Category Archives: Social Progress

Links and Comments: Obama; Conspiracy Theories; Big Government; Liberty

Guardian: review of Barack Obama’s new book. Obama makes clear he believes the whiplash from the 44th to 45th president is no accident. On the contrary, the mere fact that an accomplished, intelligent, scandal-free black man inhabited the White House … Continue reading

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The Issues that Divide Us (in the US at least)

I commented somewhere that the “issues” that divide the electorate today become more and more trivial the farther one zooms out to take a broader perspective of time and space. Issues so important at one time in history are irrelevant … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Bubbles and B.S.

Trump’s performance at the second vice-presidential debate indicated to numerous people that all he knows about the world are conspiracy-mongering talking points from Fox News and other right wing sites. In some cases all you have to do is read … Continue reading

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Rutger Bregman, UTOPIA FOR REALISTS: How We Can Build the Ideal World (2014/2017)

This is a breezy, fast-reading book that summarizes grand conclusions simply and directly, and then provides background references to support those conclusions in 40 pages of notes at the end. The Dutch author is “one of the continent’s most prominent … Continue reading

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Link and Comments: Social Health is more than Endless Growth

Recalling this post, about the US rank in social progress, and thoughts by the writer Rutger Bregman (via this NYT profile and his book Utopia for Realists), about how the GDP is a poor measure of social healthy, and the … Continue reading

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Link and Comments: Challenge to Conventional Wisdom: About the Nuclear Family

That long NYT news story about the religious heartland that I posted a couple days ago included this quote from a Mr. Driesen, a utility company worker: “Unfortunately, there’s just more divorce than there used to be,” he said. “There’s … Continue reading

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Link and Comments: Personal Liberty and Seat Belts

As I was saying: Washington Post: How mask fights echo seat belt fights: ‘The right to be splattered all over their windshields’ As transportation secretary in the Reagan administration, Elizabeth Dole pushed for mandatory seat belt laws. The idea created … Continue reading

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Notes for the Book: Hierarchy of Morality

This one isn’t mine; this is Lawrence Kohlberg’s stages of moral development, which I first became aware of in Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature (2011), page 624, and later recalled when I reread E.O. Wilson’s foundational On … Continue reading

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Hans Rosling: FACTFULNESS (2018)

This is a book that explores why most people are wrong on key facts about the world, thinking it worse than it is, e.g. concerning poverty, life expectancy, etc. In a sense it’s a modern-day counterpart to Steven Pinker’s THE … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Sustainability and Rural Living

Problem? Or solution? Sarah Smarsh: Something Special Is Happening in Rural America. Subtitle: There is a “brain gain” afoot that suggests a national homecoming to less bustling spaces. Writing from Wichita The nation’s most populous cities, the bicoastal pillars of … Continue reading

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