Magazine November 15, 2021, Issue

Rationality, If You Can Keep It

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Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters, by Steven Pinker (Viking, 432 pp., $32)

Rationality is a precious birth­right that we too often take for granted if not mock or reject — despite our supposed sophistication.

Ours is the first age in which humanity’s collective knowledge waits quite literally at our fingertips — yet most of us continue to embrace easily refutable false­hoods with abandon. Ours is a time when higher education is available to almost anyone who seeks it — yet we wear our diplomas alongside garish contempt for the very foundations of learning: intellectual openness, dialogue, and the possibility that we might be wrong. Ours is a world made immeasurably better by the

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Gary GeipelMr. Geipel is a senior associate of the National Institute for Public Policy, where he is conducting a study on the implications of post-truth attitudes and behavior for national security.

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