Monday, February 09, 2015


On Oct 30, 1969, the NY Times reported "School Integration Ordered by Supreme Court." That was not a long time ago. Some of us celebrate remarkable progress -- while wanting ever much more.

In The Moral Arc, Michael Shermer joins others who have documented that humanity is generally on a good path.  History is a hard read but I believe that Shermer makes a strong case (as do Steven Pinker, Joshua Greene, Deirdre McCloskey, Robert Wright, and many others).

The worst impulses (and the worst atrocities) occur when people revert to tribalism. One of the charms of Shermer's analysis are his demonstration that humanity has (for the most part) been moving away from tribalism towards greater cosmopolitanism.  He offers a schematic that he calls "The Expanding Moral Sphere" (above).

In the recent Commentary, Noah Rothman writes "The 'Conversation About Race' That Isn't a Conversation"  He suspects a lot of demagoguery. Race-baiting for votes is retrogressive and dangerous.  It is also a digression from the expanding moral sphere.