These are dangerous times for democracy. We live in an age of winners and losers, where the odds are stacked in favour of the already fortunate. Stalled social mobility and entrenched inequality give the lie to the promise that "you can make it if you try". And the consequence is a brew of anger and frustration that has fuelled populist protest, with the triumph of Brexit and election of Donald Trump. Michael J. Sandel argues that to overcome the polarized politics of our time, we must rethink the attitudes toward success and failure that have accompanied globalisation and rising inequality. Sandel highlights the hubris a meritocracy generates among the winners and the harsh judgement it imposes on those left behind. He offers an alternative way of thinking about success - more attentive to the role of luck in human affairs, more conducive to an ethic of humility, and more hospitable to a politics of the common good.
"Standing on the foundations of America's promise of equal opportunity, our universities purport to "serve as engines of social mobility" and "practitioners of democracy." But as acclaimed scholar and pioneering civil rights advocate Lani Guinier argues, the merit systems that dictate the admissions practices of these institutions are functioning to select and privilege elite individuals rather than create learning communities geared to advance democratic societies. Having studied and taught at schools such as Harvard University, Yale Law School, and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Guinier has spent years examining the experiences of ethnic minorities at the nation's top institutions of higher education, and here she lays bare the practices that impede the stated missions of these schools. Guinier argues for reformation, not only of the very premises of admissions practices but of the shape of higher education itself, and she offers many examples of new collaborative initiatives that prepare students for engaged citizenship in our increasingly multicultural society."--Publisher information.
Release on 2003-08-01 | by Banesh Hoffmann,Jacques Barzun
Author: Banesh Hoffmann,Jacques Barzun
Pubpsher: Courier Corporation
Category: Social Science
Hoffmann's complete and well-documented account of the failings and dangers of mechanical testing illustrates the inherent flaws in aptitude and achievement tests. It demonstrates the inadequacies of multiple-choice testing, in which candidates simply choose answers and need not justify their replies, revealing the tests' inclination to reward superficiality rather than subtlety and creativity. Aimed at teachers and others involved in education, this polemic exposes the corporate testing giants whose dubious claims to scientific accuracy shield them from public scrutiny.
The Tyranny of Heaven argues for a new way of reading the figure of Milton's God, contending that Milton rejects kings on earth and in heaven. Though Milton portrays God as a king in Paradise Lost, he does this neither to endorse kingship nor to recommend a monarchical model of deity. Instead, he recommends the Son, who in Paradise Regained rejects external rule as the model of politics and theology for Milton's fit audience though few. The portrait of God in Paradise Lost serves as a scathing critique of the English people and its slow but steady backsliding into the political habits of a nation long used to living under the yoke of kingship, a nation that maintained throughout its brief period of liberty the image of God as a heavenly king, and finally welcomed with open arms the return of a human king. Michael Bryson is a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Northwestern University.
Even in the midst of runaway economic inequality and dangerous social division, it remains an axiom of modern life that meritocracy reigns supreme and promises to open opportunity to all. The idea that reward should follow ability and effort is so entrenched in our psyche that, even as society divides itself at almost every turn, all sides can be heard repeating meritocratic notions. Meritocracy cuts to the heart of who we think we are. But what if, both up and down the social ladder, meritocracy is a sham? Today, meritocracy has become exactly what it was conceived to resist: a mechanism for the concentration and dynastic transmission of wealth and privilege across generations. Upward mobility has become a fantasy, and the embattled middle classes are now more likely to sink into the working poor than to rise into the professional elite. At the same time, meritocracy now ensnares even those who manage to claw their way to the top, requiring rich adults to work with crushing intensity, exploiting their expensive educations in order to extract a return. All this is not the result of deviations or retreats from meritocracy but rather stems directly from meritocracy's successes. This is the radical argument that The Meritocracy Trap prosecutes with rare force, comprehensive research, and devastating persuasion. Daniel Markovits, a law professor trained in philosophy and economics, is better placed than most to puncture one of the dominant ideas of our age. Having spent his life at elite universities, he knows from the inside the corrosive system we are trapped within, as well as how we can take the first steps towards a world that might afford us both prosperity and dignity.
This book is directed towards all law-abiding people of the western world, particularly teachers and students. It shares the horrific experiences of its author who has been forced to deal with U.S. government investigative and intelligence entities as they perpetrated an amalgamation of ruses in an attempt to harm him, personally, for initiation of EEO complaints and for the filing of a civil suit exposing the perpetrators as is his constitutional right. The civil suit went all the way to the Supreme Court by "Writ of Certiorari, see EEOC: The Real Deal Case No. 00-1437. CA-99-1400-A. And ruses initiated by government perpetrator are appropriately qualified in this book as being the end result of "dolt logic" and "mental masturbators" pursuing old south habits from the yesteryears. The activity in this regard is defined in its salacious detail in this book so as to better expose the "bottom line" of how ruses are initiated and who is engaged to assist the perpetrators in their propagation. The book also shares a chilling event involving "Hit Men" in addition to ruses that caused innocent unwitting third parties to view the author in the most negative light that a ruse concoction can muster in the government's attempt to get this black guy. The story also covers actions that law-abiding innocents can undertake to expose those propagating ruses and how to arrange their activities so as to best mitigate government attempts to entrap you in a ruse of no merit in: Air Ports; Class Rooms; Restaurants; Parking lots; Elevators; Officer Clubs etc. The proper response to government ruse perpetrators operating under a false color of authority is: "KMA" [Kiss the part of my anatomy where no sun can shine, the polite response] In that the author is an unwitting victim of the perfidy of government in this regard, he takes on the biblical persona of "David" to represent the people's interest in a people's battle against the "Goliath" of Government who ignore the protections promised by the fourth and fourteenth amendments in order to achieve their hidden agendas of no lawful merit thus no constitutional authority. All "law-abiding" citizens have an interest in this battle if they want to ensure the protections of their constitutional and civil rights are not abridged by unwarranted acts of government against unwitting innocent citizens.
Culture and Politics in Contemporary English Society
Author: Richard Hoggart
Pubpsher: Transaction Pub
The Tyranny of Relativism is an impassioned attempt by one of England's most distinguished critics to capture the feel of British culture at the end of the twentieth century: its moods, attitudes, and institutions. Richard Hoggart presents a double argument, suggesting first that cultural dilemmas stem from a long slide towards moral relativism, as consumerism rather than authority increasingly determines the texture of life; and secondly, that despite its claims to the contrary, British Conservative governments have exploited these changes to their own ends. Blunt and forthright, humorous and humane, Hoggart supports his themes by analyzing particular forms of change--in education at all levels, in the arts, mass and popular entertainment, in broadcasting, in the use of language, and in the uncertain base of "cultural studies" themselves. But he also shows how some social forces have worked against this monumental process: old-style checks and balances, the resistance of class sentiments, the uneasy sense of lost values. But in this series of cultural struggles, the intellectuals are noteworthy by their absence. The great merit of The Tyranny of Relativism is its resistance to platitudes, and its fearless probing of thorny questions that go to the heart of Western cultural traditions for a new age. When Hoggart concludes by asking "where do we go now" no one should expect complacency. In The Tyranny of Relativism, Hoggart makes the reader appreciate the silent complicity of the intellectual class for the cultural rot of relativism characteristic of western culture today. The book is must reading for those engaged in cultural studies, European politics, literary criticism, and the sociology of knowledge.
The closely contested presidential election of 2000, which many analysts felt was decided by voters for the Green Party, cast a spotlight on a structural contradiction of American politics. Critics charged that Green Party voters inadvertently contributed to the election of a conservative Republican president because they chose to "vote their conscience" rather than "choose between two evils." But why this choice of two? Is the two-party system of Democrats and Republicans an immutable and indispensable aspect of our democracy? Lisa Disch maintains that it is not. There is no constitutional warrant for two parties, and winner-take-all elections need not set third parties up to fail. She argues that the two-party system as we know it dates only to the twentieth century and that it thwarts democracy by wasting the votes and silencing the voices of dissenters. The Tyranny of the Two-Party System reexamines a once popular nineteenth-century strategy called fusion, in which a dominant-party candidate ran on the ballots of both the established party and a third party. In the nineteenth century fusion made possible something that many citizens wish were possible today: to register a protest vote that counts and that will not throw the election to the establishment candidate they least prefer. The book concludes by analyzing the 2000 presidential election as an object lesson in the tyranny of the two-party system and with suggestions for voting experiments to stimulate participation and make American democracy responsive to a broader range of citizens.