Beyond Intractability in Context Blog

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Posts ordered from most recent to earliest.

  • An update on the University of Austin -- an outside-the-box effort to create a new university capable of avoiding a great many of the problems that now plague higher education. -- A Radically Different Model of American Education: UATX’s Jacob Howland Speaks to the PEP --
  • A look at the speech that Biden should have given had he really been concerned with the many ways in which US democracy is being threatened. -- Biden’s Missing Democracy Pages --
  • Based on more than 70 interviews, a detailed account of the strategic and tactical decisions that enabled Democratic candidates to do so much better than expected. -- How the 2022 Midterms Became a Squeaker --
  • More on the Democrats' effective, but morally fraught strategy -- promoting the nomination of extreme "Trumpist" candidates and then running against the threat those candidates pose to democracy. -- Democrats took an unconscionable gamble — and it worked --
  • An analysis of the many reasons why the United States continues to be so evenly and so bitterly divided with important insights for bridge-building efforts. -- Why Is America Always Divided 50–50 --
  • Based on the important new book "The Bitter End," an in-depth look at the process of "political calcification" that has made hyper-polarization such an intractable problem. -- Hillary Clinton Accepted Her Loss, but a Lot Has Changed Since 2016 --
  • An especially perceptive look at three theories that, together, do much to explain the continuing stability and intensity of the United States' hyper-polarized political standoff. -- Three Theories That Explain This Strange Moment --
  • A hopeful argument that the 2022 election marks both the beginning of the end of the "performative populism" that has upended US democracy and a new era of real problem-solving. -- The Fever Is Breaking --
  • The ambiguous and, in many ways, unpredictable ways in which the cancel culture punishes "unacceptable" behavior has dramatically increased its impact (by forcing most everyone to "play it safe"). -- Fear of Cancel Culture Is Worse Than Cancel Culture --
  • An argument for a less divisive and more inclusive way of thinking about the United States' many historical failings -- combine that with a celebration of the very real progress that has been made. -- How honest American history can cultivate gratitude --
  • A compelling observation that the alternatives to liberal democracy are still much, much worse. We just have to figure out how to make democracy live up to its ideals. -- Francis Fukuyama: Still the End of History --
  • Hopeful news that, despite many, many problems, our efforts to combat climate change are having an impact and the future is starting to look a bit brighter. Keep working, things aren't hopeless. -- Beyond Catastrophe: A New Climate Reality Is Coming Into View --
  • An overview of several major new studies that reveal a little recognized and largely unaddressed catastrophe--- stunning declines in the mysterious factors that make us happy. -- The Rising Tide of Global Sadness --
  • A detailed account of one case in which conflict dynamics have pushed problem-solving efforts toward extremes---extremes which undermine efforts to deal with the problem. -- The Democrats’ Climate Problem --
  • An example of the advantages of questioning prevailing orthodoxies and looking for better ways of pursuing the things that we really care about. -- The Progressive Case Against Race-Based Affirmative Action --
  • Provocative new insights into the ways in which the Internet and social media contribute to hyper-polarization (and another reason to question our simple explanations of complex realities). -- Sure, Twitter and Facebook have deepened polarization — just not in the way you think --
  • For those who may have lost interest in the war in Ukraine, a reminder that the war has not lost interest in us. A look at what the coming winter could bring. -- Putin Is Onto Us --
  • A reminder that efforts to limit climate change will require us all to make tough choices and sacrifices -- including environmentalists. -- The Environmentalists Undermining Environmentalism --
  • For a time when illiberal democracy is on the rise, Shadi Hamid reflects the all-important relationship between liberalism and democracy. -- Can Democracy Exist Without Liberalism? --
  • An in-depth profile of Xi Jinping with important insights into the threat posed by 21st-century authoritarianism. -- The Omnipotence of China's Xi Jinping --
  • A detailed account of how one well-funded and well-intentioned policy initiative is failing with valuable insights into the complex challenges that real-world problem-solving must meet. -- The Way Los Angeles Is Trying to Solve Homelessness Is ‘Absolutely Insane’ --
  • Eye-opening, often surprising, and extremely important charts showing where populations are exploding, stable, and contracting and by how much. -- Future Population Growth --
  • With respect to LBGTQ issues, a look at the complex way in which the language we use to describe social problems evolves and the way in which that language drives conflict and determines policies. -- Let’s Say Gay --
  • Reflections on the way in which the women's movement disrupted relationship patterns that existed between men and women for 1000s of years and thoughts about how to build new and better relationships. -- The Boys Feminism Left Behind --
  • A surprising and quite perceptive explanation of the role that Jon Stewart played in bringing about today's more divisive media environment. -- How Stewart Made Tucker --