'Good Words' for March 2019
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A Moynihan of the Right? – Commonweal
Ben Sasse is a U.S. Senator from Nebraska and regularly bemoans the sins (and sloth) of the Congress and Senate. This piece from Commonweal positions him as someone worth listening to, even if you can't get behind his politics.
Why? Because he's "leading with ideas, rather than tribal signaling, and [...] doing the work required to situate his own ideas in a coherent worldview that transcends current hot-button political debates."
Captain Marvel and the Importance of Telling Female Hero Stories – Christ & Pop Culture
K.B. Hoyle exploring the truth and goodness of stories is, as usual, excellent.
The power in the story is in the inspiration to be heroic, whatever heroism looks like for each individual situation.
Girls get this sort of inspiration from books and other sorts of stories, but there is a special power in seeing oneself on the screen. They must believe they can grow up to be heroes in this world. They must know they can be agents of change—that their voices are as loud and as true, their strength and dedication just as valued and valuable, as their male counterparts.
The Least Politically Prejudiced Place in America – The Atlantic
This is a long but fascinating read about Watertown, N.Y., which explores the complex, and sometimes very simple, efforts required to live with those you just can't agree with.
“I have opinions,” she says, “but somebody else might also. I could learn from that person, and that person could learn from me.” She smiles as she says this and then waits for the next question. Her statement sounds so reasonable that I start to feel self-conscious for having asked her to explain herself. Why couldn’t an anti-abortion activist be lifelong friends with an abortion-rights supporter? Who was the weirdo here, anyway?
I can't say I'm a great fan of Elizabeth Warren but if I were an American voter, breaking and regulating Big Tech would be among my top issues for 2020.
Essentially, her plan would be to prevent huge companies from running a platform and benefitting from that platform in non-competitive ways. "This part of Warren's plan would require Amazon Basics—a line of products made by Amazon—to be separated from the Amazon Marketplace. Google's ad exchange and Google Search would also have to be split apart."
Warren also advocates for splitting up non-competitive mergers, like Mark Zuckerberg's terrifying social trifecta of Facebook-Instagram-WhatsApp. The goal here is to encourage more meaningful competition, which should result in these companies having to work harder to win users' affections.