Category Archives: Social Progress

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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Junger: TRIBE

Sebastian Junger’s TRIBE: On Homecoming and Belonging (Grand Central/Twelve 2016) is one of several short, relatively ‘incidental’, books I’ve read in the past month — ‘incidental’ in that they’re mostly off-topic to my more serious themes of science, philosophy, and … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Trump and His Supporters; Versions of Leviticus; Ancient Aliens, Skepticism, and What Science Fiction Is Not

I’ve been preoccupied with other matters in recent months, and need to resume regular posting of Links and Comments from things I see in the papers and magazines that I think are pertinent, in one way or another. If I … Continue reading

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David Brooks on Myths vs. Parables

New York Times columnist David Brooks runs hot and cold with me; ostensibly a conservative, he’s too inclined to dismiss new ideas in favor of sanctified values, for my taste, yet he does read widely and responds to many new … Continue reading

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Link and Comments: Hollywood and Liberals

NYT: Neil Gross, Why Is Hollywood So Liberal? Best guess: There is, however, a third explanation worth pondering: that the emotional requirements of acting are conducive to progressive politics. “The overwhelmingly liberal orientation of actors,” Professor Ross has written, “can … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Sports and Trump; Pinker and Gates; Tribal Allegiance and Actual Progress

NYT, 3Feb18: Trump’s Blood Sport Politics. The writer recalls “”The Sporting Spirit,” an essay written by George Orwell in 1945 that sought to reckon with the rise of our modern athletic-industrial complex.” For Orwell, the rise of sports was bound … Continue reading

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