Technological Dislocation-Mark Cuban At Business Insider: ‘Colleges Are Going To Start Going Out Of Business’

Full post here.

Hat tip to Instapundit, and Glenn Reynolds, who’s been following this phenomenon for years.

Cuban lays down some practical advice for high school graduates:  Go to college, but be especially smart about it, because a lot of colleges are going to go out of business:

‘The newspaper industry was once deemed indestructible. Then this thing called the internet came along and took away their classified business. The problem wasn’t really that their classifieds disappeared. It was more that they had accumulated a ton of debt and had over invested in physical plant and assets that could not adapt to the new digital world’

Look beyond the rock-climbing walls, expensive dorms and diverse brochures, and ask the right questions.  Many colleges have been locked in a competitive feedback loop, partially funded by student loan money.

Harvard will still be there, but it is already in the process of adapting.  MIT has unrolled online classes for years now.  Others will survive with varying degrees of success.

As for the media, the NY Times is still around, but not all papers are, and many blogs and individual projects have crowded in.  Most papers resisted the change, the Times especially, thinking they could coast on their size, depth, and reputation alone.  Their size, depth, and reputation have probably helped pull the Times through, but the new advertising isn’t bringing in money like the old advertising did. The industry is still in flux.

To drive the point home, Matt Drudge, of the Drudge Report, made a website which is basically a clearing house of information that gets billions of views a month.  Sure, it’s sensationalistic at times, but Drudge realized early on that everyday people, armed with online access, often know a lot more than a few hundred people sitting in a newsroom do, especially about current events.  He aggregates that information and knowledge created by the new technology, updating his site many hundreds of times per day.


So, even if you’re a Luddite, it’s important to understand that technology is allowing individuals access to much in the way of ideas, books, information, news, ideas, current and world events, as well as social connectivity. Successful online endeavors organize around this new reality.  This is why colleges are analogous to old media.  It once took a few hundred people to gather the cameras, technology, production, field reporting, lighting, a fleet of trucks, distribution, advertising and presenting to deliver information to everyone else.

Now you can gain access to ideas, books, information, news, ideas, current and world events on a handheld device which costs a few hundred dollars, with a plan of about $50 a month and up.  Just like some papers, publications, and news stations will stick around, it will be on the strength of the value they deliver to customers and their ability to adapt to the new environment.

Without a doubt, colleges and universities do much more than deliver value to “customers,” and this blog thinks it’s worthwhile to save egalitarianism from the excessive egalitarians, college culture and pedagogical rigor from inflated grades, merit from the political philosophy of many meritocrats, and also keep us from slipping back into a old boys network of the legacy few and well-connected.  Higher ed is often for the higher things, a culture of learning, and getting smart people where they need to be (challenged and uncomfortable at times).  There is a core educational mission combined with the genuine hopes of most Americans that could be greatly helped by technology.

Related On This Site: Repost: Mark Cuban From His Blog: ‘The Coming Meltdown in College Education & Why The Economy Won’t Get Better Any Time Soon’…From The New Criterion: ‘Higher Ed: An Obituary’,,,Ron Unz At The American Conservative: ‘The Myth Of American Meritocracy’

 Should you get a college degree?  Yes, you probably should, but understand there are many entrenched interests who don’t always have your interests in mind:  Gene Expression On Charles Murray: Does College Really Pay Off?…Charles Murray In The New Criterion: The Age Of Educational Romanticism

The libertarian angle, getting smart, ambitious people off of the degree treadmill:  From The American Interest: Francis Fukuyama Interviews Peter Thiel-’A Conversation With Peter Thiel’ I think it’s going too far, trying to apply libertarian economics onto education, but Milton Friedman on Education is thought-provoking.

A deeper look at what education “ought” to be: A Review Of Martha Nussbaum’s ‘Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education.’

Allan Bloom had in mind the idea of a true liberal arts education: Update And Repost: ‘A Few Thoughts On Allan Bloom–The Nietzsche / Strauss Connection’

Update And Repost: Via Youtube-Uncommon Knowledge With Fouad Ajami And Charles Hill


A quote from Hill’s forward to Ajami’s new book on Syria as discussed in the video:

“[The] greatest strategic challenge of the twenty-first century is involves “reversing Islamic radicalism”‘

Both men want to see more leadership out of this administration.  They both argue that there needs American led involvement of some sort in Syria.  It’s a bad neighborhood, and we’ve got to provide leadership and side with the rebels as best we can.

Hill pushes further to suggest that if America doesn’t lead onto a new set of challenges that now face the West, then Europe surely isn’t capable of leading either.  If we don’t strike out on our own as Truman did with bold leadership after World War II, we will end a generations long experiment in American exceptionalism.  If we don’t lead, someone who doesn’t share our values, probably will.

I wanted to contrast this vision with Francis Fukuyama’s new piece, entitled ‘Life In A G-Zero World,‘ where if I’m not mistaken, Fukuyama is ok with such a diminished role for the U.S:

‘It is clear that no other power is going to step in to fill this role of structuring world politics on a grand scale. It does not necessarily imply, however, that the world will turn into a chaotic free-for-all. What occurs after the retreat of US hegemony will depend critically on the behavior of American partners and their willingness to invest in new multilateral structures. The dominant role of the US in years past relieved American allies of the need to invest in their own capabilities or to take the lead in solving regional problems. They now need to step up to the plate.’


‘The regional military balance has already shifted toward China more than many American allies would like to admit. Moreover, while the basic American commitment to Tokyo under the US-Japan Security Agreement remains sound, the willingness of the Obama administration to risk military conflict with China over some uninhabited islands in the middle of the Pacific is not at all clear.’


We are, of course, using our intelligence agencies, military, special ops, drone strikes and many of Bush’s War On Terror policies to address realities, which I presume, can’t be ignored.

It’s certainly true that the U.S. will need some mix of increased tax revenue (flat tax?) and reduced spending (which it certainly won’t see under Obama, and which will be difficult under any President) if we’re to get out of the fiscal mess we’re in.  We’ve got military commitments across the globe.

But does it follow that if the End of History hasn’t materialized that we just throw in our lot with European Statist models of governance, shrink our economy and prosperity, end our bold international leadership, and choose to drift along with European interests in the G-Zero world, hoping for the best?

I doubt that’s the best way forward either.

Any thoughts and comments are welcome.

Addition:  Walter Russell Mead thinks Fukuyama gets Japan right.

Related On This Site:  From The Wall Street Journal: ‘Charles Hill: The Empire Strikes Back’Fareed Zakaria BBC Interview: America In DeclineRichard Lieber In The World Affairs Journal–Falling Upwards: Declinism, The Box Set

From The Atlantic: Samuel Huntington’s Death And Life’s WorkFrom The American Interest Online: Francis Fukuyama On Samuel HuntingtonFrom Foreign Affairs Via The A & L Daily: ‘Conflict Or Cooperation: Three Visions Revisited’Has Fukuyama turned away from Hegel and toward Darwin? Adam Kirsch Reviews Francis Fukuyama’s New Book At The City Journal: ‘The Dawn Of Politics’…Is neoconservative foreign policy defunct…sleeping…how does a neoconservatism more comfortable with liberalism here at home translate into foreign policy?: Wilfred McClay At First Things: ‘The Enduring Irving Kristol’

Some thoughts on Fukuyama and Leo Strauss: Update And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’

Richard Fernandez At PJ Media: ‘The New Middle East’Niall Ferguson At The Daily Beast: ‘China Should Intervene in Syria, Not America’…From Foreign Affairs: ‘The Geography Of Chinese Power’From Via Media At The American Interest: ‘History Made; Media Blind’From The New Perspectives Quarterly: Francis Fukuyama’s ‘Is America Ready for a Post-American World?’Repost-From The American Interest Online: Niall Ferguson on ‘What Chimerica Hath Wrought’

Democracy as we envision it requires people to constrain themselves within laws and institutions that maintain democracy…through Mill’s utilitarianism?: Thursday Quotation: Jeane Kirkpatrick – J.S. Mill  Is Bernhard Henri-Levy actually influencing U.S. policy decisions..? From New York Magazine: ‘European Superhero Quashes Libyan Dictator’Bernhard Henri-Levy At The Daily Beast: ‘A Moral Tipping Point’
Do we try and invest in global institutions as flawed as they are…upon a Kantian raft of perpetual peace?:  Daniel Deudney On YouTube Responding to Robert Kagan: Liberal Democracy Vs. Autocracy
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Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution: ‘The End Of Charity?’

Full piece here.

‘Why then would the government take steps to cut back on charitable giving? The most obvious explanation is both insidious and dangerous. It is to shrink the size of its main competitors in the private sector in order to increase the dependence of ordinary people on the federal government.’

This administration has actively pursued getting people to sign up for benefits, in many cases.

Interestingly, old-school Democrat and poor Brooklyn kid Daniel Patrick Moynihan made a similar argument to Epstein’s about making charitable giving easy.  Beware the encroachment of government into such areas of our lives.

Related On This Site: Covering the law and economics from a libertarian perspective: Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution Journal: ‘Three Cheers for Income Inequality’Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution: ‘Death By Wealth Tax’Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution: ‘The Obamacare Quaqmire’

What about black people held in bondage by the laws..the liberation theology of Rev Wright…the progressive vision and the folks over at the Nation gathered piously around John Brown’s body?: Milton Friedman Via Youtube: ‘Responsibility To The Poor’……Robert George And Cornel West At Bloggingheads: “The Scandal Of The Cross”

From Middle East Perspectives: ‘President Obama’s New Leadership Picks And The Middle-East’

Full post here.

Rick Francona is not happy with the overall direction of Obama’s policies:

‘That said, orders for military operations originate at the White House, for better or worse. It is no secret that I think this Administration is clueless on effective military operations. Again, see the article I mentioned above.

I assume that the Senate will not violate the professional courtesy afforded to fellow Senators and that both Hagel and Kerry will be confirmed. Again, they will only carry out the ill-advised policies of the President.’

Where is there a conservative movement in the Middle-East not dominated by political Islam?  In order to get around the autocrats, where are there liberal movements that represent the will of enough people with enough wealth to build democratic institutions?

Addition:  In the meantime, without our objectives necessarily being met, and without taking a position of leadership, Obama continues to assume his liberal internationalism tempered by realpolitik is sufficient to secure our interests.

Related On This Site: Al-Zawahiri’s Egypt, a good backstory: Lawrence Wright At The New Yorker: ‘The Man Behind Bin Laden’

From Al Jazeera English: ‘Morsi Wins Egypt’s Presidential Election’Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest on Egypt: ‘Still More of the Same—and Something New’…are we still on a liberalizing, Westernizing trajectory?, however slow the pace? Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘What Did The Arab Spring Really Change?’

From Abu Muqawama: ‘Mubarak And Me’From Michael Totten: ‘The New Egyptian Underground’Michael Totten At The American Interest: “A Leaner, Meaner Brotherhood”

Pakistan’s a mess, but in a way, more stable than Egypt:  Via Youtube Via Michael Totten At World Affairs: ‘VICE Guide To Karachi’Christopher Hitchens At Vanity Fair: ‘From Abbotabad To Worse’Repost-’Dexter Filkins In The NY Times: The Long Road To Chaos In Pakistan’

Seth Jones At Foreign Affairs: ‘The Mirage Of The Arab Spring’

Full piece here.

I’ve had my hand on my wallet for a long time, hoping for the best and waiting for the worst.  I think it’s reasonable to be skeptical of the current ideas guiding U.S. foreign policy, no matter how much that idealism is tempered by realpolitik.  It’s too easy to get played by the bad actors, somewhat used by even our allies, and to spend too much of our capital engaged in deeply flawed international models.  We’re drifting along with events.

Jones premise is to deal with the Muslim world as we’re finding it:

‘A central goal remains counterbalancing Iran — not only preventing it from acquiring nuclear weapons but also checking its long-term regional ambitions. Iran views the United States as its main ideological and geopolitical enemy, and it is seeking to become the preeminent power in the Middle East and to promote its revolutionary ideology. Tehran has lent support to a number of U.S. adversaries and organizations that challenge U.S. interests, including Shiite groups in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Palestinian terrorist groups, Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, and the Venezuelan government under Hugo Chávez.

Addition: Egypt is not looking good.

Google books has Samuel Huntington’s ‘Political Order In Changing Societies‘ and ‘Who Are We?:  The Challenges To America’s National Identity‘  (previews)available.

Related On This Site   Al Qaida still there, and our objective may not be met. At least some folks in the media know just how much of a mess Pakistan can be, and the FATA region.  Just ask Lara LoganSome Tuesday Links-Two Foreign Fronts

Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘What Did The Arab Spring Really Change?’

How do we deal with the rise of Islamism: Via Youtube-Uncommon Knowledge With Fouad Ajami And Charles Hill

From The Atlantic: Samuel Huntington’s Death And Life’s WorkFrom The American Interest Online: Francis Fukuyama On Samuel HuntingtonFrom Foreign Affairs Via The A & L Daily: ‘Conflict Or Cooperation: Three Visions Revisited’

Edward Glaeser At The City Journal: ‘The GOP And The City’

Full post here.

Link sent in by a reader.

The piece comes off partly as a re-branding attempt for the GOP:

‘The Republicans’ abandonment of the city is good neither for their party nor for urban America.  The GOP clearly needs a heftier percentage of the urban vote, but winning it by means of fiscal pandering or redistribution isn’t the way to go-partly because such a strategy would cost rural and suburban votes and partly because it would be wrong.  A better approach is to offer the good ideas that cities desperately need.  Republicans have plenty.’

Glaeser offers some fresh thinking on crime, education, and transportation, and suggests that Republicans get back in the game in our cities. He’s right in pointing out that if people find certain principles worth living their lives by, then the party offering policies based on those principles would likely get more votes, and presumably address certain problems in our cities.

Outcomes may vary.

To take a step back, though, I don’t know how you get any politics without fiscal pandering, various other forms of pandering, and well, politicians.  Politicians move toward the incentives our system of laws and rules creates, and the incentives that the voting public provides for them.  They can’t be seen as too far ahead of the people, and are always beholden to many voting blocs and interest groups.  I favor understanding politics as a necessary evil, and as one of the last resorts to implementing principles in our lives. Our big city machine politics is often corrupt enough as it is, full of back room dealing, and used as a system of patronage.  See Washington D.C., Chicago, and New York for starters.

Perhaps this is partially a response to the success of the Obama community activist model, which may be enough to make you depressed, but which can also sharpen your realism.

To back up another step, here’s a quote from P.J. O’Rourke:

‘When you look at the Republicans you see the scum off the top of business. When you look at the Democrats you see the scum off the top of politics. Personally, I prefer business. A businessman will steal from you directly instead of getting the IRS to do it for him. And when Republicans ruin the environment, destroy the supply of affordable housing, and wreck the industrial infrastructure, at least they make a buck off it. The Democrats just do these things for fun.’

Well, the Democrats do things for money and power as well, torn between their beliefs and the institutions and incentives they’ve created in the wake of those beliefs.

If you really want to become skeptical, and nearly anarchical for a moment, you could read Albert Jay Nock’s ‘Anarchist’s Progress.‘  I know that will sound a little radical for some readers, but it’s likely worth your time.

In addition, click through for how not to fashion a winning libertarian PR campaign in NYC under “Guns For Tots Revisited”, back in 2003.  It’s interesting to see how our nuttily portrayed libertarian protagonist presaged the gun control debate and the consequences of Bloomberg’s nanny statism by cleaving to his libertarian principles.  A fight was brewing:

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Guns for Tots Revisited
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook


Addition:  In other words, win the culture first, and convince people by your deeds, which is not exactly how politicians think, I know.

Related On This Site:  I will join the City Journal in highlighting the effects of liberal utopianism and the twisted incentives of the Welfare State: …Heather MacDonald At The City Journal: ‘Radical Graffiti Chic’…Kay Hymowitz At The City Journal: ‘How Brooklyn Got Its Groove Back’…Repost-William Stern At The City Journal: ‘How Dagger John Saved New York’s Irish’

The people who promise solutions to poverty and homelessness seem to be engaged in a utopian cost-shifting exercise which favors their interests and overlooks crime, violence and personal responsbility…hardly a way to balance the budget: Repost-Heather MacDonald At The City Journal: ‘The Sidewalks Of San Francisco’

Milton Friedman Via Youtube: ‘Responsibility To The Poor’…Richard Epstein At Defining Ideas: ‘City Planners Run Amok’

Trade and commerce aren’t just vehicles for nanny statism, equality delivery services and racial harmony…they are well…trade and commerce:  Via Youtube: Ric Burns—New York: A Documentary Film – Episode One: The Country and The City (1609-1825)Joel Kotkin Via Youtube: ‘Illinois Is In A Competition’

Cities should be magnets for creativity and culture? –From The Atlantic: Richard Florida On The Decline Of The Blue-Collar ManFrom Grist.Org Via The New Republic Via The A & L Daily: ‘Getting Past “Ruin Porn” In Detroit’… some people don’t want you to have the economic freedom to live in the suburbs: From Foreign Policy: ‘Urban Legends, Why Suburbs, Not Cities, Are The Answer’

Is the same definition of ‘community’ connected with one that can stifle economic growth through political means?: Roger Scruton In The City Journal: Cities For Living–Is Modernism Dead?

Repost-From Foreign Policy: ‘Leftist Planet’

Full piece here.

Our author criticizes the travel guides, mainly ‘Lonely Planet’ for being out of touch:

‘THERE IS AN almost Orientalist presumption that the citizens of places like Cuba or Afghanistan have made a choice in rejecting globalization and consumerism. From the perspective of the disaffected Westerner, poverty is seen as enviable, a pure existence unsullied by capitalism. ‘

Well, most people travel to take a risk, and for new experiences, and to broaden their horizons and understanding and learn about other cultures. Our author finishes with:

So go to Cuba. Try to get that visa to North Korea. Visit the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Just make sure to throw your Lonely Planet and Rough Guides in the trash before you do.’

Of course, be careful and be street-smart, too, and good luck getting to North Korea.  Apparently, the folks over at Lonely Planet are still hitting the hippie trail, looking to romanticize the ‘noble savage’ or go searching for the pristine tribe and/or life-affirming anthropological/new age experience away from the industrial, capitalist, soulless, over-individualized West.

As for me, just give me some good tips and as many facts as possible.  I’ll sift through the rest.

*Michael Totten has a new book  Where The West Ends, and it’s good reading about his travels to Iraq (Kurdistan) via Turkey, the former Yugoslavia, and to the Ukraine and Georgia.  Not places you would normally go.

**Or at least read some Paul Theroux

Related On This Site:  Repost-Roger Sandall At The American Interest: ‘Tribal Realism’…Romantic primitivism in Australia: ….Roger Sandall At The New Criterion Via The A & L Daily: ‘Aboriginal Sin’

Did Jared Diamond get attacked for not being romantic enough…or just for potential hubris?:  Was he acting as a journalist in Papua New-Guinea?:  From The Chronicle Of Higher Education: Jared Diamond’s Lawsuit

Some truth and courage in the face of barbarism, but mostly a lot of sentiment, a naive understanding of politics and diplomacy, and dramatic romanticization of Africa: Kony 2012.Add to Technorati Favorites

Megan McArdle At The Daily Beast: ‘Is Obama Turning America Into France?’

Full piece here.

Sacre bleu!

McArdle’s friend Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry:

‘America currently finds itself in a place which is very strange for Americans, and very familiar to Europeans: mass unemployment, young and marginal workers struggling, government and big business expanding hand-in-hand, a nagging sense of a dimming horizon. America’s mass unemployment ought to be cyclical–with strong pick-up growth, it can go back to pre-crisis levels. But that’s a big if, and the odds are even lower with well-intentioned regulations that make it harder to hire and harder to grow a business.

So yes, at the risk of looking like one of those guys waving a placard with Lenin’s face on it and shouting “Socialism!”–the Francification of America is a real thing, and Obama is doing it. And it’s very bad’

Don’t worry, who needs a dynamic economy?

Perhaps freedom fries were a little much, and the dastardly Fuckaire is a little over the top, but I can’t resist:


Liberte does not mean the same thing as liberty, for various social, political, philosophical and cultural reasons.  We can and have done much better.

Related On This Site:  The black/jewish connection?:  Thank You Bernard Henri-Levy: The End Of Victimhood & Identity Politics

Sunday Quotation: Edmund Burke On The French Revolution..

Just how far Left is this administration anyways? Is Bernhard Henri-Levy actually influencing U.S. policy decisions..? From New York Magazine: ‘European Superhero Quashes Libyan Dictator’Bernhard Henri-Levy At The Daily Beast: ‘A Moral Tipping Point’Charlie Rose Episode On Libya Featuring Bernhard Henri-Levy, Les Gelb And Others

Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest: ‘Futuristic Blues’

Full piece here.

Mead’s theory, in part, posits that liberalism 4.0 needs to become 5.0 and start to creatively solve the problems we’re faced with, including globalization, the decline of manufacturing and industry, and the rise of technology.  The ‘blue’ model is behind the times:

‘This view holds that the death of industrial society means the death of the mass middle class.’


‘The economy is making us more unequal, but a wise elite can mitigate the harm—if only we are willing to live under their tutelage. That is what liberalism 4.0 offers today; from an ideology of populism and reform it has mutated into a defense of the status quo.’

This would include Obama:

‘Those who think that the blue model needs to be preserved and extended into the future (including, I think, our current president and most of his top allies and advisors), tend to think that under those conditions we will both need and be able to afford an ever-more active redistributive state.’

Mead places Obama in the Anglo-American liberal tradition, a tradition which:

‘…does not seek state ownership of the means of production and it does not seek to crush freedom of expression. It assumes that the private economy and the creative power of gifted individuals will remain the wellsprings of innovation and prosperity.’

So, Obama’s liberalism may stop short of Marxism, and totalitarianism.  That’s hardly ringing praise. For Mead, there’s a longer thread back to the Magna Carta.  Obama’s continuing in the Anglo-American progressive vein, from Woodrow Wilson to the New Deal Democrats, to LBJ’s Great Society folks, and the 60’s generation onward.  The problem, especially with the 60’s generation, is that they now control many of our institutions, and are resistant to the changes Mead thinks are necessary.  In fact, both political parties may be behind the times.

On Mead’s thinking, libertarians who point out the lessons of Hayek’s ‘The Road to Serfdom‘, and Straussian conservatives who follow Strauss‘ end run around nihilism/moral relativism, and the three crises of modernity, may not be necessary.  We’ve not arrived at these particular problems of Continental Europe.

In the meantime, it’s not exactly comforting to know that small business owners, large business owners, political opponents and principled objectors to Obama’s statism are asked to either join Obama, tithe, or are called-out in the community organizing style, to be publicly shamed and pushed aside by the political coalitions he must develop and often exploit to maintain power.

It means a lot for political and economic liberty.

Addition:  I should add that I think Anglo-American liberalism has its own tradition, but there are many other continental strains of thought under the modern liberal tent, as well as in that tradition.

Related On This Site:  Where is Mead coming from?: Repost-Via Youtube: Conversations With History – Walter Russell Mead

 Mead takes a look at the blue model (the old progressive model) from the ground up in NYC to argue that it’s simply not working.  Check out his series at The American Interest.

Francis Fukuyama And Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest: ‘None Of The Above’

Some thoughts on Fukuyama and Leo Strauss: Update And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’

Charles Fried and Randy Barnett among others, testify as to the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (Nearly 3 hrs, but likely worth your time.  You can skip to the parts you’d like)

Originalism vs the ‘living constitution?” George Will Via The Jewish World Review: ‘True Self-Government’A Few Thoughts On Robert Bork’s “Slouching Towards Gomorrah”

The classical liberal tradition…looking for classical liberals in the postmodern wilderness: Isaiah Berlin’s negative liberty: A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”… From George Monbiot: ‘How Freedom Became Tyranny’…Looking to supplant religion as moral source for the laws: From The Reason Archives: ‘Discussing Disgust’ Julian Sanchez Interviews Martha Nussbaum.New liberty away from Hobbes?: From Public Reason: A Discussion Of Gerald Gaus’s Book ‘The Order of Public Reason: A Theory of Freedom And Morality In A Diverse And Bounded World’…Richard Rorty tried to tie postmodernism and leftist solidarity to liberalism, but wasn’t exactly classically liberal:  Repost: Another Take On J.S. Mill From “Liberal England”

Kori Schake At The Hoover Institution: ‘Flawed Diamond’

Full piece here.

Jared Diamond has a new book out entitled the World Until Yesterday.  He’s consistently broadened and generalized from his own field of anthropology and reached a mass audience.  Schake calls his latest a bit of a vanity project which doesn’t necessarily convince:

‘In this book, Diamond draws from his extensive field research in New Guinea to share his views on the shortcomings of contemporary American society. Primitive approaches to social problems, he thinks, would better serve our society. For example, he argues for: dedicating more resources to mediation as an alternative to civil lawsuits, establishing “conventional monopolies” to smooth out trade fluctuations, deemphasizing competition and the desire for excellence among children, on-demand nursing for infants, spending more time talking to our children, devising new living conditions for the elderly, accepting that the gulf between rich and poor in the United States provides an explanation of the popularity of religion in our country, preserving language diversity, and ending obesity.’

Should we model some of our behavior upon that of the tribes of Papau New-Guinea, and what moral reasoning does Diamond use to arrive at such a position for Americans?  What empirical research?

***In the case of Diamond and Steven Pinker, it’s interesting to note that an anthropologist and a psychologist have become generalists, and addressed questions of moral thinking, human political organization, and political philosophy more generally.

The L.A. Times has a book review here.

If you’ve read the book, please share your thoughts.

Also On This Site:  From Savage Minds: More On The Lawsuit Against Jared Diamond…Did Jared Diamond get attacked for not being romantic enough…or just for potential hubris?:  Was he acting as a journalist in Papua New-Guinea?:  From The Chronicle Of Higher Education: Jared Diamond’s Lawsuit…and: Jared Diamond: “Vengeance Is Ours” In The New Yorker

There has been a movement of people in anthropology to romanticize tribal life, many of them tend toward Left-of-Center political philosophies Repost-Roger Sandall At The American Interest: ‘Tribal Realism’…Romantic primitivism in Australia: ….Roger Sandall At The New Criterion Via The A & L Daily: ‘Aboriginal Sin’

Hirsi Ali seems to have found the embrace of the West out of both tribal localism and its customs, Islam, and the short-sightedness of multiculturalism.  Notice non-Muslims are not the ones threatening her with death: Tunku Varadarajan Reviews Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s ‘Nomad’ At The Daily BeastRepost-Ayan Hirsi Ali At The CSM: ‘Swiss Ban On Minarets Was A Vote ForTolerance And Inclusion’


The West is less violent? At Bloggingheads Steven Pinker Discusses War And Thomas HobbesFrom Reason.TV Via YouTube: ‘Steven Pinker on The Decline of Violence & “The Better Angels of Our Nature”‘

Evolutionary psychology and moral thinking: Franz De Waal At The NY Times 10/17/10: ‘Morals Without God?’

Blackburn not so impressed with the Blank Slate: Simon Blackburn Reviews Steven Pinker’s “The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial Of Human Nature” Via the University Of Cambridge Philosophy DepartmentAt Bloggingheads Steven Pinker Discusses War And Thomas HobbesFrom Reason.TV Via YouTube: ‘Steven Pinker on The Decline of Violence & “The Better Angels of Our Nature”‘