Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Thiago Carlos Machado on Unsplash

The liberal and the conservative, how do we sort them? How do we tell them apart in the wild? There may be personality cues or clothing cues, charming little glimpses into political allegiance. We can make a sport of it, weighing geographical location with music tastes with speech patterns.

Americans, with our fashionably pragmatic two-party system are in a unique position to deposit people rather decisively into one of two camps; this is compared to our European counterparts with their fuzzy, fractured multi-party apparatus. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Simone Busatto on Unsplash

Everyone wants to be the one to change the world, right? This sentiment is brightly declared in schools across the country, making its way into the lexicon of every American child. It does not matter how fantastical this notion is, “changing the world” still lives on eagerly in our imaginations. It is a sentiment soaked in ambition and hopefulness, but laced also with a sour presumptuousness.

“Changing the world” dreams are not always bathed in the gauzy light of, oh, human potential and “faith in humanity”. If we are honest, “changing the world” is often a phrase of indictment used…


Orwell vs. Huxley, fear vs. pacification, and the battleground of individuality

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Sam Cernik on Unsplash

There once were two Englishmen of the 20th century, each with dystopia on their minds. Each penned novels along these lines, their works woven throughout with a feverish blend of gruesome imagination and intelligent extrapolation. George Orwell is one of these Englishmen, of 1984 fame; Aldous Huxley of Brave New World fame, the other.

Orwell produced his legacy masterpiece amid witnessing the grim European spectacles of his day with their dictatorship-disease, hunger for war, and flattening of citizenries. Orwell’s dystopian speculation is clearly inspired by the totalitarian experiments of the 20th century, the effects of which he saw splashed across…


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Marcus Chis on Unsplash

The 21st century has witnessed economic growth and national debt curiously rising in tandem and has barely batted an eye at this. This is a confusing inversion of the usual dynamic. After all, historical convention long held that it was acceptable for nations to lapse into deficit-financing when they needed to shore up for wars but in peacetime, balancing the nation’s books reemerged as the obvious imperative.

It should rouse everybody from their slumber that our nation, in response to the longest economic expansion in modern history, did not contract its debts as would be healthy and expected but expanded


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Caleb Shong on Unsplash

Freedom is a delicate, fragile flower. It requires a nurturing hand and the ministrations of intentional preservation. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, that flower is now wilting. Its caretakers turn their faces away from it in indifference and vague disillusionment. Long a crown jewel of the American tradition, a strong vindication for freedom had a bonding effect on the population. People thought of freedom as a shared legacy which they felt a certain invigoration to maintain.

I would make the claim that this mass invigoration has been slipping. And in the age of the coronavirus it has made one…


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Ever since the coronavirus first washed up on our shores and the ensuing hysteria unfurled across our nation, I’ve been preoccupied with the cultural legacy it will end up leaving for posterity. What kind of society will we be left with when the virus cools? How will we as people psychologically change and morph under the pressures of our current predicament?

It is easy to overlook such stretching questions in the heat of an imminent threat and easy to become submerged in the myopia that is the natural result of implementing fast, breathlessly urgent changes. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

When you think of tension, what comes to mind? Maybe an uncomfortable rigidity, a frozen state of quivering nerves, restlessness? We typically do not think of ‘tension’ in positive terms. To most of us, it sounds like a fast-track towards stress. Tension, however, is a two-sided animal. It is incorrect to think of it as uniformly negative — as stress manifest. The tension that we experience in life ought to be thought of as pent-up energy, of neutral affect initially. And that energy can be channeled in vastly different ways with vastly different results.

Negative tension looks like repetitive worrying…


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Joshua Sukoff on Unsplash

In the span of just a week the informally-titled Covid Relief bill cleared Capitol Hill and summarily departed Trump’s desk with his signature. It clocks in at an eye-watering 5,593 pages. What an end to the dizzying spectacle that was 2020! The bill itself is a confusing mashup of Congress’ regularly-scheduled year-end spending spree and the pressing business of a Covid relief package. The sheer length of it is not the bill’s only staggering aspect. The combined package sits at $2.3 trillion and jarringly, of the reading time allotted for the bill, a mere afternoon was offered.

As it turned…


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Richard Horne on Unsplash

The crisis of 2008, known for its cascade of implosions extending from high-tier securitizations on Wall Street down to underlying loans on Main Street certainly has not suffered a shortage of commentary in the intervening years. However, this voluminous amount of chatter did not exactly generate a solid consensus as to what had caused it all in the first place.

This is largely because the 2008 crisis cannot be traced back to a singular source; it is instead, a mashup of many: there was interdependency present, but so too was there a freak collision of elements.

Years removed from this…


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

You would think that those marching in the streets decrying grand, time-tested systems like capitalism and law & order might count themselves among the ranks of the lowest economic tier or otherwise belong to the fringes of society. Curiously, this does not seem to be the case.

Instead, the radical campaigns to reorder society which saturate our news feeds today are invariably comprised of young, digitally-connected, financially-cushioned individuals. This to say, by most historical standards, the street revolutionaries of modernity are surprisingly, even bewilderingly, “privileged”.

They shout with hoarse voices and picket with garish posters and make grim references to…

Lauren Reiff

Writer of economics, psychology, and lots in between. laurennreiff@gmail.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store