One fun thing about having a toddler is how relentlessly they point out all public services in eyesight at any given moment.

Mail trucks! Fire engines! Playgrounds! Buses! Libraries! Bridges! Ambulances!

And they're right! Public goods are amazing.
It's like walking around with a small @rortybomb, all the time.
Oh my god how could I have forgotten garbage trucks. Garbage trucks! Toddlers treat them with the sense of complete wonder they deserve.
We saw a parked fire truck recently that we insisted on hugging. Then the fire fighters let us sit in the seat and it was so overwhelming we burst into tears, like seeing the face of the divine. The mortal mind can only hold so much.

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More from @ezraklein

20 Apr
I'm an anxious person. Always have been.

It's a weird, frustrating way to live: There is so much to wonder at or truly fear, and instead I can't stop ruminating over some nonsense from 3 years ago, or worrying about something far in the future.
I know I have better things to be thinking about. I know I should spend the time in gratitude for all that I have. Or I should be worrying about the right problems.

But as the Buddhists say: my thoughts think themselves. So I'm anxious AND annoyed at myself for it.
And then came the pandemic. Reality was objectively terrifying, and many of us were trapped inside, severed from social connection and routine, with acres of time to fret.

It was a bad mix. I know a lot of people who didn't have an anxiety problem before, but do now.
Read 4 tweets
19 Apr
Part of the reason I find the "cancel culture" debate frustrating is it's never clear what the ask is, or who it's being made of.

But if you look at the employer and media incentives that lead to people getting mobbed and then fired, it gets clearer.…
A lot of the problems right now aren't a speech "culture." They're driven by economics, and the key actors are social media companies, search giants and employers who really could change the decisions they make in ways that would lead to a better speech climate.
One thing that's buried in the column but I want to pull out: I see a lot of people on this here web site who've made being anti-cancel culture their core political identity but they spend their time doing the things that lead to people getting cancelled and harassed.
Read 5 tweets
14 Apr
One thing I've been thinking about since my podcast with @tressiemcphd is the difference between status and class, and how a focus on class often confuses issues of status 🧵…?
There's been this debate in recent years about whether class should be measured by education rather than income. Or maybe by occupation rather than income.

Michael Lind wrote a whole book making this argument from the right:…
There's something to this: A tech CEO and an English professor at Berkeley experience more similar worlds, and vote more similarly, than the tech CEO and the owner of a plumbing company in Akron — even if the CEO and the small biz owner have closer incomes.
Read 14 tweets
13 Apr
“You’re repurposed as fodder for content generation in a way that’s just so dehumanizing. I don’t really believe in cancel culture, I think it’s a platform failure.”…
One way I've been thinking about this is "cancel culture" is a less useful term than "cancel behavior."

There is a certain set of behaviors which, when combined the the problems of this (and other) platforms, lead to cancellation, harassment, and too many very bad days.
The key thing is the behaviors don't feel, to the people engaging in them, like a big deal. You're just dunking on someone! Or criticizing them! Or making fun of them!

You're just doing some tweets. Joining in on the game. You don't want anyone fired or harassed or swatted.
Read 4 tweets
13 Apr
My column last week was about whether regulators in America have been too cautious, so afraid of the consequences of getting a decision wrong that they've cost lives through inaction and delay.

This is *very* relevant to the J&J issue. 🧵…
I fall on the side that thinks they are too cautious. I think that's clear.

But it's a mistake to think these are easy decisions, or to just say that the math is 6 blood clots out of 6.5 million shots, so wtf are you thinking.

That's missing their actual fears.
Mass vaccination campaigns work only if the masses take the vaccines. As Daniel Carpenter said to me, “In this way, it’s a deeply social technology, and so the credibility is everything.”

"Effective therapies depend on credible regulation."
Read 15 tweets
12 Apr
Substack/Ghost/etc are a pretty straightforward tradeoff.

Institutions bring advantages and disadvantages. For writers with large, loyal audiences, you make less money than if you directly monetize your audience, but you get more audience, resources, editing, legal help, etc.
I think the focus on top incomes has obscured a lot of this.

I could make more money going to Substack. But the New York Times offers audience reach I could never get otherwise. They're read by people who'd never think of subscribing to my newsletter. That’s worth a lot to me!
But institutions also have disadvantages.

Bureaucracy, pressure to be on the news, time it takes to publish, bad management, divergence between your voice and the institutional voice, etc.

If those really bug you, and you can make more on your own, going indie is great.
Read 10 tweets

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