We live in a partisan age, and our news habits can reinforce our own perspectives. Consider this an effort to broaden our collective outlook with essays beyond the range of our typical selections.
FROM THE LEFT
The context, from the author: Republicans’ cruel immigration tactics present an opportunity for blue cities.
The excerpt: Democrats of all ideological stripes should use this moment to celebrate the very places that could become permanent homes for migrants fleeing violence and economic calamity. Since the pandemic-induced crime spike, Trump Republicans have inveighed against big cities, taking up an incendiary and racially coded 20th-century playbook to throw Democrats on the defensive. ... Political leaders who care about immigrants should declare, affirmatively and loudly, Yes, send them here. Send them to New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Send them to Cleveland, Detroit and St. Louis. And send them to the cosmopolitan cities trapped in red states that will welcome migrants. San Antonio, Houston and Miami are enriched by refugees and their children, people who have fled oppression for a better life in America.
From “The Goal Shouldn’t Be Ending Poverty. The Goal Should Be Human Flourishing,” by Elliot Haspel in Jacobin.
The context, from the author: The poverty line is arbitrary, and many who clear the threshold are still suffering in ways no decent society should allow. The true goal of public policy shouldn’t be nudging people over the poverty line but enabling people to lead good lives.
The excerpt: Flourishing is not an abstraction, and it goes beyond mere pleasure or prosperity. Harvard professor Tyler VanderWeele, who leads the Human Flourishing Program, suggests flourishing encompasses the measurable domains of happiness and life satisfaction; mental and physical health; meaning and purpose; character and virtue; and close social relationships. A sixth domain, that of financial and material stability, crosses the other five as a prerequisite for flourishing. Eliminating poverty is thus essential but not an end in and of itself: eliminating poverty is a necessary but insufficient enabling factor for people to live whatever they define as the good life.
From “DeSantis’ Heartless Migrant Stunt Provides a Preview of 2024,” by John Cassidy in The New Yorker.
The context, from the author: (Gov. Ron DeSantis’) central insight ... is that the best way to unify a party of the right these days is to mercilessly attack educated progressives wherever they can be found — in politics, the media, education, business or wherever.
The excerpt: Like the demagogue he is likely to face in the 2024 GOP primary, the Florida governor has learned that, in today’s Disunited States of America, and particularly in today’s GOP, eye-catching gestures can trump substance, stoking resentments can trump logic, and trampling on social norms — such as the one that says you shouldn’t exploit vulnerable people for your own political ambitions — often gets rewarded. In the run-up to 2024, we can expect more of the same.
FROM THE RIGHT
The context, from the author: Many Republicans in Congress are embracing a “federalist” approach to abortion that would condemn millions of unborn children to death.
Spend your days with Hayes
Subscribe to our free Stephinitely newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
The excerpt: Election Day is less than 50 days away, and many Republicans in Washington have decided to signal that they have no interest in doing anything for babies at the federal level. What kind of message is that? It sounds pretty pro-choice: not quite pro-abortion, but not really pro-life, either.
The context, from the author: The president says the pandemic is over, yet his administration is keeping the state of emergency in effect and apparently the plan is to hope that no one notices.
The excerpt: The problem is that several Biden-administration policies rest upon the argument that the pandemic is not over. Much like Schrödinger’s cat being both simultaneously alive and dead, the pandemic is both over and not over, depending upon what Biden and his administration need at any given moment.
The context, from the author: Transitioning from modernity to windmills and candles isn’t progress, it’s regression. And California is leading the way.
The excerpt: You can scaremonger about climate change all day long and ratchet it up to insane levels, but no one escapes the laws of physics or economics. California has been forced to extend the life of its last nuclear power plant at Diablo Canyon and gas-fired power plants to save the state from being plunged into darkness rather than the occasional blackout. As it turns out, most people are only theoretically fans of deindustrialization.