The Declaration of Independence states that our inalienable rights include “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Life and liberty are easy to understand, but that last phrase is less intuitive. How can people have a right to strive for happiness?
Uniting to Fight Poverty: A TED Talk
How do we solve problems like poverty with so much political polarization?
Welcome to the Pursuit
To pursue our happiness, to achieve our liberty, and indeed to find fulfillment in our lives, we must start with a moral consensus, a fundamental truth around which we all revolve. Think of an atom. The outer field of electrons is full of chaotic activity. Electrons are rapidly orbiting and moving in a constant buzz. What contains that chaos and gives it structure? The fact that the whole chaotic cloud orbits one central nucleus.
A recent survey of Millennials and democracy suggests they prefer authoritarianism to freedom and liberty, but a very enlightening look at the concerning phenomenon by a Russian citizen leaves hope that American democracy could actually benefit from the younger generation’s seeming rejection of it.read more
Does character matter when it comes to the 2016 presidential election? Many campaign operatives and pundits say that elections are no longer about persuasion to any meaningful extent. Instead, they argue, campaigns are purely a turnout game and campaigns should focus exclusively on turning out their base. But recent research shows this argument might not be valid.read more
Baltimore gets a bad rap for a lot that goes wrong in the city, but redemption is one of its recurring themes. So it’s no surprise that the University of Baltimore is working at Jessup Correctional Institution, a maximum security prison near Baltimore, on improving prisoner education.read more
In today’s American society, the battle between the public good vs. private rights manifests itself weekly, with reports of court cases and government regulations involving eminent domain, property rights, appropriate levels of taxation, and other disputes between individual freedom and society’s demands.
It’s no wonder. The argument over the exact balance between public and private has been going on for centuries.read more
The number of men age 25-54 not in the labor force (NILFs, get it?) has reached a shockingly high figure — about 7 million, or the same rate as at the end of the Depression in 1940, and that doesn’t even include men who are in prison, students, or stay-at-home dads.
Demographer Nick Eberstadt, author of the new book, Men Without Work, says that one in six working-age men in America are jobless, and if the trend continues, that number will go to one in five jobless men in America in a generation.read more
Harvey C. Mansfield of Harvard University and Hoover Institution fame has contributed a most useful essay to the new edited volume, Economics and Human Flourishing: Perspectives from Political Philosophy, explaining how Aristotle applied economics to happiness, and how the study of economics has been twisted by today’s economists and political “scientists” to limit people in their ability to be virtuous.read more
In the realm of unintended consequences comes this beauty: International efforts by the World Health Organization to try to develop a global smoking deterrence program has resulted in a rise in the illicit trade of a legal though infamous product: cigarettes.read more
Steven Levitt of “Freakonomics” fame recently did a great study looking at the influence of a coin toss on people’s likelihood of making certain decisions. His results suggest that people leave a chunk of potential happiness untapped simply by tethering themselves to the status quo.read more
How much of a difference do these election debates actually make? Do presidential debates matter? Is all the commotion justified? What do the hard data say? I dug into the research. As it turns out, the answer academics have come up with is a go-to favorite among ivory-tower types. Do the debates make a difference? It depends.read more
Brad Wilcox at the Institute of Family Studies does some great research, and part of its greatness is that his results force policy makers to confront wisdom that is sometimes hard to hear, but ultimately super helpful in developing action plans.
The latest is a study he did on Florida schools, called Strong Families, Successful Schools, which builds on conclusions reached in a recent MIT study of 1 million Florida school children.read more