Cory Leonard

Archive for April, 2012|Monthly archive page

In ‘Bad Religion,’ Ross Douthat Criticizes U.S. Christianity – NYTimes.com

In politics on April 23, 2012 at 11:43 pm

A defense of institutional religion from a US, Christian perspective:

“Bad Religion” is not scholarly, but it is responsible and fair. Mr. Douthat’s conservative politics show through mostly in his American exceptionalism. He locates alternatives to bad religion in the American past, or maybe future. But he never looks abroad. Canada has a healthier political culture than the United States — and better schools, better health care, and lower abortion rates — while being far less churched.

But for those who accept our destiny as a religious nation Mr. Douthat offers a lively, convincing argument for what kind of religion we need. The Christian “we,” anyhow.

via In ‘Bad Religion,’ Ross Douthat Criticizes U.S. Christianity – NYTimes.com.

 

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Are Social Entrepreneurs Too Idealistic? | Dowser

In career on April 20, 2012 at 7:04 pm

The debate over whether social entrepreneurs are making a difference (really) is one that strikes close to home.  We receive numerous requests each month to support everything from small initiatives to major organizations–all with charitable, humanitarian, and other ‘save the world’ motives.  Since they are all working “internationally” they expect us to be sympathetic and supportive.

One major question that academics and policymakers are focusing on, thankfully, is the issue of accountability and effectiveness.  Certainly BYU’s PEAT and PEDL Lab are oriented in this direction.

David Brooks waded into this and I have to admit I’m sympathetic.  Just because you want to make a difference doesn’t mean that you will.  Even so, I suspect there is something more powerful at work, and as a closet socio-psychologist, Brooks takes aim.  “In short, there’s only so much good you can do unless you are willing to confront corruption, venality and disorder head-on. So if I could, presumptuously, recommend a reading list to help these activists fill in the gaps in the prevailing service ethos, I’d start with the novels of Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler, or at least the movies based on them.”  In short, Brooks thinks we need more Mormon’s like Jack Anderson and fewer NGOs–at least the kind that we tend to see proliferating now.

Others may rain on Brooks and his “hardheaded” parade:

Powell told Dowser that he sees Brooks’ arguments as symptomatic of a generational divide. “An older generation grew up in a world with many more trade-offs, in the sense that if you were ambitious, it meant you wanted to go into politics or make money,” said Powell.

Today, however, being ambitious bears a much wider scope, beyond making money. Powell thinks that it has to do with “the extraordinary amount of investment that has gone into the Millennials’ education,” he said.

“Young people today with all these communication tools are able to project their ideas faster than any generation in history. They want to lead lives of significance in a world that has so many problems and challenges that they’re aware of, because they’re highly-educated,” said Powell.

via Are Social Entrepreneurs Too Idealistic? | Dowser.

What do you think?  Is Brooks too harsh or hitting the right note, kindly.

Why Obama Will Embrace the 99 Percent – NYTimes.com

In politics on April 19, 2012 at 7:02 am

Gentlemen, start your general election engines.  (Nate Silver analysis rarely disappoints.)

Still, Santorum, who rates as a 68 on the ideology scale (the same as a less-plausible nominee, Newt Gingrich), would probably be weaker than Romney in the popular vote. According to the model, Obama would be a 77 percent favorite to win the popular vote against Santorum given 2.5 percent G.D.P. growth.

Republicans wouldn’t care about that, however, if Santorum carried Ohio and Michigan — and perhaps even his home state, Pennsylvania — places where economic concerns tend to take precedence. Under these conditions, in fact, Republicans might be able to win the Electoral College while losing the popular vote.

I am not quite ready to suggest that Santorum would be a better nominee than Romney. But the electability gap between the two is closer than it might appear because of the way Santorum’s strengths could play in the Electoral College. At the very least, he might force a reset of the White House’s strategy — from one focused on the 99 percent to one more intent on critiquing Santorum’s positions on social issues.

via Why Obama Will Embrace the 99 Percent – NYTimes.com.