Tuesday, September 29, 2020


Margaret Heffernan writes beautifully and wisely. "While we can never render complexity simple, we could embrace it as an adventure, calling us to investigate the infinite permutations of life that it contains. Surrendering agency, action and adventure for convenience is a miserable bargain. In the uncharted world, who is content to be left hugging the shore when we could use our freedom t explore." (p. 103) 

Markets are dynamic. Politics can be anti-dynamic. Rapid change upsets many. Following increased international migration, for example, politicized identity politics is incited. This undermines Enlightenment recognition of the worth and integrity of individuals. Rather than expanding, the circle of trust becomes smaller. Only the group starts to matter. Lost are the benefits of meritocracy. Pinker noted how misplaced identity politics can be: “Equality is not the claim that all groups of humans are interchangeable; it is the moral principle that individuals should not be judged or constrained by the average properties of their group.” Presuming that it is even possible to classify people by simple groupings it is dangerous as well as ignorant. It is ironic that, in the name of diversity, many applicants are now favored for positions in government, universities, and other elite institutions on the basis of their group identification.  More than ironic, it is perverse because the real diversity is among individuals, not groups.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Never simple

MLK's I Have Dream speech was beguiling in many ways. But I heard a Stokely Carmichael speech shortly thereafter and felt deflated. Didn't he get the word that it must be about content of your character rather than color of your skin? Fast forward and everywhere you look it is about the color of everyone's skin. How awful. And history cannot be simple. But seemingly educated adults can be tone-deaf and push the likes of the NYT 1619 Project (I will forego the link).

But here is a bright spot. Williamson Evers has compiled some reading lists to help those with blind spots in their education. Thank you, Mr. Evers!