Month: December 2015

  • Threats

    In celebration of the year, I’m coming back to Stephen Kinder’s April op-ed. It’s not optimism to say that America can be secure in relation to its neighbors. It’s reality: When Americans look out at the world, we see a swarm of threats. China seems resurgent and ambitious. Russia is aggressive. Iran menaces our allies. Middle East nations we […]

  • Shaping communities

    One of the things that Buzz Bissinger’s A Prayer for the City impressed upon me is how much the narrative of cities as blighted, troubled, or hopelessly corrupt environments was simply the product of serially poor policy making. City Lab illustrates how to effectively deal with policies that inhibit growth: Comes now Andrés Duany, the cigar-chomping,…

  • Harmony

    Peter Thiel writes in Zero to One that despite our innovation in the specific area of information technology, we’re actually living through an era of overall technological stagnation. “Technology,” Thiel says, used to encompass everything from computers to rockets to energy. Today it means Silicon Valley, info tech, etc. It’s a narrower thinking. I think what helps…

  • Deciding what’s meaningful

    When Alexis Madrigal started working at Fusion, he shared his perspective on the future: My animating belief is that politicians and bullshitters and ideologues have taken the idea of societal change and replaced it with a particular notion of technology as the only or main causal mechanism in history. Somehow, we’ve been convinced that only machines…

  • Leisure

    A few years ago I contributed to Academic Questions, a quarterly journal of the National Association of Scholars. Academic Questions focuses on the “vices and virtues of the contemporary university,” and my contribution was a part of their 2013 “Ideas for Higher Ed Reform.” Of the suggested topics, I chose “Advise students on one way to…