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Seizing some control

the economistJue, 16/10/2014 - 18:55

ON JANUARY 1st 29-year-old Brittany Maynard (pictured) was diagnosed with brain cancer. On November 1st she plans to end her life by ingesting a lethal medication prescribed by her physician. Only five states (Vermont, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and New Mexico) recognise the right to die, so Ms Maynard relocated from California to Oregon to secure this right. This is a move that many Americans are unable to make.

Assisted suicide has been legal in a few European countries for years. But progress in America has been halting: in 1997 the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the constitution does not include the right to suicide. Aid-in-dying has ideological affinities with other issues where personal autonomy and liberty are at stake—same-sex marriage, for instance, or a woman’s right to an abortion. Yet many Americans have long been uncomfortable with sanctioning suicide. This seems to be changing. Now more than two-thirds of Americans support aid-in-dying laws for the terminally ill and mentally competent. Death with dignity legislation is now pending in seven states.

But why have Americans held out for so long? And what...Continue reading

A shifting power balance

the economistJue, 16/10/2014 - 14:53

OUR correspondents discuss what might happen if Republicans win the Senate in November’s mid-term elections.  Will America find common ground or succumb to political paralysis?

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Do unto others

the economistMié, 15/10/2014 - 16:39

IN THE 1930s Father Charles Coughlin was among the most popular figures in America. Roughly 30m listeners, at his peak, tuned in to hear his weekly radio broadcasts, which were carried by CBS—then among the biggest American radio networks. Though he began by broadcasting his weekly sermons, he quickly moved into politics. I suppose you would call him an economic populist: he advocated, among other things, unionisation, shrinking government and reducing taxes, abolishing the Federal Reserve, nationalising resources and seizing private wealth during wartime. Yet as war drew nearer, he returned to one subject again and again: Jews. He held them responsible for communism and the war; he reprinted "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion", a classic anti-Semitic text; and he warned: "When we get through with the Jews in America, they'll think the treatment they received in Germany was nothing." Eventually, his broadcasters grew tired of him, the Church warned him away from politics...Continue reading

Wake us up when it's over

the economistLun, 13/10/2014 - 19:30

IOWA’S Senate race is a knife-edge contest between two sharply differing candidates that could well decide which party controls the United States Senate after November. As a key swing state in presidential elections, Iowa also plays host to aspiring candidates in trip after trip. Local voters ultimately have the power to affect the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans and indeed billions of people worldwide.

That is the view from Washington anyway. In Iowa, the importance of the imminent Senate race is not so obvious. Of a dozen or so people quizzed by your correspondent in a park in Davenport, on the western banks of the Mississippi river, just a couple could name both of the candidates. A couple more had formed an opinion from the attack ads that air continuously on every local television station. A few expressed the (arguably reasonable) view that Washington is broken, and politicians never represent their constituents, so why bother. Across Iowa, as across most of the United States, the reaction to these elections seems to be an enormous collective shrug.

After watching both Democrat and Republican candidates debate...Continue reading

Tom in the Media

Tom PetersVie, 10/10/2014 - 17:41

Mitch Joel of Twist Image did a “Six Pixels of Separation” podcast with Tom on the state of business today. You can find it on iTunes as SPOS # 429, or here at twistimage.com. Listing Tom as one of 22 Thinkers to Follow on Twitter, Drake Baer at Business Insider writes this: “Unlike other members […]

The post Tom in the Media appeared first on Tom Peters.

So far, so fast

the economistJue, 09/10/2014 - 20:08

AS MORE and more states allow gay marriage, Jonathan Rauch explains how the revolution in America's attitudes to homosexuality came about and how it affected him

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How this week's cover came about

the economistJue, 09/10/2014 - 18:08

GROWING up in Arizona in the 1970s, Jonathan Rauch was so desperate to be "normal" that he convinced himself he wasn't gay. His obsession with muscular men, he told himself, sprang from envy of their good looks. He tried and tried to find women attractive, which was "like searching through a tank of octopuses in hopes of finding one to marry". He did not admit the obvious truth to himself—let alone other people—until he was 25. 

Fast-forward to 1996: Jon was in London thinking up cover stories for The Economist. One of his most outlandish was "Let them wed"—an editorial urging governments everywhere to allow same-sex marriage. At the time, it never occurred to Jon that his wish might come true in his own lifetime. Yet now he is married to the man he loves and living in Virginia, where gay marriage was legalised once and for all this week. 

We invited Jon to write an account of how America came to embrace gay marriage, weaving his own...Continue reading

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