At the root of this is American obsession with self-reliance, which makes it more acceptable to applaud an individual for working himself to death than to argue that an individual working himself to death is evidence of a flawed economic system.
— Jia Tolentino in the New Yorker
This is a principle that is repeated in every aspect of life: if you raise the floor of competence, you inevitably lower the ceiling of achievement. There is no reward without risk, and demanding that everything meet a certain standard is to inevitably ensure that nothing goes beyond.
Ben Thompson, in the Stratechery Daily Update dated 22 Jan, 2018
Needless to point out that I completely disagree with Ben on this. I believe the opposite to be true. When the minimum required standard is raised, the standard of achievement required to stand out nudges even higher, spurring innovation and achievement.
I find his quote to represent a very American view of things – something that underlies/propels a lot of policy (and impolitic) discourse in their society. Even the most thoughtful, most reasonable people, once integrated in the US way of thinking tend to develop a intrinsic distrust and fear of equality, and anything that may even remotely resemble it, or lead to it.
Continue reading A very American view on equality & achievement…
The farmers know something is happening to the weather, but the words “climate change” have become politically charged in a place where, like much of rural America, conservative politics dominate.
Climate change threatens Montana’s barley farmers – and possibly your beer – Food and Environment Reporting Network
In the field, looking at his withering crop, Somerfeld was unequivocal about the cause of his damaged crop – “climate change.” But back at the bar, with his friends, his language changed. He dropped those taboo words in favour of “erratic weather” and “drier, hotter summers” – a not-uncommon conversational tactic in farm country these days.
Barack Obama delivered to black people the hoary message that if they work twice as hard as white people, anything is possible.
But Trump’s counter is persuasive: Work half as hard as black people, and even more is possible.
The First White President
“War is a strange game, in which the only winning move—is not to play.”
For all the chest-thumping, India cannot win a war against Pakistan, August 4, 2017 at 02:03AM