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…

Plenty to criticize, plenty to celebrate

–Jared Milne– Recently there have been harsh criticisms levied against past–and often celebrated–figures in Canadian history, particularly Prime Ministers like John A. Macdonald and Wilfrid Laurier. Critics have pointed out the way past historians often ignored or downplayed the negative aspects of their legacies, such as the “head tax” on Chinese immigrants, the discrimination against…

What is the right amount of tax?

–Jared Milne- Tax time has come and gone again in Canada, which can remind us of politicians’ comments on taxes. Many politicians, especially conservative ones, have talked about tax relief, offering all kinds of tax cuts and rebates for everything from fitness to children’s art programs. Oftentimes, they also guarantee that these tax cuts can…

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…

Hopeful signs for pipelines

–Jared Milne- At first glance, pipelines to get Alberta’s oil to market seem stalled. Many people across Canada don’t think the advantages of pipelines are worth the environmental risks they’re worried about. As I’ve pointed out before, Stephen Harper deserves a lot of the blame for opposition to pipelines becoming as strong as it has.…