Here are 26 opinions and observations prompted by events of the past year. I would be surprised if anyone else on the planet agrees, or for that matter disagrees, with all of them.
First, the jobs crisis is as permanent as ever.
Second, once again, our politicians have put the jobs crisis on the back burner.
Third, unemployment has improved slowly, but once we get another recession we will clearly understand that 2012 and early 2013 were relatively good times, not bad.
Fourth, Barack Obama has talked a moderate-to-conservative game on jobs, but has not emphasized them in his actions, at all.
Fifth, Congress is so polarized that almost any ideas from the other party will be resisted, even if they are ideologically fine otherwise.
Sixth, more and more people are leaving the work force, and that trend is just gathering steam.
Seventh, inequality is not the problem – ordinary people not being able to sell their labor for a decent living, regardless of how much Joe Moneybags down the street has, is.
Eighth, Americans have more mutual problems than ever before, but keep being pulled apart by efforts, especially academic and journalistic, to get them to see their issues, and identities, in terms of race, sex, and sexual orientation.
Ninth, differing achievement levels do not in themselves constitute racism, sexism, or other discrimination.
Tenth, given that racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia in general are well-entrenched human behaviors, the progress made on them over the past 60 years is staggering – and it is continuing.
Eleventh, there are two types of feminism: power feminism, or advocacy of equal rights; and victim feminism, or seeing women and what they do as needing special protection. They are opposites.
Twelfth, Americans in general do a poor job of comprehending why their countrymen with different political views think as they do.
Thirteenth, almost all of the time, the opposite opinion has a lot of validity too.
Fourteenth, both sides are right about gun control – and both sides are wrong.
Fifteenth, on the issue of immigration policy, whatever your viewpoint is you can back it up with data, and good data at that.
Sixteenth, abortion is a philosophical issue, not a political one.
Seventeenth, if the true nature of consciousness is determined (is it from computation, from the brain and replicatible, from the brain and not replicatible, or from some other source?), it will have an almost unimaginably huge effect on where our lives will go.
Eighteenth, when looking at how businesses seem to behave, use Watergate logic: follow the money. That’s ultimately all businesses want, and that, not malevolence, drives their decisions.
Nineteenth, unions protecting workers from private companies are fundamentally different from those protecting workers from government organizations without any profit motive.
Twentieth, non-career education after high school, which is also highly valuable, will continue to become prohibitively expensive for more and more.
Twenty-first, human diversity is vastly more than differences in skin pigmentation, genital type, and nature of sexual desires.
Twenty-second, you are entitled to personally recognize, or not recognize, any marriage you choose. A government-issued marriage license is as sacred a covenant as a government-issued roofer’s license.
Twenty-third, straight white men are not the only group with at least some responsibility for their statistical shortcomings.
Twenty-fourth, other people do not always value the same things you do. That does not always make them wrong, evil, uninformed, or in need of being set straight.
Twenty-fifth, if you think your religion is the only one that is right, a minimum of 80% of other people disagree with you.
Twenty-sixth, good people, which means most people, deal with their opportunities and circumstances as well as they can. That explains almost all of the differences between generations.
Want more on any of these? Let me know, and I will provide it. If you agree with most of them, be sure to keep up with this blog, as they underpin what I write.