Skip to main content

Ideas in Progress Newsletter

An Institute for Humane Studies Newsletter

Picking Up the Broken Pieces

In a popular piece for The Atlantic, Jonathan Haidt muses that the proliferation of social media has debased discourse and weakened core elements of our democratic institutions. Haidt, a social psychologist at New York University, cites Martin Gurri, Jonathan Rauch, and the late economist Steven Horwitz in claiming that “American politics is getting ever more ridiculous and dysfunctional not because Americans are getting less intelligent. The problem is structural. Thanks to enhanced-virality social media, dissent is published within many of our institutions, which means that bad ideas get elevated into official policy.” Social media, he argues, is fueling the triumph of bad ideas over the good ones. He offers some approaches to address these problems: “We must harden democratic institutions so that they can withstand chronic anger and mistrust, reform social media so that it becomes less socially corrosive, and better prepare the next generation for democratic citizenship in this new age.”

Read Jonathan Haidt’s article in The Atlantic

Free Speech Hypocrisy

As the Republican outcry intensifies against the perceived inappropriateness of classroom instruction in public schools, various efforts have been taken to ensure that teachers are restricted from practicing certain kinds of speech. According to David French, a columnist for the Atlantic and past IHS speaker, the Republican Party has evolved. He explains, “From a party focused on individual liberty and limits on government power to a party that more fully embraces government control of the economy and morality, it is reversing many of its previous stances on free speech in public universities, in public education, and in private corporations. Driven by a combination of partisan animosity and public fear, it is embracing the tactics that it once opposed.” The outgrowth of “education gag orders,” along with other restrictions imposed by states like Florida on various institutions, violates a core tenet of liberalism, one that conservatives were fond of championing in years past. “Censorship is inconsistent with American pluralism. Speech codes and book bans undermine one of the core purposes of American education.” He goes on to write that “we send our kids to school not just to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic, but to learn how to be citizens in a liberal democracy, and a core value of that democracy is a commitment to free speech — for me and for thee.”

Read David French’s article in The Atlantic

Making Space for Dissent

The debate over race-based questions in public school rages on, but to no avail. In his recent op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, David Bernstein, founder of the Jewish Institute for Liberal Values, addresses the need to expand the ideological menu available to students so they can make up their own minds. “I want my high-school-age children to learn about the history of this country, including the ‘1619’ version,” Bernstein says. “I want them to understand America’s legacy of race and racism, chattel slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow and red lining … But students like my son should also be exposed to more than one opinion on why there are still racial disparities in America. There’s no shortage of rigorous scholarship on the matter.” What would this mean? Bernstein proposes that “students could read Ibram X. Kendi’s bestseller ‘How to Be an Antiracist’ alongside one of the many articles or books by writers like Messrs. [Glenn] Loury, [John] McWhorter, and [Orlando] Patterson.” A true education, he claims, “means exposing them to ideas that some on the right want banned and other ideas that some on the left actively demonize.”

Read David Bernstein’s op-ed in The Wall Street Journal


Rethinking Nuclear Armageddon

“Once the category of ‘unthinkable’ weapons is created, it is expanded so much that it loses its credibility,” Tyler Cowen writes in his Bloomberg column. “Politicians tend to spend down the reputational capital that their predecessors built up.” In this piece, Cowen argues that what is needed is a new nuclear deterrence doctrine that considers current events and the frosty relationships between powers. He paints a grim forecast: “The ongoing evolution of both nuclear and conventional weapons further blurs the distinction between the two and undercuts the notion that nuclear weapons are somehow special … As the Cold War recedes from memory, that trend is likely to continue.” Awakening from our post-Cold War complacency is the only path forward, Cowen asserts. “Any doctrine of nuclear deterrence is set in a particular political and social context and is relative to a particular set of expectations. As it turns out, each generation needs to reinvent successful nuclear deterrence for itself.”

Read Tyler Cowen’s op-ed in Bloomberg

Popular with Our Audience

Facebook Twitter YouTube LinkedIn

Here is the timeline for our application process:

  1. Apply for a position 
  2. An HR team member will review your application submission  
  3. If selected for consideration, you will speak with a recruiter 
  4. If your experience and skills match the role, you will interview with the hiring manager
  5. If you are a potential fit for the position, you will interview with additional staff members
  6. If you are the candidate chosen, we will extend a job offer


All candidates will be notified regarding the status of their application within two to three weeks of submission. As new positions often become available, we encourage you to visit our site frequently for additional opportunities that align with your interests and skills.