Beyond Intractability in Context Blog

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Posts ordered from most recent to earliest.

  • From a Christian perspective, a more universal explanation of the limits of fundamentalism and the belief in absolute self-righteousness -- "a closed fist can’t overcome the open hand." -- How Fundamentalism Fails --
  • An argument worth considering -- the possibility that the intersectional struggle against oppression will lead to an era of widespread conflict between the various identity groups. -- After Intersectionalism --
  • Truly terrifying news that, rather than appreciating the wonders of the modern world and applying themselves to the task making it better, people are giving up on the human enterprise altogether. -- The People Cheering for Humanity's End --
  • Amid our continuing frustrations with chaotic democratic systems that repeatedly fail to live up to their ideals, a welcome look at democracy's strengths and its advantages over authoritarianism. -- Enough about democracy’s weaknesses. Let’s talk about its strengths. --
  • For those interested in defending academic freedom and the ability of universities to help us really solve problems, a report on the campaign to build support for the "Chicago Trifecta." -- More than 1,000 professors sign on to ‘Stanford Academic Freedom Declaration’ --
  • A statistical look at a critical dimension of cultural diversity -- differing assessments of what makes life meaningful. -- What Makes Life Meaningful? Views From 17 Advanced Economies --
  • An exceptionally clear explanation of how democracy is actually being undermined by the many ways in which the left and the right frame their political opponents as existential threats to democracy. -- When Partisans Cry Wolf --
  • A comprehensive look at how the extreme us-vs-them rhetoric of the hard left and the hard right is viewed by the majority of voters who inhabit the political center. -- A Dispatch from the Exhausted Majority --
  • A review of an important new book, "Slouching Towards Utopia," that offers a complexity-oriented view of the chaotic forces that have produced widespread economic prosperity. -- Slouching Towards Utopia --
  • From the Wall Street Journal, a carefully reasoned explanation of what those on the right see as today's big civil rights issue (and a proposed remedy) -- a controversial viewpoint worth understanding. -- The New Woke Discrimination Demands a New Law --
  • From Naftali Bennett, lessons learned from Israel's attempt to govern across deep political divides -- an attempt that focused on the "70/70 rule" (the 70% of issues that 70% of Israelis agree upon). -- A Good-Will Government Was Possible in Israel --
  • An update on the University of Austin -- an outside-the-box effort to create a new university capable of avoiding a great many of the problems that now plague higher education. -- A Radically Different Model of American Education: UATX’s Jacob Howland Speaks to the PEP --
  • For deeply divided society, a more realistic look at things that might be actually accomplished over the near-term. -- Biden Can Still Get Things Done. Achieving National Unity Isn’t One of Them --
  • A look at the speech that Biden should have given had he really been concerned with the many ways in which US democracy is being threatened. -- Biden’s Missing Democracy Pages --
  • Based on more than 70 interviews, a detailed account of the strategic and tactical decisions that enabled Democratic candidates to do so much better than expected. -- How the 2022 Midterms Became a Squeaker --
  • More on the Democrats' effective, but morally fraught strategy -- promoting the nomination of extreme "Trumpist" candidates and then running against the threat those candidates pose to democracy. -- Democrats took an unconscionable gamble — and it worked --
  • Based on the important new book "The Bitter End," an in-depth look at the process of "political calcification" that has made hyper-polarization such an intractable problem. -- Hillary Clinton Accepted Her Loss, but a Lot Has Changed Since 2016 --
  • An analysis of the many reasons why the United States continues to be so evenly and so bitterly divided with important insights for bridge-building efforts. -- Why Is America Always Divided 50–50 --
  • An especially perceptive look at three theories that, together, do much to explain the continuing stability and intensity of the United States' hyper-polarized political standoff. -- Three Theories That Explain This Strange Moment --
  • A hopeful argument that the 2022 election marks both the beginning of the end of the "performative populism" that has upended US democracy and a new era of real problem-solving. -- The Fever Is Breaking --
  • The ambiguous and, in many ways, unpredictable ways in which the cancel culture punishes "unacceptable" behavior has dramatically increased its impact (by forcing most everyone to "play it safe"). -- Fear of Cancel Culture Is Worse Than Cancel Culture --
  • An argument for a less divisive and more inclusive way of thinking about the United States' many historical failings -- combine that with a celebration of the very real progress that has been made. -- How honest American history can cultivate gratitude --
  • A compelling observation that the alternatives to liberal democracy are still much, much worse. We just have to figure out how to make democracy live up to its ideals. -- Francis Fukuyama: Still the End of History --
  • Hopeful news that, despite many, many problems, our efforts to combat climate change are having an impact and the future is starting to look a bit brighter. Keep working, things aren't hopeless. -- Beyond Catastrophe: A New Climate Reality Is Coming Into View --
  • An overview of several major new studies that reveal a little recognized and largely unaddressed catastrophe--- stunning declines in the mysterious factors that make us happy. -- The Rising Tide of Global Sadness --