The faith that anyone could move from rags to riches - with enough guts and gumption, hard work and nose to the grindstone - was once at the core of the American Dream.
The liberal ideal is that everyone should have fair access and fair opportunity. This is not equality of result. It's equality of opportunity. There's a fundamental difference.
We never used to blink at taking a leadership role in the world. And we understood leadership often required something other than drones and bombs. We accepted global leadership not just for humanitarian reasons, but also because it was in our own best interest. We knew we couldn't isolate ourselves from trouble. There was no place to hide.
Medical costs are soaring because our health-care system is totally screwed up. Doctors and hospitals have every incentive to spend on unnecessary tests, drugs, and procedures.
Before the rise of the nation-state, between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries, the world was mostly tribal. Tribes were united by language, religion, blood, and belief. They feared other tribes and often warred against them.
Our moral authority is as important, if not more important, than our troop strength or our high-tech weapons. We are rapidly losing that moral authority, not only in the Arab world but all over the world.
Those at the top would do better with a smaller share of a booming economy that elicits a positive politics than they will do with an ever-larger share of an anemic economy that fuels the politics of anger.
A society - any society - is defined as a set of mutual benefits and duties embodied most visibly in public institutions: public schools, public libraries, public transportation, public hospitals, public parks, public museums, public recreation, public universities, and so on.
Technology is changing so fast that knowledge about specifics can quickly become obsolete. That's why so much of what technicians learn is on the job.
Community colleges are great bargains. They avoid the fancy amenities four-year liberal arts colleges need in order to lure the children of the middle class.