Worthwhile Reading

A few items for your Monday reading pleasure:

In a commencement speech, the CEO of Questar Corporation takes on some popular myths about energy.

A professor of English who teaches at the U.S. Naval Academy has thoughts about the teaching and mis-teaching of his subject:

We professors just have to remember that the books are the point, not us. We need, in short, to get beyond literary studies. We’re not scientists, we’re coaches. We’re not transmitting information, at least not in the sense of teaching a discipline. But we do get to see our students react, question, develop, and grow. If you like life, that’s satisfaction enough.

Interesting description of the typical reaction of his students to Madame Bovary, and about the ways in which he tries to establish a connection between this character’s feelings and their own.

(via Newmark’s Door)

Finally, some not-so-cheerful thoughts from Arnold Kling:

The developed world enjoys an open-access order, in which both politics and economics are highly competitive. The rest of the world is in a natural state, in which only the members of the governing coalition are fully free to own property, participate in the political process and–most importantly–form durable organizations.

The United States is currently taking a giant step backward in the direction of a natural state. NWW would say that we are still an open-access order. However, the importance of the rule of law is declining, and the importance of political connections to the elite is increasing. I think we will see this trend emerge much more strongly over the next decade, as it becomes clear that the Republican Party is not going to win another national election. Interest groups will lose hope in competitive elections, and instead they will focus on accomodating the Democrats, which in turn will consolidate the power of the ruling party.

In economics this leads to stagnation, as we shift from an economic system dominated by competition and change from the bottom up to a system of rent-seeking and centralized management. There will be less creative destruction and more redistribution.

(via Isegoria)