Let me take this opportunity to register a complaint with the term “open-minded,” which is increasingly praised as an important virtue.
I’ve started to dislike the term. First of all, it’s unobjectionable—who would profess he is not open-minded? More importantly, it’s not always clear what the term refers to, and this is worth thinking through. It might indicate the state of being “soft-minded,” in which one would readily be swayed by better arguments. But often it tends to connote “empty-minded,” in which one accepts anything and retains little. Many people are indeed open to different cultures and ideas, but they’re not necessarily conceptualizing their experience, nor active in seeking new experiences out.
I would like for everyone to be “hungry-minded,” in which one realizes that there is so much to know.
Much (by no means all) of the post is a review of The Complacent Class. Dan of course is an excellent reader:
By introducing little oddities in the text, Cowen makes room for claims that are too difficult to baldly state; in other cases, watch for occasions in which he’s offering commentary on something other than what he’s directly writing about.
I am envious that Dan is now in Kunming again…