Though establishing a basic income was once at the forefront of politics, it has since become more of a Utopian, abstract project. But sometimes it is helpful to step back from the day-to-day wonk work and think Utopian.
Samuel Goldman on "expressive consumerism," superficial inclusiveness, and economic inequality:
In our time,the stories of greater social equality and economic inequality are far from unrelated. Rather, social inclusion has been used to legitimize economic inequality by means of familiar arguments about meritocracy. According to this view, its fine that the road from Harvard Yard to Wall Street is paved with gold, so long a few representatives of every religion, color, and sexual permutation manage to complete the journey. Superficial diversity at the top thus provides an moral alibi for the gap between the one percent and the rest.
Michel Kinsley on "LGBT PC":
All you need to know is that Ben Carson opposes same-sex marriage. Case closed. Carson was supposed to be the graduation speaker at Johns Hopkins Medical School. There was a fuss, and Carson decided to withdrawas speaker. The obviously relieved dean nevertheless criticized Carson for being hurtful. His analysis of the situation was that the fundamental principle of freedom of expression has been placed in conflict with our core values of diversity, inclusion and respect. My analysis is that, at a crucial moment, the dean failed to defend a real core value of the university: tolerance.The universitys response was wrong for a variety of reasons. First, Carson isnt just another gasbag. He is director of pediatric neurosurgery at Hopkins. Pediatric neurosurgery! He fixes childrens brains. How terrible can a person be who does that for a living? Yes, I know the flaw in this thinking: There is no necessary connection. As a character says in Mel Brookss movie The Producers: der Fhrer vas a terrific dancer. But Carson didnt murder millions of people. All he did was say on television that he opposes same-sex marriagean idea that even its biggest current supporters had never even heard of a couple of decades ago. Does that automatically make you a homophobe and cast you into the outer darkness? It shouldnt. But in some American subculturesHollywood, academia, Democratic politicsit apparently does. You may favor raising taxes on the rich, increasing support for the poor, nurturing the planet, and repealing Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act, but if you dont support gay marriage, youre out of the club.
About the Author
Matthew Boudway is an associate editor of Commonweal.