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Showing posts from April, 2020

Expertise and Democracy

This post is going to discuss the very modern topic of expertise and democracy, but let’s start with an ancient story. Those familiar with the Bible, or for that matter the musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber, know the story of Joseph and how he became the Pharaoh’s right-hand man. Pharaoh dreamed of seven fat cows devoured by seven scrawny cows, and seven healthy stalks of grain consumed by seven shriveled stalks. Joseph interpreted the dream as a prediction that there would be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. Pharaoh put Joseph in charge, he amassed a huge rainy-day fund of grain during the seven plentiful years, and during the seven years of famine, Egypt was good while the surrounding lands suffered.

The Problem of (with) Democracy
One way to look at the story is that it’s about joining political power with wisdom. That’s not a marriage to be taken for granted. Political power through the ages has been acquired in various ways that require little or no intellige…

Welcome to July, 2020

It's amazing how our society has been transformed in only a few months.

When the scourge of coronavirus hit toward the beginning of this year, many thought it would remain localized to China and other countries close to its origin. But by late February it became clear that we had a likely worldwide pandemic on our hands.

Luckily our leaders coordinated their efforts everywhere to limit the effects of a pandemic that could have killed millions as did the 1918 Flu Epidemic. Countries in Asia, Europe and the Western Hemisphere worked together early to prepare for what they knew would be the onslaught of a common enemy. They mobilized resources to plan for extensive testing, put extra hospital beds in place, and moved everyone into social isolation as soon as testing showed that the virus had reached their shores.

Thanks to the foresight of our leaders, who put personal politics aside to follow the recommendations of scientists working in coordination with the World Health Organizati…