How polarization kills democracy and truth

Across the west, ‘post-truth’ politics are on the rise, public support for and trust in democracy and scientific institutions is on the decline, and authoritarianism is starting to make a comeback. Most people agree that these trends are bad, but dispute who is responsible. My argument here is that the political polarization we are seeing these…

Help wanted: Breaking down echo chambers of all stripes

On Wednesday, Ian wrote an excellent post about how we–the educated, the elites–aren’t exposed to, and so don’t understand, rural America. He described how this lack of understanding enabled us to caricature and demonize rural Americans, which contributed to the rise of Trump. Today, I saw a similar blog post circulating, written by someone who…

The meritocracy paradox

In polls, an overwhelming majority of people say that they support equal opportunity. An overwhelming majority of people also say that they oppose estate taxes–taxes on inheritance–of any amount. These two sentiments are logically incompatible, at least in their strictest senses. Why the inconsistency? A cynic might chalk it up to people being insincere in their beliefs in equal opportunity,…

On carbon pricing, Trudeau risks repeating Obama’s mistakes

In politics, compromise and cool-headedness are usually virtues, especially when facing a bitterly divided electorate. Occasionally though, a time or challenge calls for bold action that ruffles a few feathers in the short term, but pays big dividends in the long term and resounds in history. Examples of such bold action from the past century…

Academia’s conservative problem

In the halls of the academy, data suggest that conservatives are both more underrepresented and more heavily discriminated against than most other traditionally underrepresented groups (though other groups certainly may face greater barriers before they get to the academy). To kick off this week’s #DiversityJC discussion, here are some thoughts on why this is a problem for…