Today's Liberal News

Conor Friedersdorf

America’s Blue and Red Tribes Aren’t So Far Apart

Large swaths of America’s vaccinated masses—along with elites in the White House, boardrooms, public schools, hospitals, and the mainstream media—are feeling frustrated with their unvaccinated neighbors. And understandably so. COVID-19 vaccines offer stellar protection against hospitalization and death.

The Danger of Treating Everything as an Emergency

COVID-19, one of the most formidable viral foes that the world has faced in a century, has caused more than 4.5 million deaths. The United States and nearly every other country besides were correct to declare it a public-health emergency. But now federal, state, and local officials are grappling with when to end the temporary emergencies declared in early 2020, in many cases with the expectation that they’d last just weeks. The U.S.

Your Phone Is Your Private Space

Privacy is a set of curtains drawn across the windows of our lives. And technology companies are moths that will chew through more of the fabric every year if we let them, and especially if we encourage them.An American who stores accumulated photographs in a spare bedroom or attic or self-storage space correctly presumes that those albums of visual keepsakes are off-limits to other people.

The Death Toll of Delay

This morning, the FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer vaccine for use in people 16 and older. Although “the vaccine approval was the fastest in the agency’s history,” as The Washington Post noted, serious side effects have proved extremely rare. Nevertheless, anti-vaccine activists—and the politicians and pundits pandering to them—have criticized the accelerated approval process as rushed.

‘When My Satire Becomes Popular, I Must Ask, What Is the Problem?’

Few observers of global discourse range as widely as Elnathan John, the novelist, satirist, and lawyer who frequently participates online and off in conversations about art, politics, and culture pertaining to at least three continents. His novel, Born on a Tuesday, is a coming-of-age story set in his native Nigeria. In Becoming Nigerian: A Guide, he tried his hand at satire.

The Hate-Crime Case in Which No One Was Intimidated

Earlier this month, a California college student passing through Utah wanted to show contempt for a sheriff’s deputy who stopped her friend, so she defiled a pro-police sign. The cop watched, then arrested her.Now she has been charged with a hate crime and faces possible jail time under a bipartisan hate-crime law passed in 2019.

A Culture of Free Speech Protects Everyone

Last week, the journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, who led The New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project, was named the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Faculty at its Hussman School of Journalism and Media recommended her for tenure too. But the university’s board of trustees didn’t approve the faculty recommendation. Instead, UNC appointed her to a five-year contract with the option of a tenure review.

A Culture of Free Speech Protects Everyone

Last week, the journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, who led The New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project, was named the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Faculty at its Hussman School of Journalism and Media recommended her for tenure too. But the university’s board of trustees didn’t approve the faculty recommendation. Instead, UNC appointed her to a five-year contract with the option of a tenure review.

‘They Learn to Parrot What They Know They’re Supposed to Say’

Erin McLaughlin, an educator in Pennsylvania, believes that, in school and in life, people should study what others think and why. But in her estimation, many educational institutions that purport to value diversity and inclusion fail to treat viewpoint diversity—which she defines as “the recognition that nobody’s worldview is complete, and that no one marker of identity actually defines the way we see the world around us”—as a vital part of civic education.

The Numbers Tell a Different Story About Police Killings of Minors

Deadly police force may be most traumatic to a community when officers kill a child. No matter the circumstances, we mourn both today’s loss and the decades of forgone tomorrows. The blow is sharper still when the child’s killing is captured on video and replayed again and again. Most recently, the police killings of Adam Toledo, 13, in Chicago in late March, and Ma’Khia Bryant, 16, last month in Columbus, Ohio, sparked protests and a social-media outcry.

A Distinctly American Problem Needs Systematic Investigation

Aviation deaths once looked like an intractable problem. Then the federal government began probing every plane crash with an eye toward preventing future loss of life. Our skies got much safer as a result. A similar approach could reduce police killings. A federal agency should investigate every single killing and significant injury caused by American police officers, who have long killed people at higher rates than cops in many other wealthy democracies.

What Happens When a Slogan Becomes the Curriculum

Last month, a public-school district that serves mostly elementary and middle-school students in Evanston, Illinois, held its third annual Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action—using a curriculum, created in collaboration with Black Lives Matter activists and the local teachers’ union, that introduces children as young as 4 and 5 to some of America’s most complex and controversial subjects.

The Best Punishment for a Horrible Year

Jonathan TwingleyIf 2020 were a person, what sort of punishment would they deserve? And given the sensible prohibitions against torture in human-rights law, what would be the next best option?The conceit of personifying a year dates back to at least the ancient Greeks and, in American newspaper culture, to the early 20th century, when the cartoonist J. C. Leyendecker established a tradition of drawing New Year’s babies on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post.

Why Matthew Yglesias Left Vox

GETTY / THE ATLANTICThe journalist Matthew Yglesias, a co-founder of Vox, announced today that he is leaving that publication for the paid-newsletter platform Substack, so that he can enjoy more editorial independence.The move may prove a good fit for Yglesias, who began his career as a highly successful independent blogger before blogging at The Atlantic and then elsewhere.

The Fight Against Words That Sound Like, but Are Not, Slurs

When the news began circulating on social media, many couldn’t believe it was true––that the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California would remove a longtime professor from a class because a Mandarin word he used correctly in a lesson sounded sort of like a racial slur. One skeptic warned that the “ridiculous sounding story” seemed like a “fabricated Reddit meme.

Steven Pinker Will Be Just Fine

Hundreds of academics in the linguistics community signed an open letter earlier this month attacking Steven Pinker, one of their field’s most prominent scholars, for six tweets and a passage from one of his best-selling books. Whatever their intentions, they were never going to succeed in intimidating the famous, tenured Harvard professor. But they did send a message to less powerful scholars that certain opinions, publicly stated, could result in professional sanction.

The Perils of ‘With Us or Against Us’

When I was 21, the United States experienced a national trauma: the planes crashing into the World Trade Center, the nearly 3,000 people killed in that day’s terrorist attacks, the ruins left smoldering for months at Ground Zero, and the unnerving knowledge that sooner or later, al-Qaeda would almost certainly strike again. Thoughtful deliberation is never so difficult as in such moments.