365 – Generation Y sets its rules

April 11, 2016
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As Generation Y enters the world of higher education, it lays down for itself rules of good behavior. Below are the “safe space policy” rules of the Edinburgh University Student Association, as updated in 2014.[1] They stipulate good behavior at student meetings. From a cursory review of the press, the rules do not seem to […]

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364 – What is segregation?

April 8, 2016
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“Identity politics is back,” opines a comment to 362. I admit to having difficulties with the concept of “identity.” To put my queasiness into perspective, let me take a roundabout way and reflect on “segregation” instead. The article: This simple experiment shows how easy it is for society to become segregated[1] which I shall discuss presently, […]

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363 – The baneful role of gerrymandering in US history

April 4, 2016
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In the process of setting electoral districts, gerrymandering is a practice that attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating district boundaries to create partisan-advantaged districts.[1] Of course, manipulating district boundaries is a wide-spread partisan political practice. It is my contention, however, that this phenomenon has been at the […]

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362 – The Trump swerve

April 1, 2016
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 Where minds differ and opinions swerve there is scant a friend in that company. Elizabeth I Donald Trump, a New York based businessman, formally announced his candidacy for the presidency in the 2016 election on June 16, 2015. Trump said, “We are going to make our country great again;” he pledges to restore the “American […]

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361 – On the limits of international law

March 25, 2016
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Analogies allow us to illuminate issues from a different point of view and break out of our self-regarding Einstellung – the belief that, having “done the right thing,” we can move on secure in the success and contented. Analogies, then, are reflective or analytical, not prescriptive tools. * In 1977, William J. LeMessurier,[1] a structural […]

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357 – What is “best practice?”

March 25, 2016
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I have kvetched often enough against “best practice.” The term is an oxymoron. Praxis may be adapted or un-adapted – we only know by the consequences. It is never a priori “best.” It is a useful heuristic for the perplexed though we tend to transform it into patent medicine. I have come across this short […]

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360 – Should states have virtue?

March 20, 2016
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This question might be slightly puzzling to the contemporary diplomat, who firmly believes that states should be moral entities founded on transcendental human rights. I came across this question while reading Albert O. HIRSCHMAN: The passions and the interests (I recommend to those involved in political science and international relations to read it. It is […]

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