For most of the time humans have inhabited the earth, our numbers were small, and the growth rate of our species was nearly zero. In other words, we were more-or-less in equilibrium with the natural world, as were most species. Not anymore.
Americans treasure our individuality, and we hold tenaciously to the idea that what happens inside the case of our brains is sacrosanct. We can think what we want; no American institution can attempt to suppress our ideas. Here is where it gets tricky.
I know this is a difficult concept to accept for this consumeristic capitalistic culture we live in today, but, "No. You should not be able to put the elections on Ebay." Every candidate needs to be heard. Get their message out loud enough and clear enough.
His students weren't the usual liberal-minded suspects--who represent a significant swath of Iran's educated classes, incidentally. He taught Mill to largely conservative-oriented students in an institution that cranks out apparatchiks for the Islamic Republic.
As I have discovered in my work, the idea that we must curtail that nasty First Amendment in the name of other (often shifting) values has a surprising amount of currency in academia -- the very institution that, perhaps, most relies on free speech in our society.
The story now: Gridlock or bipartisanship? How can the political leaders of the two Americas cut a deal on the deficit and avoid the 'fiscal cliff?' The British experience of coalition government offers a few tips.
Religion, despite its eternal concerns, has never been shy about wanting to wield temporal power, and does so today in many nations in the East, and certain conservative factions of religion would be happy to do so in the West.
On Obama's birth certificate, on climate, and in lots of other areas, I think we tend to see people speaking out of need or desire, not clear thought. Tribal, partisan interests dominate discourse much more than an honest pursuit of truth.
One of the marked characteristics of the 'readjustment' through which we are all living, both sides of The Pond, is that, for the first time, white collar jobs are under just as much pressure from this creeping commoditization.
Harvard has missed something that I fear much of our society has lost sight of: Even if by some weird and lucky coincidence we happened to be right about every belief we cherish, we nevertheless tend not to understand why we hold those values until they are challenged.
Once we hit 50, we understand life is not unlimited, so maybe now's the time to clarify our priorities. I can only assume that President Obama and his team have been thinking about and planning his legacy for quite some time. Is he on the right track?
What we need is a change in the conventional wisdom in Washington, away from the idea that what is good for Wall Street is good for America, and toward the idea that we should be skeptical of the megabanks.