Steve Hochstadt: Everyone complains about the uncivil state of our national political conversation, the tendency to assume that political opponents are stupid at best and, more likely, evil. And everyone waits for the other guy to shape up.
Steve Hochstadt: Most Christmas movies, especially the older ones I love, like “Miracle on 34th Street”, not only assume that Santa is real, but that all good people will eventually come to believe that.
Steve Hochstadt: The question of effectiveness cannot be answered. I think it’s more important for our national self-respect to ask whether torture ought to be used by the American government whether or not it is effective.
Steve Hochstadt: Because the ability of the wealthy to buy American elections through campaign contributions is legal, it does not count in international comparisons of corruption.
Steve Hochstadt: Academics, and anyone else, who ignores the murderous behavior of both sides contributes to further polarization. I despair of ever seeing peace come to the one place where Jews are not a minority.
Steve Hochstadt: The less we take for granted, the more we will say “thanks”, the more appreciation is spread to another person, the more joy in giving is shared. Good givers don’t need thanks, but always appreciate them.
Steve Hochstadt: I do like to talk with students, to see their reaction to the information I give them and the questions I ask. I believe that my colleagues are far more effective at teaching information, concepts, and ways of thinking than any computer program.
Steve Hochstadt: Americans angry about the economy have turned to a party which forced an end to unemployment insurance for the long-term unemployed, which wants to cut both welfare programs and taxes on the wealthy, which opposes doing anything to prevent jobs and profits from going overseas We’ll see how that turns out.
Steve Hochstadt: If we can’t trust our scientists, then what do we do when the next crisis arrives? Whom should we trust when our lives are on the line in the case of an Ebola epidemic?
Steve Hochstadt: Liberals and conservatives absorb different information about the world. Liberals get their news mainly from CNN, National Public Radio, the New York Times, and MSNBC. Conservatives overwhelmingly favor FOX News.
Steve Hochstadt: Who believes politicians paid by ExxonMobil instead of scientists, doctors, and conservationists? Gullible people who want to believe. That’s what makes hoaxes work.
Steve Hochstadt: Other wild ideas that are not shaped by politics are whether shape-shifting reptilian people control our world (believed by 4%); whether Paul McCartney died in a car crash in 1966 (5%); or whether television contains secret mind-controlling technology (15%). But how else to explain the popularity of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”?
Steve Hochstadt: U.S. history was white-washed. Public school textbooks used in Texas were emphatic about savage Indians and lazy Negroes.