Art Markman suggests:

A smoker doesn’t try to quit smoking while leaving a large carton of cigarettes in their pantry. Similarly, someone trying to set healthier work-life boundaries doesn’t leave their phone and computer on all the time.


Rachel Marshall, a public defender in Oakland, CA, writes:

[I]n this country, we have an epidemic of wrongful convictions, yet never have I heard of a public outcry to recall or vote against a judge who presided over a case in which an innocent client was convicted or sentenced.

And it still won’t happen after the recall of the judge who sentenced Brock Turner. That recall, by discouraging leniency, will hurt the poor people the most.

Adam Gopnik reviews sociologist Patrick Sharkey’s book Uneasy Peace: The Great Crime Decline, the Renewal of City Life, and the Next War on Violence. Sharkey says that community organizing (e.g., block clubs) and technology (e.g., surveillance cameras) led to the decline in violent crime but so did incarceration and aggressive policing. Gopnik:

Liberal-minded people do not merely want mass incarceration to be the moral scandal it obviously is. We want it to be a practical scandal as well—it won’t and can’t do any good. But, Sharkey reports, the facts suggest that, for some period and to some measurable degree, it did contribute to the crime decline. It’s just the most expensive, inefficient, and cruel of all ways to combat the crime wave. And the moral horror thereby incurred is intolerable to a liberal democracy that does not want to have millions of men under permanent penal restraint. The social cost of that mass incarceration is as high, in its way, as the crime wave it was meant to hamper.

Adam Gopnick describes (“The Great Crime Decline: Drawing the right lessons from the fall in urban violence”) an experiment by  neuroscientist David Diamond:

Diamond placed a cat outside a cage of rats, and found that rats raised in this condition did worse on rat-friendly cognitive tests—running complicated mazes and the like—than did rats kept away from the sight of cats. You might imagine that rats raised in the presence of a predator learn to be shrewder. But this seems not to be true of rats raised in the presence of a predator whom they can do nothing to avoid or outwit—rats that feel helpless in the face of, so to speak, a cat wave. Brains under stress get frozen.

Whiteness and wrongness

Both white supremacists and Ta-Nehisi Coates believe in the special-ness of white people, says Thomas Chatterton Williams, who calls it “a disturbing trend in left-of-center public thinking”:

[I]dentity epistemology, or knowing-through-being, somewhere along the line became identity ethics, or morality-through-being. Accordingly, whiteness and wrongness have become interchangeable — the high ground is now accessible only by way of “allyship,” which is to say silence and total repentance. The upside to this new white burden, of course, is that whichever way they may choose, those deemed white remain this nation’s primary actors.

Aziz Ansari explains why he deleted the internet, Twitter, and Instagram from his phone:

Whenever you check for a new post on Instagram or whenever you go on The New York Times to see if there’s a new thing, it’s not even about the content. It’s just about seeing a new thing. You get addicted to that feeling. You’re not going to be able to control yourself. So the only way to fight that is to take yourself out of the equation and remove all these things. What happens is, eventually you forget about it. You don’t care anymore. . . . I’m not out of the loop on anything. Like, if something real is going down, I’ll find out about it.

Is that a good thing?

Garrison Keillor visited Alaska recently:

Nobody I talked to in Alaska began a sentence with “I was reading an article the other day that said that . . . ” — everything they said was from their own experience.