Monthly Archives: December 2016

winter break

As friends know, I’ve been blogging almost daily here since Jan. 8, 2003 (with 3,313 posts so far). I usually try to rotate among political analysis, social theory, and some cultural commentary. While I expected Clinton to win the 2016 election, … Continue reading

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the verdict on the Massachusetts Citizens Initiative Review

Last summer, working with Healthy Democracy and the office of State Rep. Jonathan Hecht, we at the Tisch College of Civic Life organized the first Citizens Initiative Review in Massachusetts. A representative group of citizens deliberated intensively about a pending ballot initiative … Continue reading

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save the date for Frontiers of Democracy: June 22-24, 2017 in Boston

Frontiers of Democracy is an annual conference hosted by the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University with partners. In 2017, the frontiers of democracy are threatened around the world. Leaders and movements that have popular support–yet … Continue reading

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the bright side of one-party government: accountability

Here’s an excerpt of Sarah Kliff’s interview with Debbie Mills, a Trump voter: Are you surprised how much Republicans are talking about repeal [of Obamacare]? No. Did you expect — do you think they’ll do it, or do you think … Continue reading

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prospects for civic media after 2016

Civic Media: Technology, Design, Practice is a new book edited by Eric Gordon and Paul Mihailidis. I contributed the introductory chapter, “Democracy in the Digital Age.” On Nov. 16, I joined Eric, Paul, Ethan Zuckerman (MIT), Colin Rhinesmith (Simmons), Beth Coleman (University of Waterloo), … Continue reading

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separating populism from anti-intellectualism

I’m a populist, yet I advocate the life of the mind. I’d like to see less elitism (of certain kinds) along with more intense and widespread intellectual inquiry. Unfortunately, the most prominent varieties of populism today are anti-intellectual. This is … Continue reading

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Levinson and Fay, Dilemmas of Educational Ethics

Meira Levinson’s and Jacob Fay’s edited volume Dilemmas of Educational Ethics: Cases and Commentaries is enormously valuable. It not only addresses problems that confront educators every day but also suggests how moral reasoning can be revitalized in academia. The book is organized … Continue reading

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don’t confuse bias and judgment

“Even good and, at bottom, worthy people have, in our time, the most extraordinary fear about making judgments. The confusion about judgment can go hand in hand with fine and strong intelligence, just as good judgment can be found in … Continue reading

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perspectives on identity politics

One of the many debates that has intensified after the 2016 election concerns “identity politics.” Some liberals blame it for the Democrats’ loss. Mark Lilla writes, “If you are going to mention groups in America, you had better mention all of them. … Continue reading

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should civic educators modify their neutral stance?

(Washington, DC) I’m here for the National Council for the Social Studies annual convention. Right after the election, the NCSS sent a “post-election message” that talked generally about the importance of teaching about government and civic engagement: As social studies educators, we teach and … Continue reading

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