Friday, July 18, 2014

Political links

The problem with unstructured summer time combined with distracting (albeit lovable) family members is that I don't get nearly as much done as I think I should. The stretches of uninterrupted time needed for work or reading a good book just aren't there, or take more effort to create than I tend to make. On the plus side, I do end up reading lots of little things, some of which are quite good. Here are some highlights from the last couple of days:

William Findley against big banks:
If our wealth is less equal than our kind of government seems to require—and if agrarian [i.e., redistributionist] laws are unjust in our present situation, how absurd must it be for government to lend its special aid in so partial a manner, to wealth, to give it that additional force and spring, which it must derive from an almost unlimited charter? Can any gentleman avoid seeing this to be eventually and effectually overturning our government? Democracy must fall before it.
Lee A. Arnold on ten truths about "a cohesive, pervasive social organism"
conservative white males are likely to favor protection of the current industrial capitalist order which has historically served them well. Fiscally conservative white males have disproportionately occupied positions of power within our economic system, controlling stocks and flows of various forms of capital and benefiting from ample amounts of prestige, status, and esteem… Given the expansive challenge that climate change poses to the industrial capitalist economic system, it makes sense that conservative white males’ strong system-justifying attitudes—triggered by the anti-climate science claims of the conservative movement…—may drive them toward climate change denial.
[I'm not convinced that white males' favoring an order that has served them well is "not racist," but I suppose we can disagree about how to define 'racism'. And what I've quoted (which is itself a quote from someone else, not Arnold) might seem obvious, but there's more in Arnold's comment than just the obvious.]

Finally, Changing Universities on "the higher education myth":
[Arne] Duncan and others appear to believe that college degrees produce jobs that require degrees, when in fact, there is very little relation between these two factors.  In fact, since wealthy students graduate from college at a much higher rate than anyone else, higher education often serves to increase income inequality.  Higher education thus cannot substitute for broader economic public policies, and at a time when public higher education is seeing decreased funding, it is absurd to ask higher education to be the solution to all of our problems.  For example, Duncan claimed that higher education is the key to keeping high-pay, high skill jobs in America, but this perspective fails to look at the role of corporations seeking to increase their profits by outsourcing jobs and replacing full-time workers with part-time employees. 

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