Worth Reading - 7/22

If we rely solely on government to maintain and upgrade America’s infrastructure, all of those problems will only grow worse.

For starters, look at Amtrak. Coastal elites in the Northeast Corridor and Southern California help its operations there turn a profit. But elsewhere, it hemorrhages red ink. The Amtrak inspector general reports that, even with $2.25 sodas and $6.75 cheeseburgers, its food and beverage service alone loses $87 million annually. Meanwhile, the average Amtrak employee makes upward of $100,000 a year in pay and benefits. The federal taxpayer winds up subsidizing this loss leader to the tune of about $1.4 billion annually.

Meanwhile, the U.S. freight-rail system — deregulated and modernized by private investment — is booming. Why can’t we do the same with Amtrak passenger service?

For numerous reasons, most Americans prefer driving to taking Amtrak. Highways account for about 87 percent of all passenger miles traveled, while Amtrak’s share is some 0.14 percent. Clearly, Washington’s infrastructure spending does not match taxpayers’ infrastructure preferences.

2. Thirty-eight ways many college campuses permit "Left-wing" bias:

One would likely be hard-pressed to find a more left-leaning group than college professors and admissions officers, who prioritize pulling marginalized groups out of their marginalization and adding people of diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds to campus conversations.

Yet in their efforts to achieve a more egalitarian conversation, left-wing academics and their students completely ignore (at best) and marginalize (at worst) students and the rare colleague who disagree with them politically.

And therein lies the ultimate irony: The very voices that decry inequality in all its manifestations either accept or turn a blind eye to the stunning dearth of conservative academics and the de facto censorship of right-wing students on overwhelmingly left-wing campuses.

3. The beauty of sexual chastity between unmarried lovers. Scott Sauls deals with an important topic beautifully:

Martin Luther famously said that we’re all like drunk men on a horse, falling off to the left or to the right of the narrow path—the path of grace and truth—Jesus has paved for us. The fall to the right represents truth without grace, or religious moralism. The fall to the left represents grace without truth, or ethical license.

In the 1990s we might say that Western evangelicalism tended to fall to the right. For that decade and the few years that followed, the “Christian right” emphasized purifying society through strategic, largely law-based posturing in the culture wars. If enough Christians were in positions of power, the thinking went, society’s laws, norms, and values would eventually become more “Christian.”

The drift has reversed course ever since. If Christians could just forget the culture war mentality and focus on engaging culture, nurturing friendship, and being winsomely persuasive, the thinking goes, a better society would emerge.

Both approaches assume some risk. Falling to the right risks becoming alienated from culture due to a morality-based, us-against-them approach that emphasizes rules and rights over love. Falling to the left risks becoming so friendly with secular culture that we cease to be countercultural at all and instead become just like the culture.

4. The power of morning and evening routines. From The Art of Manliness: