Keeping up with the FITs, No. 6
Yuval Levin and Martin Gurri discuss elites. This podcast is a must-listen.
Yuval points out that what is unusual currently is that elites in various realms have similar backgrounds. It used to be that the business elite was not culturally similar to the journalistic elite or the political elite. Having elites that have much in common culturally with one another and yet differ sharply culturally from people who are not in elites is a problem.
Around minute 13, Martin says that elites feel threatened, and they are sort of “locking arms,” which makes them tightly conformist with one another.
At minute 27, Yuval talks about the challenge of balancing order and freedom.
At minute 53, the moderator asks if higher education needs to be burned down as an institution. Interesting answers follow.
Zvi Mowshowitz gives his take on Long COVID and other virus-related issues. He thinks that Scott Alexander works with a definition of Long COVID that is too broad. He also comments on one of Scott’s charts that showed a study’s findings of mental health issues of COVID sufferers compared to a control group. Zvi writes,
The control group numbers here are terrifying. This is a crisis. I mean, WTF? Again, it raises the question of what are the effects of Long Covid Prevention on mental health and general well-being, and suggests that they might be far more serious than Long Covid.
On Yascha Mounk’s Persuasion Community, Ian Buruma writes,
Dr. Edward Livingston had to resign as deputy editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association because of a podcast in which he claimed that socioeconomic factors and not racism were holding back non-white minorities in the US. The focus on racism was unfortunate in his view and he resented the implication that he was a racist.
Thousands of people signed a petition calling for an investigation. Livingston lost his job. The editor of JAMA, Dr. Howard Bauchner, apologized for the podcast, which he described as “inaccurate, offensive, hurtful, and inconsistent with the standards” of the journal. He, too, resigned. The podcast was of course deleted.
Buruma goes on to describe what I call the religion that is focused on persecuting heretics.
In another Persuasion segment, Mounk talks with Samuel Goldman about patriotism. Goldman says,
whereas conventional appeals to patriotism or nationalism have this top-down quality that I think makes them thin and unsatisfactory, I'm much more interested in finding ways that we can pursue and realize disagreement as a serious and legitimate feature of American life, rather than dismissing it in pursuit of some evanescent similarity.
Mounk offers pushback, as well he might. And Goldman offers this provocative comment:
My approach suggests that we really need to focus on the political institutions rather than the culture, and that if we get the institutions right, then the culture will, to some degree, follow.
The point about similarity across different elites seems related to Lilliana Mason's discussion in _Uncivil Agreement_ on the decline of cross-cutting identities.
Racism is not a socio-economic factor? As summarized it does seem to be a very shallow understanding of racism.