William Egginton poses the provocative question in his new book: ‘Are we in danger of losing our civic culture’? As the head of a humanities institute at Johns Hopkins University, he sees the goal of our higher educational system–to strengthen community–slipping away. And while he supports the inclusion of previously dispossessed groups, he wonders whether our culture’s new emphasis on individual rights might need further calibration to insure civic discourse and intellectual pursuits that allow for divergent viewpoints. His book, ‘The Splintering of the American Mind’ may be seen as a follow on to the 1980’s tome by Allan Bloom of ‘The Closing of the American Mind’.
Monthly Archives: November 2018
n the first of a two-part series, we look at the subject of free speech on college campuses. Why are speakers being barred or, if allowed on campus, to be shouted down? Doesn’t a liberal arts degree imply that some of the material you will read and discuss will be new, in opposition to that which you have been exposed to and valuable as you find your way in a world filled with people with contrasting ideas? Greg Lukianoff, our guest, and his co-author. Jonathan Haidt, set off a firestorm when an article they wrote made the cover of ‘The Atlantic’ and challenged the notion that universities, regrettably, have become places to protect students from certain forms of speech, rather than introducing them to new ideas. He will make his argument in this podcast. On our next podcast, William Egginton addresses a similar concern.
If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you think you’re getting a great deal. Have you factored in your piece of the $1.5 billion in state and local taxpayer subsidies that Amazon has received since 2000? Or the costs of government benefits, like Medicaid, provided to their under-paid workforce? The Free & Fair Markets Initiative(FFMI) has been keeping a running tally of all the giveaways that this $1 trillion dollar behemoth has amassed as a by-product of the company’s aggressive and strategic lobbying efforts at all levels of government, as well as campaign contributions, to explain why this largesse goes to a company that clearly doesn’t need a handout. So, while mom and pop businesses shutter on Main Street, Amazon continues to disrupt all commerce on-line and brick and mortar with help from the politicians. It’s amazing when you think about it. Robert Engel of FFMI joins us to discuss.
Plastics is the future or so Benjamin was lectured in the movie ‘The Graduate’. Now they may actually be seen as part of our past. Environmentalists are making a strong case that the convenience of ‘single use’ plastics, like straws and bags, isn’t worth the environmental damage they can do, particularly to the world’s oceans. And state and local governments, as well as companies, like Starbucks, Burger King and McDonald’s are testing ways to phase out some forms of sipping and packaging. Yale University’s former recycling director, C. J. May, now leading similar efforts in Waterbury, Connecticut, joins us for a conversation about this topic and recycling, in general. Jon and Larry both interview this wonderfully engaging environmental advocate and educator.
If you think it’s rough out there today in the job market, hang on for dear life because robots, automation and AI have yet to have the convulsive impact they will have in virtually all fields. And it’s not just service workers or entry level positions that will be affected, according to Darrell West of the Brookings Institution. The impacts will come to a job you may now hold and will come in waves as the technology and price points converge such that man vs. machine isn’t a contest. We lose. Now the news isn’t all bad. We can do a range of other things and explore human potential and satisfaction in new ways. However, government policies will have to adapt. Hmm…now there’s a problem. Take a listen.
There are many myths about aging. And there are new scientific developments exploding them one by one. We have now learned that the mid-life crisis is more like a mid-life slump and when you get past the pressures often associated with this stage awaiting you is a great time of renewal, re-connection and gratitude. Some of the competitive juices have been replaced with a desire to enjoy our days as they begin to pass more quickly. In Jonathan Rauch’s new book, ‘The Happiness Curve’, we examine a worldwide trend and its implications for America’s aging population.
Alfredo Corchado has been reporting on all things ‘the border’ for many years. Much included in his reporting has changed just since Donald Trump came down the escalator at Trump Tower and gave his take on the border situation and disparaged an entire culture. Mr. Corchado joins us to correct the stereotypes that many Americans have about Mexico and the Southwest and the vibrant interplay between two cultures that will never be broken. Geography and history cannot be erased, even if it can be used for political advantage at times like these. His book ‘Homelands’ is the basis for this conversation.
Perhaps, you took for granted the notion that a secure and stable middle class life awaited you upon graduation from college and you’re finding out that it’s a real struggle just to get by. This picture is becoming the norm for too many young people ‘squeezed’ by college debt, stagnant wages, little job security and the high cost of beginning and raising a family, particularly where the jobs are, in attractive urban centers. Author Alissa Quart, who is also the executive editor of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, joins us to discuss why families can’t afford America as she discovered in her research for her new book, ‘Squeezed’.