Beyond Intractability in Context Blog

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Posts ordered from most recent to earliest.

  • A perceptive look at what is arguably a more important political divide -- one that separates those who are absolutely convinced that their side is in the right and those who see value in reconciling competing perspectives and insights. -- America’s True Divide: Pluralists vs. Zealots --
  • An analysis of the many ways in which the structure of US primary elections is intensifying divisions and undermining democratic institutions despite being superficially more democratic. And, some proposed remedies. -- The Problem with Primaries --
  • A thought-provoking exploration of the nature of "authority," what determines whether it is trusted and trustworthy, and what happens to society's ability to work together for the common good when it collapses. -- In Search of Authority --
  • Even stronger reason to really do something about the continuing and rapid increases in the cost of higher education -- it is solidifying the class divide by locking ever more students out of the chance to develop their talents. -- Why Some Students Are Skipping College --
  • The continuing horror and destruction in Ukraine is just the latest reminder of why developing and pursuing realistic strategies for avoiding war ought to be near the top of our priority list. As we think about this, here are some ideas to consider. -- Lessons for the Next War --
  • An in-depth look at the role that rational thought plays in human society, how it has made us so successful, and the many dynamics that are undermining our ability to think (and deal with conflict) in rational ways . -- Reason To Believe -- How and why irrationality takes hold, and what do to about it. --
  • A lighter and very illuminating inquiry into the many ways in which our society discriminates against left-handers (with important lessons about what we should and shouldn't be doing to help all disadvantaged groups). -- Fables of the Deconstruction --
  • A friendly critique of the Forward Party and its efforts to offer voters a moderate alternative to the "us-vs-them" politics that dominates the two major parties with lots of ideas about what it takes to be successful. -- Launching a Third Party Takes More Than Good Intentions --
  • Amid the many reasonable and exaggerated worries about ChatGPT and the dangers that it may or may not pose to society, a challenging and illuminating, explanation of what, exactly, it does and how it works. -- How ChatGPT actually works --
  • An honest and affectionate look at what makes US society and its democratic institutions something to celebrate and nurture despite their deep flaws -- flaws that are deeply intertwined with its virtues. -- A Love Letter to America --
  • Increasingly, the left is the party of the more educated and the right is the party of the less educated. Reflections on how the resulting arrogance is undermining the left's ability to learn. -- Why the ‘Smart’ Party Never Learns --
  • A reminder that the profound social problems that contributed to President Trump's success persist even though his political fortunes may be waning. -- Trump Struggles, but America Is Still Feverish --
  • An extensive and long-term look at statistics on the incidence of different types of bad weather that makes it clear that it's not all climate change and that disaster preparedness is essential. -- U.S. Extreme Weather in 2022 --
  • Especially informed and thoughtful reflections on the "Twitter Files," freedom of speech, the First Amendment, public policy, and social media. -- The ‘Twitter Files’ Show It’s Time to Reimagine Free Speech Online --
  • A look at the origins of one of the most dramatic changes in the way we form our most important and most personal relationships. -- The Woman Who Made Online Dating Into a ‘Science’ --
  • One of history's great accomplishments has been the expansion of Boulding's regions of stable peace (places where nobody considers war a serious possibility). With Ukraine, that peace is now in jeopardy. -- The End of the New Peace --
  • An enlightening explanation of the core beliefs underlying true conservatism and a look at the wide gulf that separates these beliefs from prevailing, right-leaning politics. -- Conservatism in an Era Of Populist Revolt --
  • An argument that the 2022 election further proves that base mobilization politics (with its extreme positions and hate-mongering) doesn't work. -- The midterms should be a stake through the heart of the mobilization myth --
  • A look at two types of people who, in often unrecognized and unopposed ways, threaten democracy. -- Evil Clowns and Cowardly Lions --
  • A hopeful image of what the diverse society that we are evolving toward could actually look like. -- America’s No-Majority Future Is Going to be Delicious --
  • For those of us who lived through the first Cold War, there are few (if any) priorities more important than avoiding another Cold War. Ideas on how to do this. -- The Global Zeitenwende -- How to Avoid a New Cold War in a Multipolar Era --
  • Evidence that, under sufficiently terrible circumstances, normal people can commit unspeakable atrocities and another reason why we have to prevent such circumstances. -- Do ‘Ordinary’ People Commit War Crimes? --
  • Reassuring news from a major new survey -- Americans are actually in surprising agreement on what schools should and should not teach about US history. -- The Curriculum Wars Are Based On An Illusion --
  • From the Harvard Crimson, an irreverent look at the administrative bloat that has led to skyrocketing college costs and profound changes in the nature of higher education. -- Fire Them All; God Will Know His Own --
  • A review and brief overview of an important new book -- a primer on what everybody ought to know about statistics and how not to be misled by them. -- How Do They Know This? --