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Social Cohesion

Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 - 12:15pm

In the Bible, God commands man to "go forth and multiply." The three Abrahamic religions take this seriously. While secular populations around the world are static and heading for decline, religious populations – especially fundamentalists – are multiplying. What does the growth of religious populations mean for the future of liberal policies?

Compassionate Consumerism? Don't Buy Into It

  • By
  • Gregory Rodriguez,
  • New America Foundation
May 2, 2011 |

Compassionate consumerism — as some critics describe today's hottest trend in philanthropy — encourages people to feel socially conscientious while guiltlessly enjoying the good life. The idea is that you "give" by buying or selling a product, a portion of whose proceeds go to the needy. I don't think so.

Parachute do-goodism is a little closer to a charitable ideal, but it still allows you to think you can succeed at saving the world merely by helping faraway strangers on a one-off spring break or during a gap year before college.

Out of Eden

  • By
  • Charles Kenny,
  • New America Foundation
April 27, 2011 |

The image of the innocent indigene, unsullied by the coarsening traffic of civilization, has a long history. When Christopher Columbus returned from the New World, he reported his interaction with peaceful natives living the life of Adam and Eve in a new Eden. His descriptions were part of a ploy to snatch success out his failure to reach the Spice Islands of the East Indies. And the image remains a powerful advertising tool to this day.

The War Between the Whites

  • By
  • Gregory Rodriguez,
  • New America Foundation
April 25, 2011 |

The fourth-grade teacher in Virginia who performed a mock slave auction in her classroom April 1 — with the white kids pretending to buy and sell the black kids — was duly chastised by school officials for her racial insensitivity. Given that she meant to be giving a lesson on the Civil War, she should also have been scolded for pedagogical inaccuracy.

Our Civility Deficit

  • By
  • Gregory Rodriguez,
  • New America Foundation
April 12, 2011 |

Last week, after the brutal beating of a Giants fan in the Dodgers Stadium parking lot, Los Angeles and San Francisco officials issued a public plea for more "civility and common decency" among sports fans. In January, the shootings in Tucson in which six people were killed and 13 wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, sparked a national conversation on civility in politics. The following month, the University of Arizona established the National Institute for Civil Discourse to advocate greater civility in all corners of the public square.

The Mind of Muammar

  • By
  • Christina Larson,
  • New America Foundation
April 6, 2011 |

Since Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi's Green Book was published in three installments -- in 1975, 1976, and 1978 -- every Libyan child has had to study it in school; but many, perhaps most, Libyans make fun of it in secret. Western analysts have tried to tease out the book's logic on governance, searching for clues to the intellectual influences on Libya's eccentric strongman, but this is perhaps an overly optimistic endeavor.

President Obama: Black and More So

  • By
  • Gregory Rodriguez,
  • New America Foundation
April 4, 2011 |

It could have been a historic teaching moment. Instead, President Obama, the most famous mixed-race person in the world, checked off only one race — black — last year on his census form. And in so doing, he missed an opportunity to articulate a more nuanced racial vision for the increasingly diverse country he heads.

Sweet Bird of Youth! The Case For Optimism

  • By
  • Charles Kenny,
  • New America Foundation
March 18, 2011 |

Youth. Antisocial, mobile-tapping, Lady Gaga-obsessed layabouts who get off the couch only to riot. What's to like? Rather a lot. In the Middle East and North Africa, youths played a major role in bringing down some long-standing dictatorships. And that may be only the start. A burgeoning young population might help speed global economic growth and be a sign of positive developments in the quality of life worldwide.

What Are the Ties That Bind Us?

  • By
  • Gregory Rodriguez,
  • New America Foundation
February 14, 2011 |

Multiculturalism breeds terrorism. That's what British Prime Minister David Cameron said Feb. 5 in a high-profile speech in Germany, thereby opening up an absurd new chapter in the never-ending debate over how much to embrace, exalt and protect cultural differences in Britain and beyond.

Getting Better

March 1, 2011

As the income gap between developed and developing nations grows, so grows the cacophony of voices claiming that the quest to find a simple recipe for economic growth has failed. Getting Better, in sharp contrast, reports the good news about global progress. Economist Charles Kenny argues against development naysayers by pointing to the evidence of widespread improvements in health, education, peace, liberty--and even happiness.

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