The link between mass automation and microagressions

The changing competition between three dimensions of social status There has been a lot of talk over the past few years about how western culture is changing, especially amongst youth. Individuals are becoming measurably safer and more prosperous physically yet more distressed psychologically. Our interpersonal interactions are also showing some paradoxical trends.  In the physical…

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…

We enabled the rise of Trump. We have to own it.

I understand that many of us feel hurt, scared and angry. This is especially true for the many among my friends and family who are religious minorities, racial minorities, LGBTQ+, or women: people who have felt personally targeted by Trump’s words, actions, and those of some of his supporters. I understand that the natural reaction…

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…