A look back on our editor’s choices for their favorite Merion West articles of 2017.
5. “We Need More Moderate Voters to Reduce Polarization” by Congressman Jason Altmire
In this June op-ed, Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), a centrist former member of Congress, discusses the various institutional pressures—from ideologically-extreme primary voters to gerrymandering to the role of the donors—responsible for both his defeat for re-election and an increasingly polarized Congress. His recommendations for an antidote to the current culture of division seem tailor-made for the mission of Merion West.
4. “Thoughts on the Public Discourse over Climate Change” by Professor Richard Lindzen
In this controversial summary of his life’s work published in April, Richard Lindzen argues that much of the current discourse on climate change is alarmist and misleading. This article, which was the most read in the history of Merion West, spurred staunch support from the right and stinging rebuttals from the left. Responses to this landmark article would surface across the globe in publications from Breitbart to Melbourne, Australia’s Herald Sun.
3. “Want to Help Disabled People? Treat Them as Individuals” by Henry George
This December essay features thoughts by Henry George on his experiences living with disabilities. He argues that it does no service to people with disabilities to treat them as anything other than complete individuals; the popular culture, however, too often portrays them monolithically and in a sentimental way that sidesteps the fact that their character is as perfect or imperfect as that of anyone else.
2. “The Liberal Case for Markets” by James Paron
James Paron, writing in April, suggests that those truly concerned about increasing the standard of living for those living in poverty would be wise to favor free market solutions, which have generated a much higher quality of life for people across the world during the past century. The most powerful part of his argument concerns the relative difference in lifespan between East and West Germany during the Cold War.
1. “Can Polarization Be a Good Thing?” by Eddie Ferrara
Published on December 7, 2017, Eddie Ferrara’s spirited rebuttal to the nearly unchallenged idea that polarization is necessarily a harmful thing, in many ways, flies in the face of the very mission of Merion West: to ease partisanship by engaging with the arguments of each side. In this iconoclastic critique of the prevailing wisdom of the day, Ferrara draws attention to the plus sides of gridlocked, slowed-down government, and the benefits to voters in knowing precisely what they are getting when they pull the lever for a candidate from a certain party.