Viewing entries tagged
Ideology and Politics

How Much Do CEOs Get Paid And Why

Per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 195,530 chief executives in 2018, with a mean annual salary of $200,140. That doesn’t seem unfairly high, given that the mean annual compensation for physicians in 2018 was $299,000.  But the CEO pay that gets people riled up isn’t what run-of-the-mill chief executives get, it’s the CEOs pulling in millions working for the top companies. For instance, the $14 million average annual compensation paid to S&P 500 CEOs…

Behind The Headlines: Are Millennials Being Crushed by Student Debt?

The basic theme in these stories is that college has become so expensive that students increasingly rely on loans to fund their education and the resulting burden of student debt has kept millennials from realizing the American Dream of home ownership and wealth accumulation…. I decided to investigate the matter further.  

Moral Outrage and Governing Wisely

Moral outrage makes ends absolute: This must stop! That must happen! No ifs, ands, or buts…. Governing wisely is about setting priorities, a process that assumes scarcity: the principle that valued ends require scarce resources with alternative uses.

Crime, Punishment, and Rich People

Leniency is called for when an individual is at low-risk for reoffending and there is no need to “make an example” of the person to deter others from engaging in the same criminal behavior.

Is Capitalism As Bad As They Say It Is? Part II: Wages

“How on earth could young people, whose wages are flat…dare question the larger economic forces in their lives?!” - Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. …So, what’s happening with wages? I have a source for that: the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, which tracks wage trends in the US. Here’s a recent Atlanta Fed chart on wage growth by income quartile over the past 20 years:

Why Are Some People Upset About Inequality But Not Others?

My takeaway from these survey results is that how we feel about disparities in income and wealth has a lot to do with how much we think ...people have control over their circumstances...luck figures in life outcomes ...the rules of the game are fair ...people deserve what they get…

The Paranoid Style in American Politics, Part I: Introduction

Back in 1964, Historian Richard Hofstadter wrote the now-classic “The Paranoid Style in American Politics” for Harper’s Magazine. According to Hofstadter, this style of mind was characterized by “heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy”…Hofstadter goes on:

“Since what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, what is necessary is not compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish….”

How To Understand The Other Side Better

For those who want to understand the Other Side better, a few do’s: …Strive to be humble about your own grasp of the relevant facts…

And a few don’ts: Mindread – that is, ignore the other side’s expressed thoughts and motivations in favor of what you consider their “real” thoughts and motivations. …

Technocrats versus Ideologues: Differences in Degree, Not in Kind

What’s a technocrat? Admirers would say someone who approaches problems and challenges with the mindset of a scientist or engineer, seeking out information from credible sources, confronting their own ignorance, changing their minds when the evidence calls for it, taking disagreement seriously, and gladly accepting criticism to avoid error, because they devoutly wish to get it right. …What’s an ideologue? …

Ideology and Green New Deal, Part II: Signs and Portents

In the debate, supporters of the Green New Deal came back with:

  1. Other ideas are just cover for capitalist yearnings

  2. Nothing significant is being done to combat climate change

  3. There is no serious alternative to the Green New Deal

  4. The Green New Deal is our only hope to avert catastrophe

Ideology and Green New Deal, Part I: Introduction

…where once the Big Solution was seen as a means to fixing problems, it eventually becomes an end in itself - one that requires Big Problems to justify.  That’s because Big Solutions tend to involve painful sacrifice (the darkness before the dawn). And that pain had better be worth it!

In The Name of Science: Portraying The Other Side as Driven by Fear

According to this trope, the Fearful Conservative is afraid of change and uncertainty, clinging to the safe harbor of habit and tradition, overly controlled, troubled by bad dreams and distressed by disorder. In so many words: fear makes conservatives stupid. The authors usually bolster their case with a few studies and quotes from “experts”, which can be hard to refute if you don’t know what they’re leaving out - namely, evidence to the contrary.

Behind The Headlines: Are Conservatives Driven by Fear? Part II

One thing the articles and opinion pieces don’t mention is the decades of research on personality and political attitudes, covering tens of thousands of participants. And that research is, well, unequivocal: conservatism is not associated with anxiety or fear - it’s most strongly associated with Conscientiousness.