What Adam Grant says about the relationship between freedom and creativity is so true. But now I fear that the tiger moms and dads will decide that they can mass-produce creative children merely by cutting back on rules and letting their children follow their hearts. I would argue that the sources of creativity are deeper than that: Creative children tend to have creative parents who encourage and value creativity in their offspring.
And if a child does become creative, what then? Not everyone has the gifts or good fortune to achieve success in a creative field. How many bands actually hit the charts? How many novels become best sellers, or are even published? I have seen creative friends struggle for years to break into a field against astronomical odds; most ended up with day jobs.
The truth is, unless he’s one of a handful of stars, and often even then, the creative person will be punished for his creativity at every stage of his life. School rewards students for completing simple exercises according to schedule. At work, most of the profit and frequently the credit for art and invention accrue to others. Create something too sophisticated, and it won’t be understood. Create something uninspiring, and it will be condemned.
Creativity and talent are intrinsically fulfilling, but they are cruel taskmasters: Modern society offers the creative person few opportunities, and fewer rewards.
[M]oral systems are an informal analogue of public law, with the difference that each person has the responsibility of deciding for himself what set of laws he will follow in his conduct and advocate for others.
(Richard B. Brandt, Ethical Theory: The Problems of Normative and Critical Ethics, Prentice-Hall Philosophy Series, ed. Arthur E. Murphy [Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1959], 263)
Re “The Need for a Financial Trading Tax” (editorial, Jan. 28):
Congress needs to pass a small tax on financial transactions. It will provide revenue to rebuild our infrastructure without causing any pain. The millionaire traders won’t miss a few pennies, and the low-income earners won’t be penalized with another regressive tax.
This tax already works in Britain, South Korea, Hong Kong and Switzerland. And as you note, 10 countries belonging to the European Union will also impose a financial transaction tax.
But of course the Republicans and their fat-cat Wall Street patrons will oppose any tax.
The U.S. Constitution is famous for its “Madisonian system” of structural constraints on the central government's powers. More than two hundred years of experience with the system gives us a pretty good perspective on both its strengths and its limitations. The major structural constraints are: (1) the doctrine of the general government as a government of delegated and enumerated, and therefore limited, powers; (2) the dual sovereignty of the general government and the states—with the states functioning as governments of general jurisdiction exercising generalized police powers (a kind of plenary authority), limited under the national constitution only by specific prohibitions or by grants of power to the general government; (3) the separation of legislative, executive, and judicial powers within the national government, creating a system of “checks and balances” that limits the power of any one branch and, it is hoped, improves the quality of government by making the legislative and policy-making processes more challenging, slower, and more deliberative; and (4) the practice (nowhere expressly authorized in the text of the Constitution, but lay that aside for now) of constitutional judicial review by the federal courts.
I love Sarah Palin and I love Ted Cruz, so it pains me to read this. Unless Cruz cleans up his act immediately (and that means getting control of his campaign aides and supporters), I'm done with him. In my view, a politician should never so much as mention his or her rivals for office, much less make disparaging remarks or personal attacks. Just inform the voters of your beliefs, values, principles, and plans, and leave it at that. The voters can compare the candidates' views and vote for the candidate whose views they most prefer. I guess what I'm saying is that politics doesn't have to be personal; it can (and should) be philosophical. The way to send this message is to withhold votes for those candidates who go negative. I'm about to withhold my vote from Cruz.
It is true that most voters on both sides of the aisle are angry, but you completely omit the primary source of the anger. ("The year of the angry voter," editorial, Jan. 31)
You conclude correctly that voters are angry about indecisive and incompetent government. You mention a “braggadocious” candidate and a candidate who wants to “carpet bomb” Islamic State. Alas, you miss the mark completely in identifying the root cause of the anger held by most Americans.
The editorial suggests that the source of the anger emanates from the candidates' solutions. The Times is completely wrong.
The anger of voters is overwhelmingly provoked by dishonest politicians. There's Benghazi, e-mail servers, breached security, cover-ups, unequal enforcement of the law, governance by fiat and outright mendacity—these are all the root causes of the anger voters are expressing now.
Not mentioning the name of the most culpable candidate is unbecoming of a great newspaper like The Times. It should re-examine this issue.