Rumors are nearly as old as human history, but with the rise of the Internet, they have become ubiquitous. In fact we are now awash in them. False rumors are especially troublesome; they impose real damage on individuals and institutions, and they often resist correction. They can threaten careers, policies, public officials, and sometimes even democracy itself.
Groups become more extreme and entrenched in their beliefs and polarized from others when members only exchange information that reinforces their views and filter out all else or never learn of alternatives. Thus they narrow their options, and magnify each other's prejudices and misconceptions. This trend leads to blind spots in decision making and to extreme behavior, even terrorism.
Presumed consent preserves freedom of choice, but it is different from explicit consent because it shifts the default rule. Under this policy, all citizens would be presumed to be consenting donors, but they would have the opportunity to register their unwillingness to donate.
A well-functioning democracy has a culture of free speech, not simply legal protection of free speech. It encourages independence of mind. It imparts a willingness to challenge prevailing opinion through both words and deeds. Equally important, it encourages a certain set of attitudes in listeners, one that gives a respectful hearing to those who do not embrace the conventional wisdom. In a culture of free speech, the attitude of listeners is no less important than that of speakers.
The sky is always falling or the sky is always bright. In some ways, this is really morning in America and we don't see it. People are living longer, the economy is doing pretty well. On the other hand, there are some ways of thinking in the current situation that make it look not so good, including our Star Wars prequels - like legislature, meaning they're talking a lot, not doing a lot.
It's very common to say that Star Wars in the late '70s, that was kind of perfect for Cold War culture and the aftermath of Vietnam in the '60s to have an upbeat, hopeful, cartoonish tale of a hero's journey. I think those explanations are easy to offer and almost always wrong.
I'm also a big Bob Dylan fan. The songs on The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan - which is one of his best early albums - they grow out of some of his difficulties with Suze Rotolo, and "Hard Rain," people say it had to do with the Cuban missile crisis - probably not. He denied it. I believe him, but it certainly had to do with the time.
On reflection, some things do super well because they hit with the time. Some things do super well because they are able to activate a kind of echo chamber or bandwagon or cascade - they didn't particularly hit with the time. Some things are just too astonishingly good to not hit the top. Those three explanations, with respect to the Star Wars phenomenon, seem to me all to pass the plausibility test, and to explore them, with respect to Star Wars, I think casts light not just on the saga of our time, but also on everything about our culture.
I am proud to say that the Federalist Society was founded in part at the University of Chicago, and one of its best characteristics has been an attack on liberal shibboleths by looking at real consequences and specific problems and by asking what law actually does.
So, you could often say things are terrible and that accounts for what happened, or things are really bright, and that accounts for what happened. Often, the real explanation for what happened is much more subtle and interesting and involves maybe small shocks or what a couple people did on a Wednesday morning that changed the arc of history.
There is no reason to believe that in the face of statutory ambiguity, the meaning of federal law should be settled by the inclinations and predispositions of federal judges. The outcome should instead depend on the commitments and beliefs of the President and those who operate under him,
Those subject to capital punishment are real human beings, with their own backgrounds and narratives. By contrast, those whose lives are or might be saved by virtue of capital punishment are mere 'statistical people.' They are both nameless and faceless, and their deaths are far less likely to be considered in moral deliberations.
The fear of loss is an engine of horrors, but also a source of the greatest forms of heroism. There's not a lot of art that puts that in bold letters. It's psychologically very interesting and acute, I think. That's not the central reading, I think, of the New Testament.
Because those who hold conspiracy theories typically suffer from a crippled epistemology, in accordance with which it is rational to hold such theories, the best response consists in cognitive infiltration of extremist groups. Various policy dilemmas, such as the question whether it is better for government to rebut conspiracy theories or to ignore them, are explored in this light.
Great works - and I think Star Wars is a great work - are easily susceptible to multiple plausible interpretations. Some of them are pretty nutty, but the idea that we should see it as profoundly feminist, or as a deeply Christian tale, or as a Freudian exercise... I think all of those have some truth.
How do things, whether they are movies, or plays, Hamilton, or people, ideas - how do they become transformative or iconic? That is in some ways what the actual Star Wars saga gets at, with the tale of the rise and the fall of the empire and the rise and the fall of Republics.
And so it's no surprise that people who object to the death penalty on pure moral grounds also think it has no deterrent effect, and people who like the death penalty on grounds of retribution tend to think it has deterrent effects. They like that, and they believe that. I think with climate change we're seeing very much the same thing where those who deny climate change, they don't like that, and they don't believe it.