be said. … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

I and AI

Sherry Turkle’s memoir, The Empathy Diaries, was published recently and I bought it as soon as I heard about it. She has spent nearly all of her professional career studying the human-robot interaction.  She is the one who, in Alone … Continue reading

Posted in Living My Life, sociability, ways of knowing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Another Marshmallow Test

Many years ago, psychologist Walter Mischel devised a test of the ability to defer rewards. For experimental subjects, he used students at his daughter’s grade school. For rewards, he used whatever kind of treat a child might choose. Some years … Continue reading

Posted in Political Psychology, Politics, Sustainability | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Really want to have a partner

I have taken a fair amount of abuse lately–abuse of the raised eyebrow kind–for a story I tell about the early courtship days with Bette. The story as I tell it, and I tell it as I remember it, has … Continue reading

Posted in Love and Marriage | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Where totalitarianism comes from

The book I am reading now has three quotes at the beginning: one by JeanCasson, a Toulouse resistance leader and poet; one by Robert F. Kennedy; and one by Hannah Arendt.  The book is about the adventures of Virginia Hall, … Continue reading

Posted in Political Psychology | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“I wasn’t built to follow your rules”

Looking at it from the outside, I might call that a design flaw.  I’m sure she wouldn’t call it that. It may be that the woman who tossed this line at the hospital security guard, didn’t actually mean it.  As … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

How to grieve

Let’s start with how bad a title that is.  If you chose to read this because the title rubbed you the wrong way,  welcome.  Let’s talk. In my reading about the process of grieving, I see a lot of emphasis … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Abraham Lincoln to the Rescue. Again.

I have been thinking, especially during the Trump era, about our democratic political institutions.  Trump and “Trumpism” put a great deal of pressure on these institutions.  Trump offered an alternative model: the authoritarian leader.  To followers of such a leader, … Continue reading

Posted in Communication, Politics, Sustainability | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two Cheers for the Wheaton faculty!

The last time I looked, 284 faculty has signed a statement called  Statement from Wheaton College Faculty and Staff Concerning the January 6 Attack on the Capitol.  See the Appendix for the full statement. Other Wheaton friends of mine grumbled … Continue reading

Posted in A life of faith, Political Psychology | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment