But the event also demonstrated the seductiveness of digital elitism, which incorporates social consciousness and intellectual discussion. “If we’re going to achieve greatness in the twenty-first century,” Eric Schmidt said, “…we have to start with some Silicon Valley thinking.” He stated that “Ultimately, this world will be owned by an entrepreneur.”
Digital elitism is optimistic, in that technology is positioned as a solution to an array of difficult problems. At the same time, it inculcates an air of superiority and a universality of experience that truly only applies to a very small number of the world’s most privileged individuals.
Digital elitism does not reconfigure power; it entrenches it. It provides justification for enormous gaps between rich and poor, for huge differences between average people and highly sought-after engineers. It idealizes a “better class of rich people” (as Kara Swisher put it) who evangelize philanthropy and social entrepreneurship — but it also promotes the idea that entrepreneurship is a catch-all solution, and that a startup culture is the best way to solve any problem."
If diversity is unattainable at the neighborhood level, might it be possible at the level of the city, as essentially a network of more or less similar neighborhoods? Jane Jacobs liked to say that great cities are federations of neighborhoods. It’s exactly what I see in vibrant cities like New York or Toronto. When I asked Neal about this, he sounded a more optimistic note: “Their patchwork of segregated communities allows for both diversity and cohesion. We usually view segregation as problematic, but when it comes in the form of a patchwork of neighborhoods and enclaves that each have their own character, it may actually ‘work.’”
For this reason, urbanists and local policy makers might be better off refocusing their efforts away from the unachievable ideal of diverse and cohesive neighborhoods and toward creating cohesion across the various neighborhoods that make up a city. In his watershed book Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam distinguished between two types of social capital: “bonding,” which occurs within like-minded groups, and “bridging,” which occurs between them. If, as the Neals’ study shows, we can’t make our neighborhoods more diverse and cohesive at the same time, perhaps the primary, over-arching, and achievable objective is to reinforce the bridging ties between them. Given the growing economic, cultural, and political divides within our cities and across the nation as a whole, working to strengthen the “bridges” between communities may be a far more realistic approach than attempting the impossible task of trying to make everywhere more diverse."
— The Paradox of Diverse Communities - The Atlantic Cities
— We’ve Been Measuring Rape All Wrong - Emily Bazelon
At one point in the conversation the Pentecostal team was asked about our views of the sacraments: Do Pentecostals believe in the sacraments and how many? One of my fellow team members immediately responded in the affirmative and said that we Pentecostals had seven. After recovering from a bit of shock at this answer, I interjected that this perspective did not hold true for most Pentecostals in the United States.
At the first break I inquired further about this view among Pentecostals in former Communist nations. Did they really hold such a view of the sacraments? Much to my surprise I was told that in lands historically Orthodox, Pentecostals had drunk deeply from Orthodox life and this affected their theological development. While it remains true that many Pentecostals still function with a Zwinglian view of the sacraments, there is a small, but growing effort by some Pentecostal theologians and church leaders to recover a more robust sacramentalism. These efforts remain part of a broader dialogue with Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Patristic thinkers as well as an extension of the spirituality central to Pentecostal life and witness."
— Surprised By Sacraments - Dale M. Coulter at First Things
George was right. It was a poor man’s game. Boxing has no middle class. You’re either a millionaire or you need a second job. Whatever amount a fighter signs to fight for, no contract in sports bleeds more money in all directions faster than boxing. Don King used to ask many of his fighters to sign blank contracts. And they signed their lives away. Those same fighters would happily accept King’s offer of $10,000 in cash up front against a million dollars next week. Most boxers have to keep going until the bones have been picked dry. Then, when they have nothing left, no place to go, they simply go back to where they came, with nothing.
“Martin Luther King took us to the mountain top: I want to take us to the bank. I’m not fighting the Civil War, I’m fighting the poverty war.” — Don King
It’s not an accident Donald Trump names everything after himself. It betrays a central fact about the fundamental emptiness of the legacy that Trump will leave behind. Who else would ever name anything after him? Imagine how you’d feel about a society that did. What exactly has Trump achieved or owned that stands a chance of inspiring future generations to attach his name to anything? This is because outside of Trump’s net financial worth, his ultimate value inspires nothing.
In this sense, it seems to me that the malaise that afflicts our public universities is not really about about dollars and cents. If this country can build the world’s largest military and fight open-ended wars in multiple theaters across the globe, it can find a way to pay for public education, as it once did in living memory. But doing so has ceased to be a real priority. Affordable public education is no longer something we expect, demand or take for granted; to argue that public education should be free makes you sound like an absurd and unrealistic utopian. Meanwhile, we take it for granted that roads should be free to drive on, a toll road here or there not withstanding. You provide the car and the gas; the state provides the road.
This used to be how we thought about our public universities, before they became exorbitant toll roads. If you had the grades and the ambition, there was a classroom open to you. But if every road were a toll road, no one would expect to drive for free. If every road were a toll road, the very idea that the government would build and maintain a massive system of roads and highways — and then let anyone use it (for free!) — would seem fantastical, ridiculous, even perverse. People expecting the right to drive anywhere they pleased, for free, would be branded utopian, socialist and deluded, soft-hearted liberals demanding a free lunch. That’s the world we live in when it comes to highways. When the roads that drive our economy and make modern life possible get too crowded or too congested, we expect the state to build new roads. When the old roads wear out, they are repaved. When a tree or a landslide obstructs a thoroughfare, the state clears the way. When there are not enough classrooms, on the other hand, the state no longer builds new universities; it simply charges more."