(A) At the residence of Israel’s president, the first night of talks on hammering out a judicial compromise took place. https://www.timesofisrael.com/coalition-opposition-hold-first-talks-on-judicial-overhaul-with-president-herzog/
Centrist Yesh Atid, center-right-ish National Union, and Netanyahu’s own Likud each sent delegations of four people. The once-mighty, now-tiny Labour will send a delegation later. Right-wing, secular Israel Our Home’s leader Avigdor Liberman says they will join only on condition that the coalition withdraws the 2nd and 3rd reading of the Judicial Appointments Law from the Knesset docket. (It was quietly filed there yesterday, allowing it to be brought to a vote in as little as 24 hours. As Liberman started his career as Netanyahu’s cabinet chief, he’s intimately familiar with his former boss’s “tricks and shticks”. Foreign readers: have you wondered why the ranks of Netanyahu opponents are rife with his former ministers, allies, underlings?)
The main reason I am not entirely cynical about these talks being window dressing is that Netanyahu sent Ron Dermer, a former ambassador to the US and veteran campaign advisor, and one of the few people whose advice Bibi still trusts.
(B) Ringside at the Reckoning discuss a survey on American attitudes that has been sold as indicating precipitous drops in patriotism, in willingness to have children,… Compared to a mere four years ago.
They point out, however, that the comparison is of apples and oranges. Previous surveys were done by phone interview, this one by browser. (No, not as a push poll.) They argue: people who consider something ‘somewhat important’ are more likely to ‘upgrade’ their answer to ‘very important’ if speaking to an actual person (and the second answer will make them look better): this factor is not at play in the more impersonal setting of a web browser form.
In fact, they point out that if you aggregate “very important” and “somewhat important”, some of the questions actually show an uptick.
(C) Insty mulls the downsides of socially sorting people by age cohorts, and the positive sides of the older arrangement in which age groups co-mingled more freely.
[blockquote] If you look around our society, many of our more dysfunctional institutions are sorted by age: Homes for the elderly, public schools, even colleges. This age-segregation is artificial, something that never happened naturally in human society and barely happened at all until fairly recently in historical terms. Age segregation separates people from society, perhaps stigmatizes them, and, I think, harms society too.
It’s probably worst for teens. Putting kids together and sorting by age also created that dysfunctional modern creature, the “teenager.” Once, teen-agers weren’t so much a demographic as adults in training. They worked, did farm chores, watched children, and generally functioned in the real world. They got status and recognition for doing these things well, and they got shame and disapproval for doing them badly.
But once they were segregated by age in public schools, teens looked to their peers for status and recognition instead of to society at large. As Thomas Hine writesin American Heritage, “Young people became teenagers because we had nothing better for them to do. We began seeing them not as productive but as gullible consumers.” Not surprisingly, the kinds of behaviors that gain teenagers status from other teenagers differ from the kinds of things that gain teenagers status from adults: early sex, drinking, and a variety of other “cool” but dysfunctional characteristics—once frowned upon—now become the keys to popularity. When teenagers are herded together and separated by from adults, those behaviors gain in salience, and at considerable cost.
[…] Today’s teenagers, on the other hand, are largely consumers, not producers, something that now continues through college and even afterward. The resulting immaturity, they say, makes age 25 look like the new 15. Is that good? No, they report. This extended disconnection from the real world, at a time when people are, in many ways, at the height of their physical and mental powers, creates stress. “The average college student now reports as much anxiety as did the average psychiatric patient forty years ago.” And although schoolwork can be demanding, students know that it’s, in an important sense, not real.
[…] My daughter […] left her suburban Knoxville high school after a single semester in 9th grade because she said it was wasting her time. She went to Kaplan’s Online College Prep School, did her schoolwork at night, and worked at a TV production company in Knoxville during the day. She was surrounded by high-functioning adults, and as part of her job got to sort the incoming resumés, a kind of experience few teenagers get. She graduated at 16 and went off to college, far more secure and confident in the adult world than most of her peers. (When she was 19 I asked her what she’d be like if she’d stayed in her fancy suburban high school: “Pregnant or on drugs or both, probably,” she said, based on many of her peers.)
Go read the whole thing: it’s long but worthwhile. He also discusses how online addiction and the attendant isolation and echo chamber has exacerbated this (the essay was written before the terrible Nashville shooting). Then he goes into the benefits of older people staying active and away from nursing homes, where they end up “jockeying for status tokens in the walled-off society of Boca Vista Face III”. [Note: Interestingly, that is pretty much the Swedish approach: one reason the first COVID wave hit Swedish nursing homes so hard is that they typically are only populated by people who already have one foot in the next world, everybody else trying to live independently, with home care as necessary, subsidized by the government.]