Beyond Intractability in Context Blog

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Posts ordered from most recent to earliest.

  • 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 --
  • 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 --
  • 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 example of the advantages of questioning prevailing orthodoxies and looking for better ways of pursuing the things that we really care about. -- The Progressive Case Against Race-Based Affirmative Action --
  • A detailed account of one case in which conflict dynamics have pushed problem-solving efforts toward extremes---extremes which undermine efforts to deal with the problem. -- The Democrats’ Climate Problem --
  • Provocative new insights into the ways in which the Internet and social media contribute to hyper-polarization (and another reason to question our simple explanations of complex realities). -- Sure, Twitter and Facebook have deepened polarization — just not in the way you think --
  • For those who may have lost interest in the war in Ukraine, a reminder that the war has not lost interest in us. A look at what the coming winter could bring. -- Putin Is Onto Us --
  • A reminder that efforts to limit climate change will require us all to make tough choices and sacrifices -- including environmentalists. -- The Environmentalists Undermining Environmentalism --
  • For a time when illiberal democracy is on the rise, Shadi Hamid reflects the all-important relationship between liberalism and democracy. -- Can Democracy Exist Without Liberalism? --
  • An in-depth profile of Xi Jinping with important insights into the threat posed by 21st-century authoritarianism. -- The Omnipotence of China's Xi Jinping --
  • A detailed account of how one well-funded and well-intentioned policy initiative is failing with valuable insights into the complex challenges that real-world problem-solving must meet. -- The Way Los Angeles Is Trying to Solve Homelessness Is ‘Absolutely Insane’ --
  • Eye-opening, often surprising, and extremely important charts showing where populations are exploding, stable, and contracting and by how much. -- Future Population Growth --
  • With respect to LBGTQ issues, a look at the complex way in which the language we use to describe social problems evolves and the way in which that language drives conflict and determines policies. -- Let’s Say Gay --
  • Reflections on the way in which the women's movement disrupted relationship patterns that existed between men and women for 1000s of years and thoughts about how to build new and better relationships. -- The Boys Feminism Left Behind --
  • A surprising and quite perceptive explanation of the role that Jon Stewart played in bringing about today's more divisive media environment. -- How Stewart Made Tucker --
  • From a defecting Russian diplomat, an explanation of how anenvironment in which dissent was not tolerated led to the tragedy in Ukraine (with important lessons for those suppressing dissent in the US). -- The Sources of Russian Misconduct --
  • For those clinging to the belief that the United States is still the most successful democracy, evidence that others are doing better (and that maybe we can learn from them). -- America's Democratic Backsliding Is Not Universal  --
  • An examination of how the Republican Party that nominated Mitt Romney came to embrace Donald Trump in the style of politics we now call Trumpism. -- Don't Buy the Mitt Romney Martyr Theory  --
  • Disturbing news for those who thought that the United States was united in its opposition to the kind of brutal aggression on display in Ukraine. -- Elon Musk, Tucker Carlson, and Midterm Candidates Peddle Russian Propaganda  --
  • Reflections on the far-reaching implications of a political philosophy that sees racism as the sole factor that determines the course of society. -- This Is What Happens When Race Is Everything --
  • An only slightly reassuring exploration of what everyone ought to know about the tactical nuclear weapons that now threaten to take us to the first nuclear war since 1945. -- Tactical Nukes: A Primer --
  • As it fights its internal battles over racial and cultural issues, the world is sliding toward the kind of major confrontation that could make United States' internal battle seem trivial. -- We Are Suddenly Taking On China and Russia at the Same Time --
  • A thoughtful look at the miracle of religious pluralism and tolerance that we take for granted and reflections on why we can't seem to apply this to the "culture war." -- Disagreement Isn’t Bigotry --
  • While there is plenty of reason to fear the rise of authoritarian leaders like Xi and Putin, there is also reason to believe that they may be sowing the seeds of their own (and their country's) destruction. -- Xi Jinping Has Fallen Into the Dictator Trap --
  • Reflections on the fact that a great many of the stories of extreme racism that are doing so much to drive us apart turn out not to be true. -- What a Report of Extreme Racism Teaches Us --