Here Are Two Sentences to Ponder Over Instead of Fretting About Ukraine

| Sat Mar. 1, 2014 5:59 PM EST

I happen to have read two things that struck me in the past hour. The first is from a back-cover blurb for a book that arrived in the mail:

Mettler powerfully and convincingly demonstrates how partisan polarization and plutocratic biases have shaped _________ policy in recent years and why reform is so urgent.

I'm convinced already. Does it even matter what this book is about? You could write this sentence about practically anything these days. For the record, though, the book is Degrees of Inequality. The author is Suzanne Mettler and the blank space is "higher education." Then there's this:

There is one great advantage to being an academic economist in France: here, economists are not highly respected in the academic and intellectual world or by political and financial elites. Hence they must set aside their contempt for other disciplines and their absurd claim to great scientific legitimacy, despite the fact that they know almost nothing about anything.

Bracing! This is from the introduction to Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century. Only 544 pages to go.