Elite Bubble Quiz


Conservative political scientist Charles Murray’s 2012 book Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 relates to some ideas we’ve been discussing in class, especially the cultural polarization of quote-unquote red staters and blue staters. Murray wrote a quiz he says shows how much people are living in an isolating bubble of privilege and comfort, unaware of the troubles and interests of “mainstream America.” Take the quiz; we’ll discuss in class.

Jade Helm Ended 18 Months Ago, Martial Law Still Not Declared


The republic stands! And the conspiracy buffs still haven’t eaten crow. Here’s an article from the Washington Post from the day after the exercise ended, to remind you of the daffy and mistaken forecast of coup d’etat. Remember also that Texas Governor Greg Abbott, far from dismissing the conspiracists out of hand, instead ordered the Texas State Guard to be on the look out for signs that President Obama was using the military games as a pretext for taking over…Texas. Which was already part of America.

Maybe a Little Lecturing is OK


Our discussion yesterday of faddish pedagogy reminded me of this college prof authored op-ed in the New York Times, “Lecture me. Really,” Worthen gets right at our earlier discussion of the value of a liberal arts education vis-a-vis “more practical” options, and she speaks to our ongoing discussion of America’s suspicion of experts, and she even addresses the problem of students’ split attentions in gadget-filled classrooms. Right up our alley. (And it validates my own philosophy of teaching, but that’s just icing on the cake.)

Poll: Weighing Scientists vs. Politicians


Regarding our upcoming discussion of technocracy, take a look at this ancient (2012) survey asking people about their views concerning when politicians should call the shots and when we should listen to the scientists. Normally, I wouldn’t be interested in dated polling data, but I wonder whether in this case the current climate might generate markedly different answers from respondents only a few years later.

Fake News!!


From the time the phrase gained wide currency in late 2016 until about a month ago, “fake news” meant stories fabricated from whole cloth, not intended to be understood satirically, and spread online. Here are a couple of interesting New York Times stories about how such fake news may have mattered or not:
“Inside a Fake News Sausage Factory: ‘This is All About Income.'”
“Researchers Created Fake News. Here’s What They Found.”