collective action

Weeks ago, the recycling carts disappeared from our alley. We live in a Chicago three-flat, and the City is supposed to provide single-stream blue carts for all residential buildings with four or fewer units. It hasn’t replaced them yet. Larger buildings are required to provide recycling services themselves, but this doesn’t always happen, either.
May 7, 2015

It’s pretty clear that vaccination views don’t break down on partisan lines. Elizabeth Stoker Breunig is no doubt right that good old American individualism motivates many people’s refusal to take major risks to other people as seriously as minor risks to themselves. But not all of them. (It’s hard to generalize about anti-vaxxers.) And individualism itself of course exists across much of the political spectrum. Nor is support for specifically mandatory vaccines found mostly just among us liberals, with our comparative comfort with statism. And some of the best things I’ve read on this have been by right-leaning commentators.
February 5, 2015

Allison Benedikt’s anti-private-school manifesto is pretty entertaining: You are a bad person if you send your children to private school. Not bad like murderer bad—but bad like ruining-one-of-our-nation’s-most-essential-institutions-in-order-to-get-what’s-best-for-your-kid bad. So, pretty bad. I am not an education policy wonk: I’m just judgmental. But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good. Yes, this is a hyperbolic provocation. I agree with a lot of what Benedikt says, but I don’t think that private-school parents—or, for that matter, the many private-school teachers I know—are bad people.
September 5, 2013