The New York Times China Profile and Thanksgiving Thoughts

The world thought it could change China, and in many ways it has. But China’s success has been so spectacular that it has just as often changed the world — and the American understanding of how the world works.

This is from the terrific New York Times profile on China’s rise as a world power and its future as it heads toward a more autocratic future with President Xi Jinping in charge. It raises interesting questions about the value of nationalism and the conventional wisdom of economics and of free expression. It is certainly remarkable that China has been able to last as long as it has, and how it can survive into the future.

Thanksgiving is coming up and one thing I can say I am thankful for is the friendships and people I have met at the University of Michigan, and thankful that my family is safe after the Woolsey Fire roared through my hometown, and after the shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill. I am eternally grateful that they are safe, and my thoughts are with all of those affected. I will be back in town this week, and it will be devastating to see the effects of these devastating events. I can only hope for the best for the future, and with that I would like to wish all of my readers a happy early thanksgiving.

How should we follow the news and live today?

Our news and our opinions seem to drive our everyday lives more and more, and it by no means has to be this way. Here are some suggestions on how we should try to follow the news and live as we head into an increasingly hostile world.

  1. Get a digital subscription to a respectable print newspaper (preferably the New York Times), and read articles there to get a sense of the day and some of the editorials to see where current opinion is.
  2. Avoid Cable news. It is designed to keep you worried, upset, and frightened and uses that fear to gain customers and keep people watching. It is a dishonest representation of our news cycle and will cause you more stress than its worth
  3. If you cannot follow the news without TV, watch PBS Newshour or BBC.
  4. Find podcasts that can give you a wide variety of news and opinion. Some of my favorites are the New York Times’ The Daily and The Economist’s The Week Ahead. 
  5. Listen to as many sides of the conversation as you can (if you only watch MSNBC and listen to Pod Save America, listen to Ben Shapiro once or twice). The more you understand the other side the harder it will be to view people as others.
  6. If you absolutely must, take Arthur Brook’s advice and take some time off from news and politics. Political news coverage should not define your life, and if its beginning too it may be time to make a change.
  7. If you are using social media to get your news coverage, it may be time to either delete social media or take a break from it. It distorts much of what happens and tends to be extremely confrontational.
  8. “Learn how to learn from those who offend you.”
  9. Be strong in you convictions, but also be open to discussion and change.
  10. Treat everyone you talk to as human and someone who is smart enough to come to their own conclusions, even if they are heinous. If we act like people are lost causes or act as those they cannot be talked to, we lose them permanently.

I am sure there is plenty I missed so please chime in with any of your thoughts and ideas as well.