Arguing against the facts, and other affronts to fashionable opinion

On Sunday, Thomas Frank—who’s long been one of my favorite incorruptibles of the Old Left—unleashed a torrent of abuse on the class of Washington journalists who make up what he derisively terms the “data brigade.” It is roughly the same … Continue reading

Localism and the grassroots versus democracy

My old LTIL colleague Boyce Upholt flagged up an interesting article by Jonathan Chait about the “myth of localism:” that is, the misguided belief that local, decentralized governments are by their nature closer to the people than consolidated, centralized bureaucracies. … Continue reading

Is St. Louis segregated? Depends what you mean by “St. Louis”

The tragic shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, and the subsequent unrest between protestors and police, have put urban race relations at the center of national debate. Many commentators have pointed out that the incident is just one extraordinary example … Continue reading

What comes after “Man”

What a piece of work is “Man”! It is a word which was once a building-block of poetry, of philosophy, of mysticism, and of scholarship; a word which at one time expressed all the deep complexities of the condition of … Continue reading

The rut: a metaphor for the social sciences

As social science so often deals with phenomena that have no physical form, its vocabulary is in many cases a vocabulary of metaphors. This is, of course, not the exclusive habit of the social sciences; explanations of all kinds about … Continue reading