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A professor’s resignation highlights pressures within academia to conform

PETER BOGHOSSIAN, an untenured assistant professor of philosophy at Portland State University (PSU), was one of the most vocal critics of post-modern ideology in the academy, until he resigned from his university on September 8th. In 2018 he and two authors tried to publish 20 fake papers, in order to expose what they saw as a willingness to publish...

Return to school has caused a surge in covid-19 cases in under-vaccinated counties

THE BEGINNING of the school year normally brings a sense of relief for most parents. But with covid-19 cases in America reaching levels last seen in February, and the highly infectious Delta-variant sweeping across the nation, the start of term was instead met with fear. Though the benefits of in-person schooling are clear—children learn better at their...

As shootings rose, 911 calls fell in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder

CONVENTIONAL WISDOM says that when a police shooting captures public attention, sparking outrage over police violence, officers respond by pulling back, in a phenomenon known as the “Ferguson effect” (named for a city that saw widespread protests against police misconduct in 2014). Common sense also suggests that when people mistrust the police they...

California ends single-family zoning

THE GOLDEN mean in California’s one-party politics can be caricatured, only a little unfairly, as the art of sounding progressive while acting conservative. Take housing. Homeowners may recognise that housing affordability and homelessness are acute social problems. But the obvious remedy—more construction—seems unappealing, because it might hurt property...

What would happen if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade?

A SMILING WOMAN stands in the driveway leading to Jackson Women’s Health Organisation, the only abortion clinic in Mississippi. Beside her, a large sign reads: “Bags for clinic patients here”. Though volunteers dressed in “clinic escort” vests gesticulate to drivers that they should ignore her, most stop and are handed a gift bag. Inside are images...

Biden’s booster plan has created confusion and concern

THE BIDEN administration was supposed to just “follow the science”, a welcome contrast to the previous regime. But one month after it announced covid-19 boosters would be available for everyone, Americans are still left wondering who will get boosters and when. On August 12th, amid the Delta surge, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved boosters...

Chuck Schumer’s modest leadership

AS A SELF-DESCRIBED “angry centrist”, Chuck Schumer used to relish fighting his party’s radical fringe. In a centre-left manifesto he published in 2007, entitled “Positively American”, the Senate majority leader shuddered to remember the left-wing activists he had encountered at Harvard in the 1960s who “seemed to want to tear down every part of the...

Edtech that helps teachers beats edtech that replaces them

COVID-19 FORCED ten years of digital transformation in schools to take place in a month, says John Martin, the former leader of Sanoma Learning, an education technology (edtech) company. Teachers suddenly became more willing to use technology because the alternative was not to teach. Much of this technology will remain as pupils head back to the classroom...

Beware false doctrines

ANDREI GROMYKO, the Soviet Union’s pre-eminent America-watcher, remarked that the object of his study had so “many doctrines and concepts proclaimed at different times” that it was unable to pursue “a solid, coherent and consistent policy”. And that was during the cold war, a period of relatively cool-headed American policy analysis. How much more applicable...

Expect a surge of religious objections to vaccine mandates in America

PATRONS OF natural-juice bars and yoga studios are all too familiar with the phrase “my body is a temple”. They may not know its biblical provenance: “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you,” says the New Testament. Elsewhere it warns: “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him.” People who resist the covid-19 vaccine on religious...

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