On Democracy

On Democracy

by John Dewey


Democracy is much broader than a special political form, a method of conducting government, of making laws and carrying on governmental administration by means of popular suffrage and elected officers. It is that, of course. But it is something broader and deeper than that the political and governmental phase of democracy is a means, the best means so far found, for realizing ends that lie in the wide domain of human relationships and the development of human personality. It is, as we often say, though perhaps without appreciating all that is involved in the saying, a way of life, social and individual. The key-note of democracy as a way of life may be expressed, it seems to me, as the necessity for the participation of every mature human being in formation of the values that regulate the living of men together: which is necessary from the standpoint of both the general social welfare and the full development of human beings as individuals.


Universal suffrage, recurring elections, responsibility of those who are in political power to the voters, and the other factors of democratic government are means that have been found expedient for realizing democracy as the truly human way of living. They are not a final end and a final value. They are to be judged on the basis of their contribution to end. It is a form of idolatry to erect means into the end which they serve. Democratic political forms are simply the best means that human wit has devised up to a special time in history. But they rest back upon the idea that no man or limited set of men is wise enough or good enough to rule others without their consent; the positive meaning of this statement is that all those who are affected by social institutions must have a share in producing and managing them. The two facts that each one is influenced in what he does and enjoys and in what he becomes by the institutions under which he lives, and that therefore he shall have, in a democracy, a voice in shaping them, are the passive and active sides of the same fact.


The development of political democracy came about through substitution of the method of mutual consultation and voluntary agreement for the method of subordination of the many to the few enforced from above. Social arrangements which involve fixed subordination are maintained by coercion. The coercion need not be physical. There have existed, for short periods, benevolent despotisms. But coercion of some sort there has been; perhaps economic, certainly psychological and moral. The very fact of exclusion from participation is a subtle form of suppression. It gives individuals no opportunity to reflect and decide upon what is good for them. Others who are supposed to be wiser and who in any case have more power decide the question for them and also decide the methods and means by which subjects may arrive at the enjoyment of what is good for them. This form of coercion and suppression is more subtle and more effective than is overt intimidation and restraint. When it is habitual and embodied in social institutions, it seems the normal and natural state of affairs. The masses usually become unaware that they have a claim to a development of their own powers.


Their experience is so restricted that they are not conscious of restriction. It is part of the democratic conception that they as individuals are not the only sufferers, but that the whole social body is deprived of the potential resources that should be at its service. The individuals of the submerged mass may not be very wise. But there is one thing they are wiser about than anybody else can be, and that is where the shoe pinches, the troubles they suffer from.


The foundation of democracy is faith in the capacities of human nature; faith in human intelligence and in the power of pooled and cooperative experience. It is not belief that these things are complete but that if given a show they will grow and be able to generate progressively the knowledge and wisdom needed to guide collective action. Every autocratic and authoritarian scheme of social action rests on a belief that the needed intelligence is confined to a superior few, who because of inherent natural gifts are endowed with the ability and the right to control the conduct of others; laying down principles and rules and directing the ways in which they are carried out. It would be foolish to deny that much can be said for this point of view. It is that which controlled human relations in social groups for much the greater part of human history. The democratic faith has emerged very, very recently in the history of mankind. Even where democracies now exist, men’s minds and feelings are still permeated with ideas about leadership imposed from above, ideas that developed in the long early history of mankind. After democratic political institutions were nominally established, beliefs and ways of looking at life and of acting that originated when men and women were externally controlled and subjected to arbitrary power persisted in the family, the church, business and the school, and experience shows that as long as they persist there, political democracy is not secure.

Belief in equality is an element of the democratic credo. It is not, however, belief in equality of natural endowments. Those who proclaimed the idea of equality did not suppose they were enunciating a psychological doctrine, but a legal and political one. All individuals are entitled to equality of treatment by law and in its administration. Each one is affected equally in quality if not in quantity by the institutions under which he lives and has an equal right to express his judgment, although the weight of his judgment may not be equal in amount when it enters into the pooled result to that of others. In short, each one is equally an individual and entitled to equal opportunity of development of his own capacities, be they large or small in range. Moreover, each has needs of his own, as significant to him as those of others are to them. The very fact of natural and psychological inequality is all the more reason for establishment by law of equality of opportunity, since otherwise the former becomes a means of oppression of the less gifted.


While what we call intelligence be distributed in unequal amounts, it is the democratic faith that it is sufficiently general so that each individual has something to contribute, whose value can be assessed only as enters into the final pooled intelligence constituted by the contributions of all. Every authoritarian scheme, on the contrary, assumes that its value may be assessed by some prior principle, if not of family and birth or race and color or possession of material wealth, then by the position and rank a person occupies in the existing social scheme. The democratic faith in equality is the faith that each individual shall have the chance and opportunity to contribute whatever he is capable of contributing and that the value of his contribution be decided by its place and function in the organized total of similar contributions, not on the basis of prior status of any kind whatever.


I have emphasized in what precedes the importance of the effective release of intelligence in connection with personal experience in the democratic way of living. I have done so purposely because democracy is so often and so naturally associated in our minds with freedom of action, forgetting the importance of freed intelligence which is necessary to direct and to warrant freedom of action. Unless freedom of individual action has intelligence and informed conviction back of it, its manifestation is almost sure to result in confusion and disorder. The democratic idea of freedom is not the right of each individual to do as he pleases/ even if it be qualified by adding “provided he does not interfere with the same freedom on the part of others.” While the idea is not always, not often enough, expressed in words, the basic freedom is that of freedom of mind and of whatever degree of freedom of action and experience is necessary to produce freedom of intelligence. The modes of freedom guaranteed in the Bill of Rights are all of this nature: Freedom of belief and conscience, of expression of opinion, of assembly for discussion and conference, of the press as an organ of communication. They are guaranteed because without them individuals are not free to develop and society is deprived of what they might contribute.


It is a disputed question of theory and practice just how far a democratic political government should go in control of the conditions of action within special groups. At the present time, for example, there are those who think the federal and state governments leave too much freedom of independent action to industrial and financial groups, and there are others who think the government is going altogether too far at the present time. I do not need to discuss this phase of the problem, much less to try to settle it. But it must be pointed out that if the methods of regulation and administration in vogue in the conduct of secondary social groups are non- democratic, whether directly or indirectly or both, there is bound to be unfavorable reaction back into the habits of feeling, thought and action of citizenship in the broadest sense of that word. The way in which any organized social interest is controlled necessarily plays an important part in forming the dispositions and tastes, the attitudes, interests, purposes and desires, of those engaged in carrying on the activities of the group. For illustration, I do not need to do more than point to the moral, emotional and intellectual effect upon both employers and laborers of the existing industrial system. Just what the effects specifically are is a matter about which we know very little. But I suppose that everyone who reflects upon the subject admits that it is impossible that the ways in which activities are carried on for the greater part of the waking hours of the day; and the way in which the share of individuals are involved in the management of affairs in such a matter as gaining a livelihood and attaining material and social security, can not but be a highly important factor in shaping personal dispositions; in short/ forming character and intelligence.

In the broad and final sense all institutions are educational in the sense that they operate to form the attitudes, dispositions, abilities and disabilities that constitute a concrete personality. The principle applies with special force to the school. For it is the main business of the family and the school to influence directly the formation and growth of attitudes and dispositions, emotional, intellectual and moral. Whether this educative process is carried on in a predominantly democratic or non-democratic way becomes, therefore, a question of transcendent importance not only for education itself but for its final effect upon all the interests and activities of a society that is committed to the democratic way of life.


There are certain corollaries which clarify the meaning of the issue. Absence of participation tends to produce lack of interest and concern on the part of those shut out. The result is a corresponding lack of effective responsibility. Automatically and unconsciously, if not consciously, the feeling develops, “This is none of our affair; it is the business of those at the top; let that particular set of Georges do what needs to be done.” The countries in which autocratic government prevails are just those in which there is least public spirit and the greatest indifference to matters of general as distinct from personal concern.


Where there is little power, there is correspondingly little sense of positive responsibility. It is enough to do what one is told to do sufficiently well to escape flagrant unfavorable notice. About larger matters, a spirit of passivity is engendered. In some cases, indifference passes into evasion of duties when not directly under the eye of a supervisor; in other cases, a carping, rebellious spirit is engendered. . . . Habitual exclusion has the effect of reducing a sense of responsibility for what is done and its consequences. What the argument for democracy implies is that the best way to produce initiative and constructive power is to exercise it. Power, as well as interest, comes by use and practice. . . . It is also true that incapacity to assume the responsibilities involved in having a voice in shaping policies is bred and increased by conditions in which that responsibility is denied. I suppose there has never been an autocrat, big or little, who did not justify his conduct on the ground of the unfitness of his subjects to take part in government.


I conclude by saying that the present subject is one of peculiar importance at the present time. The fundamental beliefs and practices of democracy are now challenged as they never have been before. In some nations they are more than challenged. They are ruthlessly and systematically destroyed. Everywhere there are waves of criticism and doubt as to whether democracy can meet pressing problems of order and security. The causes for the destruction of political democracy in countries where it was nominally established are complex. But of one thing I think we may be sure. Wherever it has fallen it was too exclusively political in nature. It had not become part of the bone and blood of the people in daily conduct of its life. Democratic forms were limited to Parliament, elections and combats between parties. What is happening proves conclusively, I think, that unless democratic habits of thought and action are part of the fiber of a people, political democracy is insecure. It can not stand in isolation. It must be buttressed by the presence of democratic methods in all social relationships. The relations that exist in educational institutions are second only in importance in this respect to those which exist in industry and business, perhaps not even to them.

Excerpted from John Dewey, “Democracy and Educational Administration,” School and Society 45 (April 3, 1937); 457-67.







Honesty sometimes hurts like hell and the only salve is even more honesty

I offer  this link not because I agree or disagree what what is said here, nor do I necessarily subscribe to the actual motives of Judicial Watch.  I offer the link because I think it is a perfect example of the kind of incident/event that some, because of their political persuasion and ideology try to ignore and ask others to ignore.  But to ignore is to be caught out for being bias and biased thinking and deservedly so.  The only viable political environment I know to be a healthy one for a democracy is one in which truth is in the open and all players participate in finding the truth and demand that all others show their good faith in democratic process by being truthful no matter what the consequences of truth telling might be.

This story, one being circulated now in various media for the purpose of providing a jarring counterbalance to stories concerning the current administration’s interactions with the Russian state and its leaders.  I do believe that the truth is that that is the intention.  But that the story is being used for such purposes has nothing to do with whether it is a story relevant to understanding our current political crisis and its legitimacy as a story.

What is reported about the Clintons, their dealings with a Canadian uranium company that wanted to sell shares in the company to Russian interests and contributions by the uranium company to the Clinton Foundation, are, as far as I can tell true.  And it is also true that the Obama administration, it seems at the urging of Hillary Clinton, was helpful in getting the deal approved.

As a commentator on one of the news programs I watch, on a channel known to have a liberal biassaid, if nothing else, the optics are terrible.  And I can see why those who do not like the Clintons, who do not like Obama, and who do not like those of the liberal persuasion, particularly those who are dogged in their efforts to bring out the truth about Trump and the administration, want to get word out again about what they want people to understand to be, as I have heard Trump himself say, ‘the real Russia story.’

To dismiss the story for it not being true, for it being unfair, or for it being irrelevant will be, and fairly be made to be seen as hypocrisy on the part of those who would like it to be that the events never occurred or that the events say nothing meaningful about the character and the political behavior of those implicated.

So, my point is that to get things moving in a better direction, people are going to have to start telling the truth and talking openly about what is true and that that seems to be true but needs further inquiry into whether it is or not.  This will take courage and it will be costly in regard to wins and loses and alliances, partnerships, even friendships.  Because it is so costly it is very difficult to get people to do and more so because it not only eats on alliances, partnerships, and friendships but because it is galling sometimes to be honest with oneself.

The Loretta Lynch Clinton meeting is something else Judicial Watch is going after and, if there are people out there that want to participate in meaningful cleansing of a corrupted political process, they should insist that every shred of evidence anyone calls for that has the potential to get at the truth be provided no matter who it hurts or how much it hurts.



The whole truth is the truth that should count Washoe County School District

WCSD, it was reported the other day in the Reno Gazette Journal, increased by considerable amounts its graduation rate. Today, the newspaper reports, there is a “catch.” I, being a skeptic and a long term WCSD watcher, held back on questioning what the great numbers might indicate in terms of real achievement. I know I am perceived by some in “higher” places to be too harsh a critic of WCSD, a crank to some.
But, over the years, reporting from the District on improvements to its academic programs have far too often been erroneous, statistics manipulated to show gains when no meaningful gains were achieved. So, the new highest graduation rates in the history of the District, when reported, led me to wonder–of course.
Today, in the RGJ, a paper that will not allow me to link its stories to my posts, the graduation rate story was on the front page, the headline containing the word “catch” because the the graduating class being cited was held to graduation requirements different from those of previous classes. This, said the Superintendent, who has promised to boost the rate of graduation, should be looked at, the new graduation requirements, as a minor factor in the uptick.
There were other interesting asides that should make anyone who cares not only about how many but how good to give consideration to the meaning of the wonderful numbers being reported and to the way in which the superintendent goes about making little of what might be very much.

Obama signed Moreno Opioid Pusher Enabling bill and neither he or democrats who allowed passage had no idea about what was in the bill or what effects would be: Really!!!!????

A lot of people have a lot of explaining to do and MSNBC Live interview with Obama era drug czar should be eye opening as he explains that the passage of the bill Tom Moreno got congress to pass (without voice vote, without dissension and was signed by President Obama) got through, became administrative law, was because no one was paying attention. REALLY? Neither democratic congressmen and women nor the president! Could it be that some who are thought by good people to be on the right side may be swayed by the dark side if there is money involved? Neoliberalism at work here, people liberal on some issues but culpable in the government by corporation takeover?
I will post the clip when MSNBC makes it available. Here is a WAPO story that covers some of the same ground.

WTF writ even bigger: Considering entitlement of the worst kind


There are two issues that have been consuming most of my thinking these days and I do see the relationship between them to be of significance, both for understanding such things as causes and effects and for understanding sensible ways to conceive of remedies that might be better remedies than those that have not succeeded or only partly succeeded in bringing about meaningful resolution.

I posted the other day items that concerned aspects of American society that I loathe, the mistreatment of human beings by other human beings–here, in particular because of recent revelations about abusive behavior of powerful men toward women–and the indecency and inhumanity reflected in capitalism as it does business in the modern era, the drug distributors unconscionable streaming of opioid drugs into communities, the act killing people and making a great amount more miserable.

I blame our version of capitalism for both. Mr. Weinstein could not have done what he did, most likely, unless he was a wealthy and powerful man. Bad enough what he had been doing for years, the number of lives he hurt and those he outright destroyed. He and others like him had lots of rich and powerful friends, some of them in leadership positions in the society and keeping his friendship, hanging with Harvey was more important than doing what any good human being would do, find a way to make him stop what he was doing and make sure he and other like him were properly punished for their behavior.

Harvey bought people and the drug distributors bought people and, though there are predators who are not rich and wealthy, few of the first are able to live the best of lives while being the worst kind of people.

Hollywood, has we call it, is, of course bigger than Harvey Weinstein and the wrongfulness of Hollywood as a culture extends beyond the culture of Hollywood itself. The sports star culture, the music star culture, celebrity culture are elements of American society that are a part of its madness and not its goodness. But people who are stars in these cultures exert an incredible amount of influence on what the broader culture can be and is. It creates false notions of what leadership should be, of who should be at the center of the culture, who should have credibility in the culture.

And what is so devastatingly sick here is the fact that this ridiculous celebrity culture is not only at the center of American culture, it is the center of American culture and, because it is not necessarily a good culture or a smart culture or a caring culture, good and smart and caring have become personalities rather than real virtues of a meaningful society.

Weinstein, and Cosby and O’Rely, and Ails should never have been allowed to become big men in the society. Whatever their talents, they were not of the kind that should allow them to hold power, to have influence on the way people think and do.

I, personally, and fucking sick of this stuff because it is stuff that I have had to suffer as my reality for all of my life, form those days when idiots of another kind ordered water cannon and rifles to be turned on black kids down in the American south. I was told to respect generals and the presidents who hired them as they murdered thousands of young people for little more than the economic system that favored them and ego satisfaction. LBJ and Nixon said to those allowed to listen that they could not stand the idea of becoming the first American president to lose a way.

Yes, the problem is big people and disposable little people and this idea that this is a reasonable scheme of things is absolutely intolerable.

Even more intolerable is that fact that so many have and to continue to tolerate, even celebrate this dehumanizing society, some very much willing to think it the best possible and worthy of sending other off to die for it.

A story and

What is curious to me at this moment is the anxiety I am feeling as I contemplate publishing the short piece of fiction below.  I publish here, on lafered, a good amount of text and I hardly ever feel as nervous about what people may think as I do putting out there for others to read “Deidre EI.” Somehow it is about judgment of a different kind but what is different, I cannot tell.  Maybe it is that I hold art to be more sacred than argument and exposition, maybe, but a less than satisfactory answer in this now.  The story does feel, somehow, to be more personal than response to public debate.  Maybe “DEI” reveals something more about me than the other kinds of writing in which I engage but, that other writing, when I think about it, does reveal much about me, who I am and how I think. 

 This story, composing it, took something out of me.  I felt intellectually winded when I finished the first draft and I felt that what went out had been replaced with a kind of comfort I rarely have felt; something had left me, taken on a nature of its own, in a rather lovely way, but not without attachments of an inexplicable kind, a loving bond born of responsibility in its creation.

 Maybe that is it, that in this case, I feel a kind of responsibility that is different from that I feel when what I share with the world is about things more tangible, ideas that attach to events and actions that—I want to say—are real.  Here, I am dealing with what feels to be a deeper reality, a reality that exists in the depths that lie below what is real in that more tangible reality but that are essential to that other reality having and meaning worth an effort to respond.

Deidre EI

She created her own mystique and her own myths followed, she believing herself to be what she made everyone else know her to be.  She could never free herself of the self she made up for herself and she could not understand how it was that all who knew her didn’t really know her at all, herself included.  This state of existence was of and by her mind and reinforced by those who had mind of her, the slight and agile one dancing in a light that was pure, direct, and unshaded.

She was exposed, she, and frolicked in the attention until she gave herself some time to think about what she had created, who she had drawn herself to be and how irrelevant that self that  was she really, the possibilities and what she had done with them.

Possibilities.  But how, when you are pinned and wriggling on the wall, and the pin, the one you took from the a plate of pins, the pin you thought to be made of silver that, in reflection, shined only because it had been sprayed them with varnish, a cheap varnish that came off at a touch to exposing dullness so deep and so shallow that you could not possibly find your way beyond it inside yourself.

She did discussed herself, in broad terms, with herself but it wasn’t until she took, for herself, a breath that allow herself to float away, free. Glimmering were all she could achieve, now, at this height.  Pins made of steel may be dull but dullness does not diminish their power to hold well what they poke through and what they poke into and these walls were of matter that never lets go, give release only when smashed to powder by very heavy and well-aimed hammers.  She possessed no such tool, only a pair of nail clippers and a tiny screwdriver for setting time on her mechanical watch.

Deidre was spelled out and the spell was one she could not break. She was born with the name. Deidre, the I before E without the a preceeding C.  Hers did not conform.  She remembered school trauma, learning to spell names while learning the rules of spelling.  She was an exception and this she got confused with exceptional though she was not ordinary, not at all.  Her first song was not a lullaby.  It was a jazz piece, called “Evidence,” played on a throaty organ, notes robust and, enrapturing, comfortable, up to a righteous point, for they did not always float softly or sensibly sometimes mysterious, sometimes raw and disconcerting, and then meaningfully in ways she could not yet understand, at least as “understood” is commonly understood to be—when understood properly.

She grasped at those notes and, most often, surprisingly, grasped them, for moments at a time and sometimes some forever a given moment of her conscious would tell her reveal.  Notes written onto what she later came to regard as the score of her life.  Forever so long, “Evidence” was what she had to go on, most all of what she could find to explain to herself what sanity could be, as she was capable of understanding it and herself.  “Evidence,” notes and cords and an organ’s sound, a bass, a guitar, and staccato shots from insanely tight drum skins and thin cymbals.

When others began to notice her and she them, the hesitation was profound enough to get through at least several bars and, when through, there was left nothing so much, so good as to be real acquaintance, something else, something confused and muffled as it worked its way through “Evidence,” muted against time but audible enough to allow for connection of some kind but not of the kind necessary for empathy and meaningful communication.

Coping, she created an identity for herself without “Evidence” and this was the she she shared.  In time, it became the she she thought herself to be but, when “Evidence” entered her consciousness, made itself known, she knew, could sense at least, that her relationship to she and she to those she would know as far as knowing could go were not wholly real and, she did surmise, possibly illegitimate.  She lived made up because of “Evidence” and because there was little she could find to contradict it.

There is a forever field. What grows in it is temporary–and significant for the existence of the field cannot be explained except for what crops up there.  Some of what is there is organic, but not all.  There are rocks and bottles and shards of bottles and rusty tin from rusting tin cans.  There are, at times, too, fresh sprouts of vegetation that grow in its soil. Sometimes someone will, with intention, plant something there, sometimes it is organic, sometimes not, sometimes legitimate and sometimes unreal, sometimes truth and sometimes lies.

Draw a rake through the plot and find the evidence needed to sustain whatever reality makes of it to be.  Take the rakings and examine the debris, the detritus that holds to the ground.  Count, arrange, categorize, diagnose, infer.  That is how reality is sustained and that is how what is often the real is missed or ignored.  Cut oneself on a piece of the glass and what is something painful and not the glass.  Find a single spring flower in the dirt, but one, alone, and consider life too empty.  Or choose this, to consider the edges on the shard, hold one up to the sun and consider the colors of the different angles, their possibilities. Block out everything except for one flower. Contemplate color and shape, petals perfectly whole and perfect in the whole it shares with the other parts.  The boring part is the stem but, without it, nothing more would be.

The choice is a choice of what to know and of what to make of what is known.  Evidence is that there is a factor of mindfulness and degrees of engagement of mindfulness and, too, mindlessness that can be counted as nothing or something as relevant to understanding as something.  Understanding understanding is a kind of delectable agony, an impossibility that allows for lingering and states of ecstasy beyond simple, beyond the painfulness to nearness with the sublime.

Deidre waited. She waited until she was well into her life before coming to understand that “Evidence” was like a piece of glass that might be discarded for of its capacity to hurt and do harm.  Or it could be held up to the sunshine for discoveries on the edges and meanings concerning shapes and angles and what they have to do with how one sees into and through a minutes and hours and day and lifetimes.  She did what did.  She held a fragment of glass and pointed it toward the sun.  She turned to a flower growing near her feet and found in her mind and again discovered contrasts to helped her understand the fullness of her existence.  She saw sunrays split, refractions, tinted in the hue of a rum bottle’s pale green.  She saw a flower. Lit by the sun and then through the glass, at angles again, to distort, to make anew something more difficult now to get at the real, the real more malleable than, she thought, she could ever have imagined.

At this point she realized she and realized about she that she was someone quite different from who she had understood herself to be, this because of thoughts she was allowing herself time to think, in a moment on a field so empty that a person had to look hard for something to find.  This was evidence of not vacancy, but fullness detectable with eyes wide open and mind receptive to all and to nothing.  She was alive without much to live on but very much enough. She knew what it meant to be human, to have the choice, to choose the angles and the lenses and how one could and might and would use them in the moment in forever fields so vast that there would never be good reason to die.



Opiods are a very good thing

I rant and rave about capitalism and one might think from what I say that it is, if not the root of all evil, a very significant one at least. I argue regularly that this United States of America cannot be a democracy or a nation of laws if capitalism is allowed to continue to do what capitalism does, allow those who make money to buy influence in government so that they can make sure that legislation favors them getting even more money and does nothing to prevent them from using their money to buy influence of a kind no ordinary citizen can afford.
I know that “we all benefit” from the system, that our quality of life is the best in the world and, if one considers such things as “average” income or the kind of health care that is “available,” at least to some, there is some truth in this, for some.
But, if democracy is something that people in this nation born as a democracy (see the Declaration and the Constitution) care about, if they wish to defend democracy against the forces that exist that can and will destroy it, then capitalism, at least the brand that currently exists in the USA, needs to be understood to be democracy’s greatest threat.
The 60 Minutes program tonight is an important one, one that shows how money buys power and how the power of the monied is used to bring into being law that is against the best interests of the people.
The Washington Post story is part of collaborative effort with 60 Minutes to bring this story to light. Washington Post Article Companion to 60 Minutes story here.
Interestingly, terrifyingly, the new appointment to lead the Drug Enforcement Agency is the very man who brought to congress the bill, passed and signed by then president Obama that now prevents the DEA from enforcing laws to limit the amount of opioid drugs that can be put onto the market and that were intended to prevent illegal sales of these deadly and addicting drugs. This article is about this man