Change doesn’t usually come about through threats, screaming, signs, and intimidating demands, much less unhinged dreams of how you think the world should work. If the movements gathering around the country to demand this and that in front of the Supreme Court reduced their ambitions to immediate family and friends, they might discover the truth of what [Jordan] Peterson is teaching. Making a loud fuss can be satisfying but it doesn’t get the job done.
What accounts for those improvements [in workplace safety]? Labour union activism, including strikes and protests, has been traditionally credited with making the workplace safer. But improving working conditions cannot be divorced from the overall improvement in the standard of living. The massive economic expansion in the second half of the 19th century, in particular, tightened the labour market and workers started to gravitate toward more generous employers. It was only after a certain critical mass of workers achieved more tolerable working conditions that more general workplace regulations became imaginable and, more importantly, affordable.
Mr. Glazer hoped the Northern model of race relations could spread to the South after civil rights. Instead, liberals began thinking about race in the North along Southern lines—an unfortunate turn, in Mr. Glazer’s view. “I kept on fighting the word ‘segregation’ of blacks in the North,” he says. Northern blacks “didn’t have money, they lived where they could.” But they “were not segregated in schools; they were concentrated because that’s where they were”—just as ethnic neighborhoods in midcentury New York had schools that were heavily Puerto Rican or Italian.
I doubt that speakers at the Global Climate Change Summit will talk about what I think is our best bet, which is to adapt and mitigate, rather than spend billions to prevent change. But that would be an unpopular position among the climate change activists and it is not popular with politicians or reporters. Proposals to adapt and mitigate are poorly received when talking about climate change. The poor reception might be because risk is something that people in general evaluate poorly. There is a lot of pressure on politicians to “do something.” Pick up any newspaper and there are letters to the editor from the old, young, informed, uninformed, frightened, and optimistic that something must be done. And so on.