"PC culture and free speech debates on college campuses have shifted gear. They’re no longer about Gen-Xer egalitarianism. Through an era of skyrocketing tuition PC Culture now is unironically more about “correctness” and less about politics. By “correctness” I mean that PC culture seems more about corrections and transformations of campus atmosphere and culture than it is about political engagement in the marketplace of ideas. In this way “political correctness” now is more inwardly directed on the college community itself instead of towards solving problems in the larger world beyond four years of very expensive schooling."
"In the Before Time, The Long Long Ago, keeping an eye on rightward opinioning was good for sharpening counter-arguments. Now I appreciate anti-orange conservatives as one appreciates well-armed, battle-tested holdouts trying to survive a zombie apocalypse. The numbers aren't on their side, but the fact that they are the final few is a prima facie case that they weren't wrong on everything."
"It’s obvious that the old American aristocracy had a much better track record. It’s not even close, really. The old American aristocracy was in control during an unparalleled period of American ascendance. It presided over the greatest economic expansion ever, the creation of a massive and growing middle class, the spread of democracy to other parts of the globe, general peace in its spheres of influence, institutions such as the Marshall Plan, United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Bretton Woods Monetary System, and the creation of “the liberal world order.” And though this group of elites came close, they didn’t blow up the world. However, determining just how much credit the old American aristocracy deserves for these developments is tricky."
"The American Left uses “conspiracy theory” to dismiss news and narratives it doesn’t like much in the way the American Right uses “fake news.” Other eras would’ve considered this a bug, but at this moment it’s a feature of the mainstream and alternative news and opinion cycle. Aristotle’s observation that “the more we know the more we don’t know” helps to explain why too often conspiracy theories fill in the gaps of what we don’t know...and sometimes of what we think we know. The prevalence of conspiracy theory in a time of unparalleled information abundance reveals deep anxieties that Enlightenment inspired values such as truth and opinion supported by facts and argument aren’t working as well as they once did. This examination of different ways to think about conspiracy theory is an effort in the fight against the most unfortunate trend in American intellectual life."
"We live in a strange time in which technical expertise and political animus are both in abundance. Indeed, both are distributed along ideological vectors in such a way that the weaknesses and failures of each are still considered acceptable to their affinity groups when compared their polar opposites."
"The genius of the new far right, if we could call it “genius,” has been their steadfast determination to blend into the larger fabric of society to such an extent that perhaps the only way you might see them as a problem is if you actually want to see them at all."
"The opacity of Claire's inner life over the first five seasons of House Of Cards served a singular and focused purpose. It was a lens. Through it we understood the lure of power politics in virtually every Machiavellian aspect of life. We accepted seizing and wielding power in a republic as a talent for which the most well-adapted are also the most successful and therefore the most deserving. We also squirmed as this austere dharma made meritocracy self-justifying."
“Because the industry has such a voracious need for capital, and capital costs money, fracking could not have taken off so dramatically were it not for record low interest rates after the 2008 financial crisis. In other words, the Federal Reserve is responsible for the fracking boom.”
"“White identity policing” is an instance in which a white person reports the actions and behavior of a black person to the police that (s)he would not report were the same actions those of a white person. I’ve suspected that the frequency and tenor of white identity policing is a knock-on effect from the curious way that Black Lives Matter receded from the spotlight of a very specific cultural, political, and media moment."
One of the gloomier American narratives of our time is the possibility that Millennials will not prosper as their Boomer parents have. We assume that the obvious question in response to this is “Why?” as if Millenials are the paltry exception to a trend of ever increasing prosperity. But what if the question is “Why not?” as if the inevitability of their situation weren’t already baked in before they were born?