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Matt Miller on Whether America Exceptionalism is Still Alive
Matt Miller is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress; a contributing editor at Fortune; and the host of "Left, Right & Center," public radio's popular week-in-review program. Miller's first book, The Two Percent Solution: Fixing America's Problems In Ways Liberals And Conservatives Can Love, was published in 2003, and was a Los Angeles Times bestseller. His latest book, The Tyranny Of Dead Ideas, was published by Henry Holt/Times Books in January 2009. Miller served as Senior Advisor to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget from 1993 to 1995. He lives with his family in Los Angeles.
Question: Is the idea that Americans are exceptional still a driver of success?
Miller: I think that we will always, you know, because of our Constitution, our kind of unique commitment to freedom and equality even if it’s been imperfect over, you know, a few hundred years, but kind of marched toward that more perfect union and the individualism and the chance for individuals to make a go of it is something that’s been a magnet for immigrants and the immigrant imagination and really the world imagination I think that’s all powerful. I think where we’ve hit the wall is that in economic terms just as a matter of reality, the age of American exceptionalism is coming to an end. You know, the postwar period when we were the only economy left standing and we’ve had a great run for 50, 65 years, that was, you know, that can’t last forever. And as these other nations rise up from humanities point of view, it’s a wonderful thing. You’ve got hundreds of millions of people being lifted out of poverty in China and India. And as they rise, that will be, you know, they’ll make greater cause for freedom. You know, a lot of the ideals that we cherish will be realized abroad when those folks have a better economic toehold, but we just have to realize that we’re not calling the shots and we’re not in as much control uniquely of our economic destiny as we used to be. That’s kind of a, it’s a sort of a growing up that we have to do because the periods since World War II was in some sense an exception itself. You know, we found ourselves in this unique situation. It doesn’t mean we won’t still be an incredible world leader and a powerful force for good through the power of ideals. But I think that the fact that that year is ending where we stood astride the globe alone economically means that we just have to rethink some of the way we decide we want to have a decent society, and I think, in particular, the fact that we were on top for so long in this way has led us as a culture to overestimate the power of the individual to shape his own economic destiny in a way that I think now is going to require some rebalancing and I think that one of the things we’ll see then and the year ahead is that there are things we have to do as a community, like, basic health coverage. We have to make sure, as a community, that that’s something that every American enjoys and not just leave it to the kind of random wind of whether you happen to work for a large employer who offers that. You know, those are some of the kind of dead ideas that just won’t make sense in an era when we’re competing globally against all these other countries.
The author talks about reframing how we see ourselves vis-à-vis the globe.
Educators and administrators must build new supports for faculty and student success in a world where the classroom might become virtual in the blink of an eye.
- If you or someone you know is attending school remotely, you are more than likely learning through emergency remote instruction, which is not the same as online learning, write Rich DeMillo and Steve Harmon.
- Education institutions must properly define and understand the difference between a course that is designed from inception to be taught in an online format and a course that has been rapidly converted to be offered to remote students.
- In a future involving more online instruction than any of us ever imagined, it will be crucial to meticulously design factors like learner navigation, interactive recordings, feedback loops, exams and office hours in order to maximize learning potential within the virtual environment.
Placing science and religion at opposite ends of the belief spectrum is to ignore their unique purposes.
- Science and religion (fact versus faith) are often seen as two incongruous groups. When you consider the purpose of each and the questions that they seek to answer, the comparison becomes less black and white.
- This video features religious scholars, a primatologist, a neuroendocrinologist, a comedian, and other brilliant minds considering, among other things, the evolutionary function that religion serves, the power of symbols, and the human need to learn, explore, and know the world around us so that it becomes a less scary place.
- "I think most people are actually kind of comfortable with the idea that science is a reliable way to learn about nature, but it's not the whole story and there's a place also for religion, for faith, for theology, for philosophy," says Francis Collins, American geneticist and director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). "But that harmony perspective doesn't get as much attention. Nobody is as interested in harmony as they are in conflict."
Studying voice recordings of infected but asymptomatic people reveals potential indicators of Covid-19.
A leading British space scientist thinks there is life under the ice sheets of Europa.
- A British scientist named Professor Monica Grady recently came out in support of extraterrestrial life on Europa.
- Europa, the sixth largest moon in the solar system, may have favorable conditions for life under its miles of ice.
- The moon is one of Jupiter's 79.
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A study finds people are more influenced by what the other party says than their own. What gives?
- A new study has found evidence suggesting that conservative climate skepticism is driven by reactions to liberal support for science.
- This was determined both by comparing polling data to records of cues given by leaders, and through a survey.
- The findings could lead to new methods of influencing public opinion.