Sunday Links

November 14, 2021

Just a few.


A viable account of two plausible hypotheses regarding the polling errors in the 2020 poll.  The degree to which Republican support of institutions has dropped in the last 40 years is, to my mind, a very interesting fact.


Concerns about the number of students going through parochial schools, which have historically been a central feeder for Roman catholic colleges and universities.  This presages some financial troubles for these higher ed institutions in the future.  This will have interesting knock-on effects for theology and religious studies in coming years. Scholars in these fields should be attentive to what happens upstream of our institutions.


“Though provocative, none of these ideas is remarkable or original. What makes this manifesto noteworthy is that it comes from Piketty, an economist who gained his reputation as a researcher with vaguely left-of-center sensibilities but was far from a radical. Yet the times are such, and the inequalities so extreme, that even honest moderates are driven to radical remedies. Piketty is in good company with President Biden.” Fun review of a surprising book by Thomas Piketty.  Well, here we are.


Great little podcast about Dave Matthews. Not the song I would’ve chosen--my song of his has been "Everyday" ever since the post-9/11 live version he did, but the great conversation about what and why he means so much to so many.  The podcast series this is from—60 songs that explain the 90s—is terrific; check it out.


This makes a good point:

“I find it odd that some of our society’s most heated debates -- for example, about cancel culture or critical race theory or language usage -- are, for the most part, not taking place in the classroom. Is it because these debates strike instructors as too political or too volatile? Or is it because of higher education’s overemphasis on a rather narrow definition of disciplinarity?”


Great piece on Ernst Cassirer.  Cassirer still represents for me a kind of tradition of thinking that more or less disappeared after WWII, though Gadamer & maybe Charles Taylor carried part of it on: a version of humanist thinking that is Hegel-adjacent but not caught in the trundling idiom of Hegelianism.  I admit, he is kind of a Denisovian relic.  But maybe rehabilitatable? I think there's a lot there; seems to me that some of the work of Jennifer Herdt in Forming Humanity is also developing this vision.  This is telling, too: His way of thinking, according to his wife,

“was the perfect hobby for a husband and father, not only because it kept him occupied, but also because it nourished his habit of finding nothing but goodness in everything and everyone he came across. Soon after getting married they wandered the streets of Berlin, and she marvelled as he greeted all sorts of acquaintances – a barber, a bank clerk, a servant or a professor – with exactly the same laughter, interest, respect and solicitude. Thanks to his philosophical labours, it seems, he was incapable of snobbery, incuriosity, rudeness, anger or disdain.”

Honestly, if someone were to say this of me after I am dead, I would think my life had been, to some degree at least, a success.