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Will Wilkinson

Contributor, Big Think

Why We Try

An Internet connection has only now materialized in my new Houston pad, so perhaps you’ll forgive me if I kvetch about last week’s David Brooks column. In the wake of the […]

Why Aren’t There More Auroras?

The killings in Aurora, Colorado are literally sickening. I’ve been a little sick about it all day. And I find myself with the urge to say that this sort of […]

Rights, Traffic, and Freedom at Work

Intervening on the great  Crooked Timber vs. Bleeding Hearts Libertarians debate on freedom in the workplace, Matthew Yglesias says: My standard approach to this is that in almost all political contexts, including this one, both […]

Liberal Metapaternalism and Higher Education

Matt Yglesias replies to an argument from Mike Konczal: Mike Konczal has a fairly compelling argument that it would make sense to dismantle the entire crazy quilt of “submerged state” […]

How Hawkish is John Allison?

So Cato Institute president Ed Crane is taking an “early retirement” and megabucks former BB&T CEO John Allison is set to take his place. It’s easy to see why Allison […]

SCOTUS Obamacare Prediction

On the basis of having for a time shared a house with a John Roberts clerk who conveyed to me no useful information about the Chief Justice’s cast of mind, […]

The Meanings of American Decline

A new Pew poll, and the global perception captured in the chart below, leads Ali Wyne, a fellow Big Thinker, to inquire in an interesting post about the meaning of the idea, […]

Writing the Rich: What Is it Like to Be a Banker?

Christian Lorentzen makes an excellent point excellently: Tougher for the novelist are the tasks of rendering convincing characters across the class spectrum and capturing economic intricacies in a way that’s […]

Labor Unions and Liberty

The aftermath of Wisconsin’s recall election seems like a perfect time to reflect on the role and desirability of labor unions. I’ve arguedelsewhere that public- and private-sector unions are quite […]

Try It!: An Experiment about Happiness

Here’s a little philosophy/psychology experiment you can try for yourself. It just takes a few minutes, and the rest of this post will make much more sense if you do […]

Human Rights Without God: A Dialogue

Noah Millman intervenes sensibly in the great Douthat–Sanchez debate about morality and religion: Okay, so humanists don’t have strong reasons for their faith in human rights. Do Christians have strong […]

Free Will Isn’t an Illusion, Either

Richard Marshall of 3:AM interviews the philosopher Eddie Nahmias about his work on free will. Everyone who would prefer not to be trapped in a thicket of confusion about free […]

The Self Is Not an Illusion

What could it mean to say that the self is an illusion? Here’s Bruce Hood, author of the new book The Self Illusion, in an interview at Sam Harris’ joint: […]

Markets Don’t Crowd Out Morals

The Boston Review is hosting a forum centered the claim of Michael Sandel,  a Harvard political theorist, that “markets crowd out morals.” Sandel’s essay is well worth reading. He clearly gives voice to […]

Facebook and False Consciousness

The idea that social classes are intentional constructions built and reinforced for strategic purposes is appealing because no other idea of social class makes much sense to me. 

Fiction Isn’t Good for You

Jonathan Gottschall says stories are good for us. I’ll soon apply myself full-time to story-writing, so you might suppose I’d find this an encouraging thought, but I don’t. It’s an annoying thought. […]

Why Re-unionization Won’t Happen

Matt Yglesias and Timothy Noah are having an interesting dialogue about Noah’s new book about income inequality, The Great Divergence. (As are Brink Lindsey and Mark Schmitt at Washington Monthly.) Noah […]

Invest in Memorable Social Experience

Garrett Jones, guest-blogging for Megan McArdle, classifies memorable experience as a “consumer durable,” since the satisfaction lasts and lasts. Jones writes: People often shrink from driving to a distant, promising […]

The Loneliness Myth

Is Facebook making us lonely? No! Sometimes there are actually clear answers to rhetorical headline questions. Claude Fischer, a professor of sociology at Berkeley, gets empirical in the Boston Review. […]

Two Happiness Tips Discussed

Both links/excerpts come from Eric Barker at the reliably stimulating Barking up the Wrong Tree. First, strong relationships. Via The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel […]

The Metaphysics of Taxation

A couple weeks back, I wrote a post for the Economisttrying to get my head around the circumstances in which tax deductions and credits, and tax cuts generally, do and […]