Shortlink

Decline

The Decline of the Midwest’s Public Universities Threatens to Wreck Its Most Vibrant Economies by Jon Marcus.

And there could be far-reaching consequences for the national economy too.

More.

Shortlink

Mavericks?

Does Science Need Mavericks? by Adrian Currie.

Staid and conformist, science risks losing its creative spark. Does it need more mavericks, or are they part of the problem?

More.

Shortlink

WSJ

CJ reviews Free People, Free Markets: How the Wall Street Journal Opinion Pages Shaped America by George Melloan.

Shortlink

Awesomeness

A Unified Theory of Awesomeness by Scotty Hendricks.

There a word that most people use every day without quite knowing what it means, “Awesome”. While the word technically relates to the ability to inspire awe, most of us use it in a far more casual manner. We call great things “awesome”, we desire to see and do awesome things, and we enjoy awesome people. But, what does it really mean when we use it?

More.

Shortlink

Anxiety

Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety? by Benoit Denizet-Lewis.

Parents, therapists and schools are struggling to figure out whether helping anxious teenagers means protecting them or pushing them to face their fears.

More.

Shortlink

Country

For God and Country by Robert R. Reilly.

Do her principles doom America to moral and cultural decline? The question is hardly new. More than two decades ago, Professor John A. Guegan, participating in a conference reflecting on Jesuit priest John Courtney Murray’s book We Hold These Truths (1960), condemned the American Founding for “the philosophical errors that are embedded in the American civil religion.” The task for Christians, he said, should be to destroy the “erroneous philosophy of man and society which underlies the American Proposition and the currently reigning gnosis of pragmatism and positivism which grew out of that philosophy.” In other words, the American Founding was a poison pill with a time-release formula. We are its victims.

More.

Shortlink

Basic Income

Universal Basic Income and the Threat of Tyranny by Shai Shapira.

Much praise has been heaped on the idea of a universal basic income in recent years. Experiments have begun in many countries, some mainstream politicians are starting to advocate it, and if we listen to many thinkers, especially among the Internet and tech crowds, it seems like our inevitable future. This is quite understandable, as the idea attempts to solve a real problem: with the advance of technology, fewer and fewer people are required to produce the amount of wealth required to sustain more and more people. Rather than invent more and more artificial jobs and scarcities, why not just accept the reality of this changing world, where not all people are needed for working, and instead release them to pursue their hobbies, studies, or charity?

More.

Shortlink

Revolution

The Bannon Revolution by Ross Douthat.

If you squint at the Bannon vision, you can almost imagine it. His professed nationalism, with its promise of infrastructure projects and antitrust actions and maybe even tax hikes on the rich, is potentially more popular than the Tea Party vision — an easier sell to swing voters than a stringent libertarianism or a zombie Reaganism, a more plausible response to the new political landscape that the stale agenda currently on offer on a Republican-controlled Capitol Hill.

More.

Shortlink

High?

Why Your Blood Pressure Probably Isn’t as High as Your Doctor Says by Ross Pomeroy.

One simple change could drastically lower rates of hypertension in the United States. No, it’s not proper diet and exercise (though that would definitely make a dent); it’s measuring blood pressure properly. According to a new study published in Scientific Reports, patients need 25 minutes of rest to ensure an accurate blood pressure reading.

More.

Shortlink

Revolutionized

The Charcuterie Board That Revolutionized Basketball by Baxter Holmes.

In the past three years, the Warriors have won two NBA titles with the most explosive offense in history. This is the inside tale of how it all began — on a plate of appetizers.

More.

Shortlink

Contrarianism

The Case for Contrarianism by Oliver Traldi.

Another semester, another academic publishing scandal, complete with calls for penitence and punishment. This time the catalyst is “The Case for Colonialism,” a “Viewpoint” editorial in Third World Quarterly. In this essay, Bruce Gilley argued that “it is high time to question [the anti-colonial] orthodoxy. Western colonialism was, as a general rule, both objectively beneficial and subjectively legitimate in most of the places where it was found, using realistic measures of those concepts.” Gilley’s article has since been withdrawn due to “serious and credible threats of personal violence” made against the journal’s editor. This obviously troubling development should make us wonder: just what evil would this article have brought about if not withdrawn? The Streisand effect is in full display here. The article – detailed, abstruse, and not always beautifully written – has no doubt been far more widely read than it would have been without the controversy.

More.

Shortlink

Battlefield

The Battlefield is Dead by Antoine Bousquet.

The traditional arena of war is no more. Will it give way to a perpetual continuum of military and paramilitary violence?

More.

Shortlink

Relationship

Amy Barrett, Augustine, and the Relationship between Religion and Politics by Brian Jones.

The irony of media coverage of Amy Barrett’s confirmation hearings is that, in fact, Barrett is the one arguing for the truth that religion and politics need to be separated. She believes this because of her Catholic faith, not in spite of it.

More.

Shortlink

Paradox

Nationalism, Liberalism and the European Paradox by Sumantra Maitra.

The entire European project was built on two fundamentally different ideas. One that promotes economic welfare based on borderless free trade, the free market and social individualism. And the other, promoting a centralized hierarchy, an elite in loco parentis which makes decisions about how many calories one should consume, what plastic one should import, and what gross picture of shredded lungs one should see on the front of a cigarette packet. It endorses sovereignty when it means rule by democracy and the protection of human rights, but not when countries decide to control their borders or their individual monetary and economic policies. Over time, defending these contradictions has become increasingly difficult, with cynical onlookers accusing technocrats of defending an unjustifiable and arbitrary set of principles.

More.

Shortlink

Camp

Why We Need Philosophy Camp for Adults by Teodora Zareva.

Consider this: you know that your best friend’s husband or wife is having an affair. Do you tell your best friend about the affair even if they don’t ask you? And when you make the decision, do you consider the “ripple effect” of your actions? For example, who will be affected if you don’t tell? How about if you do? What moral principle or virtue are you exercising in each case?

Similar cases and questions are being discussed in the classes of Dr. Fred Guy, Director of the Hoffberger Center for Professional Ethics and associate professor at the University of Baltimore. Guy’s main goal is to inspire his students to think about philosophy and ethics and help them improve ethical decision making in their personal and professional lives.

Recently, Guy has been thinking about the need for a similar type of education for adults, a philosophy camp that will challenge its participants with complex cases and force them to revisit and refine their moral principles.

More.

Shortlink

Pensions

Pension Math: Public Pension Spending and Service Crowd Out in California, 2003-2030 by Joe Nation.

California public pension plans are funded on the basis of policies and assumptions that can delay recognition of their true cost. Even with this delay, local and state governments are facing increasingly higher pension costs—costs that are certain to continue their rise over the next one to two decades, even under assumptions that critics regard as optimistic. As budgets are squeezed, what are state and local governments cutting? Core services, including higher education, social services, public assistance, welfare, recreation and libraries, health, public works, and in some cases, public safety.

More. (pdf)

Shortlink

Dysphoria

Misunderstanding a New Kind of Gender Dysphoria by Lisa Marchiano.

A year ago, as a result of a blog post I wrote, I began offering consultations to parents of teens who had announced “out of the blue” that they were transgender. Each week, several new families contact me, and their stories remarkably are similar to one another. Most have 14 or 15-year-old daughters who are smart, quirky, and struggling socially. Many of these kids are on the autism spectrum. And they are often asking for medical interventions – hormones and surgery – that may render them sterile, affect their liver, or lead to high blood pressure, among other possible side effects.

More.

Shortlink

Kimmel

Dear Jimmy Kimmel: Stay Out Of The Gun Debate If You Can’t Be Honest by Daniel Payne.

Dear Mr. Kimmel,

I don’t actually watch your show—the lost-sleep-to-comedy ratio isn’t in your favor, I’m afraid—but as a political opinion writer I am sometimes forced to follow your political ramblings, most of which are well-meaning but deeply misguided and ignorant.

Such is the case with your recent missive on gun control after the Las Vegas massacre, what the Washington Post called an “emotional, scathing monologue,” but might better be styled “a deeply misguided and ignorant rant about a topic which Jimmy Kimmel appears to know very little.” Mr. Kimmel, for the sake of our public discourse and the effect that discourse may have on our civil rights, please: stay out of the gun control debate. You are in over your head.

I know you think you’re not, because, as you put it, you’re “emotional” about the whole thing, and you presumably believe—consciously or otherwise—that raw emotion is an acceptable substitute for truth. It is not. There are plenty of useful and commendable things you can do with that emotion: you can give blood, memorialize the victims of this brutal tragedy on your popular television show, offer financial assistance to survivors in a variety of ways. But you cannot allow mere sentiment to stand in place of reasoned and well-informed political dialogue. That is reckless and irresponsible.

More.

Shortlink

The End

The End of Football by David Gornoski.

By 2050, the National Football League (NFL) will be like the Barnum and Bailey Circus of today. Bankrupt, closed, irrelevant, morally passe.

In the early 20th century, the circus was all the rage. After a century of the product’s consumption by a culture increasingly sensitive to the abuse of the weak and helpless—in this case, circus animals—the “Greatest Show on Earth” has been relegated to an empty sideshow. It is simply too brutish for sophisticated moderns who wince at the crack of a whip on an elephant’s rump.

Football will soon follow. Its massive billion dollar stadiums and marketing machines seem immortal for now. But these titanic play pens will soon crumble under the same cultural force that killed the circus: our culture’s growing concern for victims.

I am not judging football’s coming demise as a good or bad thing. I see it as simply a symptom of larger social forces that we should understand.

More.

Shortlink

Nation-States

Why Nation-States Are Good by Dani Rodrik.

The nation-state remains the best foundation for capitalism, and hyper-globalisation risks destroying it

More.