Fundamentalist apocalyptic doctrine fuels MAGA outrage.

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When I was 15 years old, I took a mission trip with my church’s youth group to Panama City Beach, Florida. Our assignment was to accost strangers on the beach and share with them the “good gospel truth” of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Mainly, though, my friends and I used the Great Commission as an excuse to approach much older girls and fumble for pick-up lines before running away. I have to say, suffering for the Lord on the Gulf Coast that summer was some of the best fun I ever had.

Recreation on the beach wasn’t our only duty…


The ‘Virtue of Selfishness’ is foundational to MAGA’s worldview.

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The connection between Ayn Rand’s “Objectivist Ethics” and last week’s insurrection at the Capitol is not obvious. There were no picket signs featuring Rand’s face or slogans. No one was asking “Who is John Galt?” as they vandalized the rotunda. Still, Rand was present for Wednesday’s treason.

That’s because Rand advocated an alternate reality of her own making embraced by Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and other Republican defenders of the Objectivist faith. They have cultivated adherence to Rand’s fictions in MAGA loyalists, some of whom feebly attempted to end democracy in America on January 6. …


Phosphorus is essential to life and the world is running out of it

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Roger Sylvester-Bradley is on a mission. He’s a crop scientist for ADAS, “the UK’s largest independent provider of agricultural and environmental consultancy.” He’s growing barley and other crops using “legacy phosphorus” from previous harvests instead of industrial fertilizers rich with mined phosphate. He hopes to develop farming techniques that can meet increasing global demand for food while reducing the use of phosphorus reserves. So far, he’s met with promising results; he continues to raise healthy crops in defiance of expectations without adding a single new particle of phosphorus to his soil.

Unfortunately, however, Sylvester-Bradley’s experiments have not stopped business as…


Humans are transgressing planetary boundaries on several fronts

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In November of 2019, 11,000+ of the world’s foremost climate scientists published a bleak forecast of rising global temperatures that cannot be averted apart from drastic societal alterations the world over. It allows for little time to course-correct, meaning that the required changes will likely be painful. Such reports understandably dominate both science news and public policy debate, but they fail to take the full measure of human-caused environmental injury.

That’s because human activity currently portends irreversible damage to several planetary boundaries necessary to human life. Among the most alarming crises are biodiversity loss, nitrogen cycle change, groundwater depletion, ocean…


Trickle-down economics doesn’t work, but trickle-down ideology certainly does.

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I was 27, newly married, and working a low-paying job in retail when I got a letter from a shadowy organization that called itself the Neo-Tech Society. The letter referred to me by my first name and informed me that the Society’s elders had been keeping a close watch on my life. They had determined that I would make a fit candidate for Neo-Tech membership; I was a rare individual, the letter claimed, uniquely suited to harness the ancient secrets of wealth and happiness guarded by the Society.

I had never been targeted so aggressively by scammers before, and I…


And the fight against antibiotic resistance is intimately linked to the fight against climate change.

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In August 2009, 9-year-old camper Brock Ward crashed his scooter and gave himself a mild case of road rash (IDSA). Brock kept an evolving assortment of cuts, scrapes, and bruises — he played football and other rough sports and loved challenging himself in the outdoors. That’s why, when he complained of nagging pain in his arm following the scooter crash, his parents assumed it was just another day in the life of Brock.

Soon, however, Brock fainted. He did so three more times in the next thirty minutes. At the hospital, the Wards learned that Brock had an advanced case…


Ecosystem services provide an abundance of economic value

Mangrove forest of Kampong Phluk, Cambodia: Image by Sean Phillips from Pixabay

In 1998, Dr. Melissa Marschke of the University of Ottawa traveled to Koh Sralao to study resource governance strategies in Cambodia. In her book, Life, Fish and Mangroves, she relates her astonishing experience dwelling near the area’s lush mangrove forest and its diverse species of birds, monkeys, and marine life. At the time, Marschke observed that Koh Sralao was attracting numerous migrants from other parts of Cambodia because it was so “resource-rich.”

Sadly, just six weeks after she arrived, developers logged much of the mangrove canopy surrounding Koh Sralao. Mangrove log sales provided a modest financial opportunity for the villagers…


While he retreated to the White House

Image by Gage Skidmore. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

On Wednesday, President Trump addressed an angry crowd of his supporters at the National Mall. He vowed that he would “never concede” defeat in the 2020 election and encouraged the mob to descend on the Capitol. Additionally, he incited his supporters to “take back our country” during a largely ceremonial electoral vote certification scheduled for later in the day. Finally, Trump prompted the crowd to “show strength” at the Capitol building, telling them that “you’ll never take back our country with weakness.”

After the mob clashed with security and breached the Capitol, Trump tweeted that Vice President Mike Pence, who…


Bertrand Russell had his reasons and I have mine.

Photo by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash

The Southern Baptist Convention made me who I am, for better or worse. I spent years of my adolescence terrified of the dark; every shadow was a demon from hell; my every sin proof that my soul belonged to the fire. And my sins were many.

That’s how I felt at the time. And while I’ve learned not to be so hard on myself, those insomniac nights that plagued my youth have stayed with me; I wrestle with crushing anxiety to this day.

I rejected my fundamentalist roots on the grounds of how the church, its social expectations, and its…

Dustin T. Cox

I write about movies, books, culture, politics, and the intersection between them. MA in English, words in The Ascent, PSILU, The Writing Cooperative, and more.

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