Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday grab-bag

I read too much of the Internet this week. Here are five of the better things I came across:

● Crooked Timber’s John Holbo (whom I used to know when we were undergraduates at the University of Chicago) meditates on moral revolutions, moral complacency, and how notions of honor underpin changing norms. (HT Brad DeLong) His starting point is his anticipation at the prospect of reading Kwame Appiah’s TheMoral Code, but for my money, Holbo says more in this blog post than Appiah said in his whole book.

● Back in the 1770s, the United States was the most egalitarian place on Earth – yes, Southern slavery notwithstanding. It no longer is.

● It is however, a place where it is easier to buy an assault rifle than it is to vote.

● The costs of college are so out of whack, and there’s so much bullshit and make-work masquerading as education, that it’s tempting to conclude that it’s all a con. Nevertheless, according to WonkBlog, the evidence strongly supports the notion that college yields significant financial benefits, and that they come from what you learn, not just from signaling.

● Yeah, but at this point, learning is practically an unintended side effect. Too much of what happens in higher ed is still basically a con.

Bonus 1970s video of the week: If you end up in a sufficiently outré location some Saturday night, you may find yourself singing a karaoke version of "Suspicious Minds." I should know; it happened to me recently. This, for the record, is what you should be aiming for:

White jumpsuit optional, of course. 

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