July 2021

Selected articles, including Jonathan Haidt on saving teenagers from smartphones; Katie Herzog on gender ideology in medical schools; and Glenn Loury making the case for black patriotism.

This Is Our Chance to Pull Teenagers Out of the Smartphone Trap

Jonathan Haidt and Jean Twenge in The New York Times

Even before Covid-19, teens were finding themselves increasingly lonely in school. The rapid transition to smartphone-mediated social lives around 2012 is, as we have shown, the prime suspect. Now, after nearly 18 months of social distancing, contagion fears, anxious parenting, remote schooling and increased reliance on devices, will students spontaneously put away their phones and switch back to old-fashioned in-person socializing, at least for the hours that they are together in school? We have a historic opportunity to help them do so.

What is the climate left doing?

Matt Yglesias in Slow Boring

The good news on climate is that there is a lot of elite buy-in on the importance of climate action, and climate topics actually get a lot of prioritization in Democratic Party politics up to and including things like a former Secretary of State taking a White House job running point on climate diplomacy. But there are hard technical issues here and hard political issues here, and publicly trashing your allies in search of “leverage” doesn’t help anyone. Especially because the climate groups themselves often seem to struggle to actually prioritize reducing emissions in their own policy agenda.

Med schools are now denying biological sex

Katie Herzog in Common Sense with Bari Weiss

Today’s students will go on to hold professional positions that give them a great deal of power over others’ bodies and minds. These young people are our future doctors, educators, researchers, statisticians, psychologists. To ignore or downplay the reality of sex and sex-based differences is to perversely handicap our understanding and our ability to increase human health and thriving.”

The Case for Black Patriotism

Glenn Loury in City Journal

It shouldn’t have taken 100 years; they shouldn’t have been slaves in the first place. True enough. But slavery had been a commonplace human experience since antiquity. Emancipation—the freeing of slaves en masse, the movement for abolition—that was a new idea. A Western idea. The fruit of Enlightenment. An idea that was brought to fruition over a century and a half ago here, in the United States of America, liberating millions of people and creating the world we now inhabit.

This Wave of Anti-Critical Race Theory Laws is Un-American

Kmele Foster, David French, Jason Stanley and Thomas Chatterton Williams in The New York Times

These initiatives have been marketed as “anti-critical race theory” laws. We, the authors of this essay, have wide ideological divergences on the explicit targets of this legislation. Some of us are deeply influenced by the academic discipline of critical race theory and its critique of racist structures and admire the 1619 Project. Some of us are skeptical of structural racist explanations and racial identity itself and disagree with the mission and methodology of the 1619 Project. We span the ideological spectrum: a progressive, a moderate, a libertarian and a conservative.
It is because of these differences that we here join, as we are united in one overarching concern: the danger posed by these laws to liberal education.

A Nation of Rentiers

Connor Harris in City Journal

This conventional wisdom that homeownership ought to be a chance to build wealth deserves scrutiny, along with related notions, such as that renting a dwelling means throwing money away... The real blame for housing unaffordability lies not with institutional investors but rather with heavy government interventions in the housing market—above all, supply restrictions whose most numerous beneficiaries and supporters are regular homeowners. Any justifications for such policies pale compared with their massive economic costs. The best way to get institutional investors out of the housing market is to support expansions in housing supply and make homeownership a way to store, not build, wealth—as it was for most of American history.