Skip to main content

Ideas in Progress Newsletter

An Institute for Humane Studies Newsletter

Yes, Social Media Really is Undermining Democracy

In response to his first article arguing that social media undermines democracy, Jonathan Haidt presents additional evidence to support his claim. Hadit, a social psychologist at New York University and past IHS speaker, emphasizes how social media has been designed to polarize and divide the American people. “A major feature of the post-Babel world is that the extremes are now far louder and more influential than before. They may also become more violent,” he writes. Social media can also erode the foundation of our institutions, making us less willing to defend free speech and open inquiry. He writes, “This fear of getting shamed, reported, doxed, fired, or physically attacked is responsible for the self-censorship and silencing of dissent that were the main focus of my essay. When dissent within any group or institution is stifled, the group will become less perceptive, nimble, and effective over time.”

Read Jonathan Haidt in The Atlantic

Price Controls Hurt Gig Workers and Small Businesses

“At least 78 cities, counties and states in the U.S. have introduced temporary price controls restricting delivery companies from charging high commission fees to local restaurants,” writes Liya Palagashvili, a scholar at the Mercatus Center and IHS alumna. Palagashvili notes that since these policies have taken effect, there has been a reduction in demand for local restaurants among delivery companies, putting stress on small businesses and gig workers. “In a study analyzing 14 U.S. cities that have implemented temporary or permanent fee caps, researchers found that small restaurants experienced a decline in orders and revenues after the [fee cap] policies were enacted,” she describes.

Read Liya Palagashvili in The Hill

More Immigrants Help Reduce Inflation

Inflation has soared to record highs over the last year, but there is one underappreciated policy remedy available: immigration. In their op-ed for The Hill, David James Hebert, an associate professor of economics at Aquinas College, and Alexander William Salter, an associate professor of economics at Texas Tech, argue that increasing immigration can relieve inflation through more workers. “Making it easier for people to come here and work increases the availability of labor. That would boost the goods supply relative to the money supply. While it’s not a panacea, immigration can ease pricing pressures,” they write. The authors, also IHS alumni, stress the importance of supply-side factors in curbing inflation. “‘Supply-side economics’ isn’t fundamentally about tax cuts, and there’s no reason conservatives should have a monopoly on it. Liberals can profit from this agenda, too. Immigration reform is the place to start,” they assert. “Handing out green pieces of paper can make us wealthier,” they argue, “so long as they’re permanent resident cards and not dollars.”

Read David James Hebert and Alex Salter in The Hill

Why Allow Hate Speech?

“Human beings have different understandings of hate, love and everything in between,” explains Jonathan Zimmerman, professor of education at the University of Pennsylvania and IHS alumnus. “Almost any statement can be perceived as bigoted or offensive, depending on the context. So once we prohibit ‘hate speech,’ we won’t be able to speak at all.” Whenever we censor speech, the definition is shaped by a select few, and even then it’s not guaranteed that those who created the definition will be the most protected. Zimmerman writes, “Witness the book bans suffusing American school districts right now, mostly targeted at material about sex and gender … That’s the cry of the censor, in all times and places: A word or idea is insulting what is most sacred to us, so it’s our duty to shut it down, lest it promote depravity — especially among the young.” In the end, Zimmerman argues that censorship becomes a struggle for power, a way to wrest control from your political adversaries. “If you support the censorship of hate speech, from any side of the political aisle, stop pretending you believe in his cause. You just want your side to win,” he says.

Read Jonathan Zimmerman in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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.