A World Disrupted: The Leading Global Thinkers of 2014 | The Birth of a New Century

Excellent and worthy read is this!

The postwar international order was underpinned by American democracy in a period of functioning institutions, shared prosperity, and public optimism. The global disorder of this new century is both accompanied and enabled by a sharp deterioration within the United States itself. The U.S. economy, in recession or recovery, is more and more built on a profoundly unfair distribution of rewards; the political system, strangled by organized money and partisan extremism, has no answers to the country’s deepest problems; large numbers of Americans have lost faith in their children’s future. The United States is no longer in a condition to impose its will by asserting or demonstrating its values. Those days, always problematic, are now gone. But the liberal ideas that brought freedom, security, and hope to millions of people around the world in the last century remain essential in this one. America can promote them best if it restores its own democracy to health.

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A World Disrupted: The Leading Global Thinkers of 2014 | The Birth of a New Century

As is this article as well!!!

Dis Town

dumbing1Perhaps worst among the consequences of the dumbing down of America is the hyper-politicization of discourse. This has led to the rise of media outlets and debates that are tailored to specific audiences who seek out viewpoints that support already-held beliefs. (The notion that beliefs are more important than actual knowledge is a byproduct or perhaps a driver of all this.) So people watching or reading the news tend not to see both sides of any issue — much less issues that have more than two sides. Litmus tests and the ability to articulate already-popular views are valued more than what is really new or challenging.

Unsurprisingly, this trend’s impact on creativity and imagination in Washington — the epicenter of political polarization and the wellspring from which all litmus tests flow — has been particularly egregious. In the policy community, people who may wish to do more than tailor ideas to pre-existing, polled audiences have discovered that in doing so they run the risk of offending someone on Capitol Hill who might not vote to confirm them in top jobs were they ever to want them; that is to say, originality is not only frowned upon, but it is actually institutionally quashed. Thus, far too little bold thinking goes on in the country’s think tanks.

It is safer to write an article that doesn’t offend than it is to write one that actually breaks new ground.

It is safer to write an article that doesn’t offend than it is to write one that actually breaks new ground. The result? Journals that are exercises in reputation management. The bland leading the bland.

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via Dis Town.

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