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Adjusting my use of social media

If you're not at least somewhat concerned about most social media platforms right now, you're not paying attention. I won't give an exhaustive, or even comprehensive, list of reasons for concern here because you either know lots of them or can find them yourselves. But they include the ways in which many devices/apps/netowrks and combinations …

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Three challenging readings for this Independence Day

Frederick Douglass' timeless speech "The Meaning of the Fourth of July for the Negro" Note Douglass' use of scripture to illuminate a likeness between the United States and Babylon, between enslaved Africans and Old Testament exiles... To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in …

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Pizza delivery and the future of cities

Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal ran a special section on the future of cities, which included a number of mildly interesting pieces. The best two were about walkability and natural disasters. Tucked right in the middle, though, was a half-page piece titled "Pizza Delivery Gears Up for a Driverless Era." It seems smart …

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Bryan Caplan’s Orwellian take on education

From my review of Bryan Caplan's The Case Against Education in this summer's issue of The Hedgehog Review. Orwellian is an epithet with many meanings, all of them negative. It can refer to doublespeak, the use of pretentious diction, distortion, evasive speech, intentional ambiguity, and euphemism meant to make an unpleasant truth sound more palatable. …

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"By the final decade of the twentieth century, commentators who insisted on drafting all American evangelicals into "red state" ranks did so only by ignoring the diversity, ambiguity, and contradiction among believers who had learned to produce so many versions of their own history that one self-described "evangelical" barely resembled the next." --Molly Worthen, Apostles …

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Updated: Why I Won’t Be Protesting at This Year’s Independence Day Parade

(June 27: Below you'll find the original text of a post suggesting that Independence Day parade-goers should find a way to protest family separation at the southern border. Thankfully, the practice of family separation has been halted, and while family reunification has been slow and poorly organized, a federal judge has ruled that all children …

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The U.S. Border and Nazi Germany: The limits and power of analogies; observations and questions

For the past several years, I've had the opportunity to visit Berlin almost annually as I've taught at the Free University of Berlin. Those who have had a chance to visit the city know that it is compact and accessible, so a visitor can see quite a bit during a short stay, but it is …

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Merciless megalomaniacs are animals. To be truly human is to care for the vulnerable.

Apologies for the lack of links in this piece. I wrote it on a flight from Tokyo to Jakarta with a very spotty internet connection. If you need to find some of the relevant news pieces, it's not hard. During an immigration roundtable at the White House this week, President Donald Trump described some immigrants to …

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My summer reading plans

Last week, I posted my response to students who ask me how they should continue to read after graduation. I'm following that up with another post about reading. I've mentioned before that every summer I read at least one book on writing/publishing, at least one book on teaching, and at least one book on higher …

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