Headline, Nexus »

Why the Gilden Age Lives on in Manhattan’s Historic Dream Homes

By | March 14, 2017

Sixty-six floors above Midtown Manhattan, Donald J. Trump lives in a fantasy world copied from the French royalty of the 18th century. His residence, an enormous three-story penthouse that has been valued at more than $100 million, embodies his tastes and expresses his understanding of himself. With floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto parts of his real estate and licensing empire, the penthouse was apparently …

Headline, Nexus »

A Government That Pushes Paranoia and Falsehoods May Undermine Its Own Legitimacy

By | March 13, 2017

“Nothing is more surprising,” wrote David Hume in his 1758 First Principles of Government, than “the easiness with which the many are governed by the few.”
What explains this surprising easiness? Trust is at the heart of the answer. Hume believed that since the people always outnumber their leaders (and thus retain the power of “force”), the legitimacy of all government rests merely “on opinion.” …

Headline, Nexus »

How a Burned-Out Basketball Coach Rebounded in Ireland by Learning to Love a Lost Cause

By | March 8, 2017

“Time out!” I yelled.
It was something I said a lot that year, in the midst of a losing streak that would culminate in a dead last place finish. This was in the Irish Super League—perhaps the lowest level of pro basketball in the world—and I was the coach of the Tralee Tigers.
My team gathered around me on the bench, and I wondered for an …

Featured, Nexus »

In the Era of the On-Demand Economy, Government Must Consider Both What Citizens Want and What They Can Contribute

By | March 7, 2017

In the 20th century, the legitimacy of governments was based almost solely on the rule of law and the right to vote.
In the democratic upheaval of the 21st century, citizens still want the protection of laws and the ability to choose representatives, but those powers may no longer be enough to make government legitimate in the eyes of the people. In the future, governments may …

Featured, Nexus »

If You Want to Rule Brazil, Draw Power from the Streets

By | March 7, 2017

Last August, Brazil’s leftist President Dilma Rousseff was forced to step down from office after the nation’s senate voted to impeach her. But Rousseff’s true downfall came months earlier, when record numbers of Brazilians turned out in street protests to demand her resignation.
The deeply unpopular Rousseff wasn’t the first Brazilian leader, and likely won’t be the last, to lose her legitimacy after millions of people …

Featured, Nexus »

Why Will Donald Trump Hate the Presidency? Because He Doesn’t Understand the Difference Between Strength and Power.

By | March 6, 2017

Donald Trump entered politics as a self-proclaimed “strong leader.” He castigated his supposedly tepid predecessor for lacking necessary strength. Trump, by contrast, would sweep away the establishment and remake America. But Trump quickly faced opposition from, among others, protesters, federal judges, career civil servants, and states. His executive order on immigration, for example, which temporarily banned all travel to the United States from seven majority …

Featured, Nexus »

To Keep Authoritarianism at Bay, Western Democracies Need to Root Themselves in a Vision of the Common Good

Why is democracy in trouble? Long before democracy’s global slump became conventional wisdom, Yascha Mounk was warning that support for democracy was on the decline in the world’s most advanced societies.
In a paper published in the Journal of Democracy, Mounk, a lecturer on government at Harvard University, and his colleague Roberto Stefan Foa showed that public satisfaction with democratic governments was the lowest it had …

Headline, Nexus »

How Thomas Jefferson’s Feud with Aaron Burr Defined What It Means to Betray America

By | March 6, 2017

One answer lies in our nation’s founding document. Treason is the only crime defined in the U.S. Constitution, which states: “Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”
The Founders borrowed this language from the law of King Edward III of England. Enacted in A.D. 1350, Edward …

Nexus »

For China’s One-Party Rulers, Legitimacy Flows from Prosperity and Competence

By | March 5, 2017

It is widely assumed in the West that legitimacy of a government comes from universal suffrage and multiparty competitive elections. Yet this assumption raises two issues: First, historically it is not true, as universal suffrage is a recent development. One can claim, for instance, that U.S. administrations only became truly legitimate in 1965, when African Americans were really allowed to vote. Furthermore, this practice is …

Nexus »

I Appreciate an L.A. Where I Can Rely on Transit and Walking, but a Backlash Threatens

By | March 4, 2017

Will Los Angeles finally admit it’s a metropolis? And if so, what kind of metropolis does it want to be?
That may seem a strange question, given the size of the L.A. region. But Los Angeles is of at least two minds. Yes, we’re home to world class universities, two pro football teams, the nation’s largest port complex by volume, the third-busiest airport in the U.S., …

BROUGHT TO YOU BY