Policy

Building Back Better?

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As we await U.S. Senate action on President Biden’s Build Back Better plan, it is worth reflecting on what the past few tumultuous months have meant for U.S. workers.  Much has happened in the short time since the summer drew to a close.  Collective and individual actions have worked together to create new leverage for both organized and unorganized workers that didn’t exist six months ago.  Workers are expressing higher levels of discontent than we have seen in years.  read more »

The New Dark Ages

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If ignorance is bliss, the Western world should be ecstatic. Even as colleges churn out degrees and collect fees, and technology makes information instantly accessible, the basic level of literacy, as measured by such things as reading books and acquainting oneself with the past, is in a precipitous decline. Rather than building a vital world with our technological culture, we are repeating the memes of feudal times, driven by illiteracy, bias and a rejection of the West’s past.  read more »

Our Neo-Feudal Future

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America has only a limited feudal past, the plantation aristocracy of the antebellum South and the enormous class chasms of the Gilded Age being pretty much our only examples. Yet today—after decades of social mobility, a digital revolution that was supposed to empower individuals everywhere, and the construction of a vigorous anti-discrimination apparatus that putatively ensures equal rights and status—a rigid new social order with feudal elements has come into view.  read more »

The Great Nudge

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When we think of oppressive regimes, we immediately think of the Stalinist model portrayed in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, the heavy-handed thought control associated with Hitler’s Reich or Mao’s China. But where the old propaganda was loud, crude and often lethal, the contemporary style of thought control takes the form of a gentle nudging towards orthodoxy – a gentle push that gradually closes off one’s critical faculties and leads one to comply with gently given directives. Governments around the world, including in the UK, notes the Guardian, have been embracing this approach with growing enthusiasm.  read more »

Subjects:

Indiana Under Republican Rule

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My latest article is in the Winter edition of American Affairs Journal. It's a detailed examination of Indiana under 16 years of Republican rule read more »

The Socialism America Needs

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Clobbered from all sides by the pandemic, climate change and disruptions in virtually every industry by the rise of artificial intelligence, the capitalist dream is dying — and a new, mutant form of socialism is growing in its place.  read more »

The Reshoring Imperative

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The Covid-19 pandemic brought tragedy and disruption to America. But it has also provided another stark warning concern­ing the country’s disastrous overreliance on overseas production. It has demon­strated that without a strong, self-reliant industrial base, this country’s ability to forge a healthy, prosperous future—and even its ability to defend itself against foreign enemies—will be severely compromised.  read more »

America is Built on a Great Culture. Progressives Want to Abandon It

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Here's a dirty secret: Great nations rest on a great common culture. I say it's a secret because it's become almost taboo to discuss this historic fact; progressives across the globe have turned decisively against national legacies, and it's progressives who by and large dictate mainstream culture. But if the Democratic Party wants to avoid further electoral disasters like those in Virginia, Long Island and elsewhere, it would do well to relearn the obvious truth that a common culture that binds us is not only good and necessary, but popular.  read more »

Subjects:

Dirty Jobs, Essential Workers, and the Infrastructure Bills

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Current negotiations over the second infrastructure bill may remind a lot of people of Mike Rowe’s oddly popular series Dirty Jobs. Which makes sense. Watching a man stumble around inside a sewage tank as he gags loudly and directs us toward closeups of turds, rancid grease balls, and darkly bubbling sewage can clarify a lot about infrastructure negotiations.  read more »

Serfing the Planet

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Like its global predecessors, the COP26 Glasgow conference will usher in a new wave of apocalyptic warnings about climate change. It will also likely prove no more successful, in terms of actually addressing the issue, than its predecessors, particularly as China, India and other developing countries ramp up their emissions.  read more »