Lesson 11: You Can’t Change Human Nature

It’s pretty easy to label Robert McNamara a pessimist. He does say “I’m not so naive or simplistic to believe we can eliminate war,” and after all, he suggests, you can’t change human nature.

I don’t think his skepticism stems from a belief that human nature is evil. It’s closer to what my friend Erik told me in a discussion about Syria. It’s not that we are inherently violent. It’s that we are bad at making decisions and war is ALWAYS an option. I tend to agree.

The most important thing we can do is learn from whatever mistakes we make. Continue reading

Asking the Wrong Question

(Editor’s Note: This is a slightly updated version of something posted as a Facebook note several years ago.)

Wisconsin’s labor issues disturb me.

If this were to come to Minnesota (and it probably will), I would have a very hard time deciding what to do. Certainly, my right to bargain collectively is important to me. But it is not as important as my responsibility to help my students grow as learners and individuals? How can I fight for my own rights at the expense of my students’ right to an education? The fact is that I don’t know what I believe on this issue. Continue reading