Monday, March 29, 2021

The All-or-Nothing Marriage: How the Best Marriages Work

In The All-or-Nothing Marriage, Northwestern psychology professor Eli Finkel starts with a history of marriage and relationships in western society. Then he proceeds to cover some of the latest research and dispense with some advice on how to make marriages work.

Gender roles have an interesting place in marriage relationships. In hunter-gatherer societies, men often hunted, while women gathered. (Women would do this even when pregnant.) On the farm, there were also distinct gender roles, with men often engaged with more hard labor in the field, while women would tend to things closer to home. The children were also heavily involved in production at home. At the initial stages of industrialization, children were also valuable laborers. However, this gradually faded. Men and women tended to focus on different types of jobs. During world war 2, many women worked in factories, while men were fighting the war. There were many marriages made before soldiers went off to war. However, these would often fail as people changed during the time away.

The post-war era brought a unique period for society. The GI Bill provided incentives for former soldiers (men). Jobs were abundant and high paying. Industrialized society also experienced a historic increase in birth rate. Families could afford to have the wife stay at home, while the husband went to work. However, even as this was happening, a great number of labor-saving devices reduced the amount of time needed to take care of the household chores. Eventually, the birth rate went down, and more women joined the workforce.

Marriage has gradually worked up Maslow's pyramid. Early marriage offered basic needs and protection. Today, people are often looking for self-discovery and fulfillment. This book provides some life "hacks" to help achieve a quality marriage. Some things are as simple as discussing how each spouse can help the other to achieve their mutual goals. Others explore different aspects of traditional and non-traditional marriage.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves

Humans have come to dominate the world through innovation. People can build upon knowledge and others' work to create new things. Even something simple like a pencil is behind the scope of any single person to easily create on their own. They would need to cut down trees, mine metal, and do all the work to shape and form it. It would be a daunting task. Today it is easy to buy a pencil at the local store. Many people have been involved in the process to make the pencil, yet they  don't have the knowledge and skills outside their realm.

The author has great faith in the ability of humans to innovate their way out of problems. However, he has little faith in us being able to predict what innovations will take place. He sees government intervention as often a fools errand. Subsidizing big companies that were previous innovators merely delays their eventual fall. The smaller, newer, more nimble organizations are the ones that provide most of the advantage to society. These small companies then become big ones and often ossify. Governments tend to favor them because they are big, yet that is a mistake. Governments also attempt to regulate activities based on what is currently known. This can interfere with truly useful innovations. Many of the problems in poor countries can be traced to rent-seeking leaders. The institutions are corrupt making it difficult for anything to get done. Even with foreign aid, the poor often remain poor, while the leaders are getting rich.

The author has little respect for pessimist alarmists. Negative fear-mongering does get a lot of coverage. He catalogs big fears such as "overpopulation", "acid rain" and "global cooling" that have all fallen by the wayside. Today, "global warming" is the boogeyman. He acknowledges that the earth is warming, but objects to many of the actions that are taken. Climate change will cause changes. However, humans have always dealt with climatic changes, and could continue to deal with it. Even in some of the worse case scenarios, the total risk is not worth significant societal changes. 

The "fixes" can be worse than the problem. Some of the "renewable" resources such as biofuels require great amounts of land and can be a net negative for climate change. Even "green energy" like wind is very inefficient. Legislation often greatly subsidizes forms of "green" energy production we know about, which my stall some of the needed innovation. Fossil fuels are amazingly efficient and have replaced previous forms of energy (such as slaves and animals). They have also long outlasted their predicted depletion thanks to increases in extraction and usage efficiency. We likely have a solution to our energy problems waiting to be created. The solution probably is not something that we think of (electric or self-driving cars), but instead something totally new.

Is there a limit to how we can innovate out of our problems? Yes. This has been seen in previous cultures. In the middle ages, both China and the Muslim chose stability over innovation. Government policies have often forced innovation down the wrong track. Perhaps we will run into something that we just can't make better. However, if we do, government will not be able to help us.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Resetting the Table: Straight Talk About the Food We Grow and Eat

Resetting the Table takes a very science-based approach to looking at the pros and cons of the current food production system. It provides an objective look at the food chain without being excessively biased towards one point of view. The general conclusion is that our farming system is extremely efficient, but still has room for improvement. 

Farmers want to use as few inputs as possible. They want to continue to farm in a sustainable manner. However, they also want to maximize their yield. Large farms can take advantage of new technology that small farms do not have the scale to use. Drones, computers and satellites can all be used to help target water, fertilizer and pesticides where it is precisely needed. No till farming has proving to be a valuable "old school" way of improving farming productivity.

The science behind GMO crops is interesting. Scientific studies have overwhelmingly shown GMO crops to be safe. Activists, however, have continued to use fear an uncertainty to fight against GMOs. (The same activists will often be on the opposite side of the debate when it comes to climate change.) This anti-GMO work has led to developing companies refusing GMO crops that could be beneficial.

The author comes across as somewhat ambivalent when it comes to organic agriculture. The arbitrary nature of the rules is not necessarily best for the environment. (For example, non-biodegradable plastic is used due to restriction on other products.) For animal products, it gets even more hazy. Producers can often meet the "letter of the law" for animal welfare, without providing significant benefit. The biggest concern with organic farming is the scale. It is predominantly niche right now. Organic farming also tends to produce lower yields per acre and require more labor. There is probably not enough land available to feed the world with fully organic farming.

Eating local can also have issues. Shipping produce across the world is done in bulk and requires relatively little fuel. A farmer trucking his produce 60 miles from the farm to the farmer's market uses much more fuel per unit. The consumer, driving 5 miles to buy a few pounds of produce uses even more fuel per unit. The "local" produce can often burn more fossil fuel in transit than the long-distance produce, and this doesn't even touch the production. The distant area may be a much better location for growing certain crops. Our global supply chain has allowed us to consume more healthy foods that would not be otherwise available.

The greatest criticism is leveled at the food processors. They focus on getting people to buy more. This can be detrimental to health as well as the environment. Farmers can often receive a bad rap as they align with these processors in fighting against regulation. However, many of these regulations (such as nutrition standards) could be either neutral or positive for farmers.

What does the future hold? The green revolution has improved productivity. However, everything is not perfect. The increased productivity has enabled our current urbanized society. There have been some cases of widespread "turning back", such as Cuba after the loss of USSR support. The country was able to move towards "local organic farming" out of necessity. However, this was accompanied by a loss of productivity. At the present, it would be near impossible to "go back" to classical agriculture. However, there are still areas for improvement. We should focus on improving without throwing out the benefits.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Love, Money, and Parenting: How Economics Explains the Way We Raise Our Kids

The authors of Love, Money and Parenting analyze various parenting styles across time and geography through an economic lens. The general conclusion is that income inequality and chance of advancement leads to more helicopter-style parenting. In societies that are more egalitarian, children are able to run free and not given such high demands. 

With inequality, there is a strong desire to give children the advantages needed to succeed. This can differ across cultures. In China, everything depends on academic achievement and the focus is there. In America, academics and extra-circulars are needed to gain access to elite colleges. Thus, parents shuffle children off to many different activities.

Agrarian societies saw children as a key part of the family labor. Families were typically larger and expected to help out. There were typically different roles optimized for age and gender, but everyone helped out.  Even at the start of the industrial revolution, children could continue to help the family by working. Roles continued to be based on specific gender (often with those demanding more brawn for men, and more finesse for women.) There were also different systems of marriage and inheritance that would favor one gender over the other. Today, many roles are knowledge based and are fairly easily performed by males or females.  There is thus a greater demand for more equal treatment.

The authors present a large number of different statistical analyses to identify certain factors that would help identify the cause of parenting being a certain way. There is a little bit of combined analysis. However, it would be interesting to see more on "buckets" of traits that are impactful. It is interesting that there are such extreme differences in parenting style today. From a policy perspective, I think we often confuse cause and effect. We see an egalitarian society in Scandinavia, so we attempt to emulate their non-tracked permissive schooling on a local level. Alas, this merely lets a small group of students fall behind. The permissive schooling is the effect, not the cause. And furthermore, it extends in to the culture, both in and outside the school. 

Monday, March 22, 2021

An Abundant Life: A Biography of Delbert Valentine and Jennie Holbrook Groberg

The world changes a lot in 90 years of life. Once you start adding the parents, there is even more that changes. Delbert and Jennie's parents grew up hearing the family stories of immigration to Utah. They, however, had greater roots in Utah. Jennie as somewhat of a small town urbanite as the granddaughter of a BYU president in Provo, Utah. Delbert had a rougher childhood. His parents died when he was young, leaving him to be farmed off to relatives in Utah and Idaho. He seemed to endure life happily. It was interesting that he was able to take a train into Ogden to go to high school. Alas, that train line has long since disappeared. 

Jennie was raised in a large family that valued education. She completed college and worked briefly as a teacher before getting married. After getting married, she raised a large family of her own. In addition to raising her family, she kept busy with a large amount of work. She was active in many positions in church. She also produced multiple theatrical productions and spent a great deal of time writing. She wrote to family members, wrote a detailed family history and organized her grandfather's collection of writings. This was far from "homemaking". (They would often have helpers in the house to help with chores.) It is also interesting that the "old" house they purchased are still standing in Idaho Falls. Raising a large family was not easy, but it could be done.

Delbert was busy in  business endeavors. He was also a rare Democrat politician in Idaho Falls. He was elected Justice of the Peace, but failed to get elected Mayor. He became a skilled appraiser, and also helped out with real estate development, the local media, civic organizations and the local banks. He would take numerous business trips, sometimes taking family members with him.

Later in life, they would explore many parts of the country with their children. It is interesting that they could have both very localized views as well as a broad exposure to many cultures. Their faith was the most important aspect of the life. The world was seen through this lens of faith. This approach flips the concerns that often appear in modern society. A child eloping before a temple wedding may be a more upsetting than other seemingly greater worldly challenges. This allows one to be at peace living in the world. Death after over 90s years of life is nothing more than a transfer to the newest calling.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding

Humans were never meant to exercise. They do, however, get great benefit from physical activity. This conundrum is explained by the advances in human society. Hunter gatherers require a large amount of energy to obtain their food. (Sometimes, a hunter might run dozens of miles to chase prey.) It is beneficial to minimize this expenditure whenever possible. Yet because the expenditures are so great, the body has used this forms of physical activity to help optimize provide benefits systems. Today, we have managed to eliminate almost all need for physical activity. However, are bodies are still configured to require this physical activity to carry out some of its "repair" mechanisms. Thus, the need for voluntary exercise has been born.

What does exercise help? The general answer is "a lot". There have been numerous scientific studies performed. Moderate levels of exercise seem to be beneficial in preventing various diseases and increasing overall health. More exercise seems to add even more benefits. Extreme levels of exercise (like ultra-marathons) may show some decrease in immune response. Aerobic exercise and strength training both seem to be beneficial, though for different things. A mixture of both is optimal, though if just doing one, aerobic exercise seems to get a greater bang for the buck.

One challenge with exercise studies in general is that they don't easily fit in the paradigm of scientific studies. The short term studies may rely on people reporting activity or are narrowly focused on a single outcome for a level of physical activity. Long term studies can be useful, but also require a lot of self reporting to be done. It is also important to look at the numbers behind studies (as there may be groups with very small sample sizes.) There are some interesting studies out there, including one that shows taking antioxidants may reduce the positive antioxidant impacts of exercise. Our bodies can do interesting things.

Exercise can be helpful in weight loss as long as increased calories are not consumed to compensate. One of the challenges is the body itself. It responds to needs by managing the number of calories that are burned. Thus, diet is often more beneficial for losing weight and keeping it off. 

Prescribing a healthy diet, enough sleep and regular exercise would probably do more to improve human health than any medication that could be prescribed. Alas, getting people to exercise can be a challenge. We often mandate physical activity for young children, but feel we can't do it for adults. Some people enjoy individual activity, while many others thrive on the comradery of group fitness. Fat-shaming is seen as something bad. There are many data points that are parroted out there that don't necessarily have scientific validation. (10,000 steps a day was a standard set by a pedometer maker.) Different people respond better to different physical activities. How do we help people to improve their health?

Thursday, March 18, 2021

The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous

Most psychological studies take place in universities with university students as the subjects. These have been used to generalize human behavior. However, it turns out that they are finding results for a very peculiar group of people that do not really represent the world as a whole. These people are WEIRD -Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic. They are an anomaly in the world today and in the history of humanity.

How did WEIRD society come about? The author discusses a number of reasons. Among them, the Catholic church jumps to the front. Ironically, while the church was at the vanguard of the changes, once the ball got rolling, it moved past the church, leaving the church as the more "conservative" group today. Prior to the influence of the church, ties to family and clan were of primary importance. 

The church marriage and family policy ripped apart these relationships. Marriages would often take place within families, with cousin marriage common. The church clamped down on that, even going to the extent of prohibiting marriage up to sixth cousins. This helped to spread people outside of small family groups. This also helped to encourage people to trust people outside of their family and form guilds and other groups.

Monogamy was also the law of the land. Many cultures have allowed men to take multiple wives. This gave women the advantage of getting their desired mate, regardless of his marital status. However, it left a group of men with no marriage prospects. These people would be willing to take excessive risks, thereby disrupting society. By encouraging monogamy, the church increased the prospects of men and societal stability.

The church helped to create an individualistic society. The protestant reformation kicked this in to high gear. People were responsible for their own well-being. People were not responsible for the actions of others. Their individual mind state is viewed as more important than outcomes. Concepts of "natural rights" were viewed as logical. Documents such as the Magna Carta and Declaration of Independence were rooted in these concepts.

This WEIRD society encouraged more people to work together for the benefit of everybody. An analytical, logical approach was used allowing for widespread technical growth. This helped lead to these cultures dominating others. They represent the root of the common western culture today. This individualistic culture dominates today. There is a quest to adopt more and more new individual rights. This is the logical continuation of this culture. However, this culture remains just a unique culture that is dominating today. It is not necessarily the best or the ultimate. Today, we continue to see conflicts where the individualistic culture attempts to adopt other groups.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Infinite Jest

Infinite Jest is a long novel that takes place in a time somewhat similar to our own. Years no longer are known by numbers, but instead by their sponsors. Most of the book takes place in the Year of the Depend Undergarment. Things are somewhat different. It is part alternate history and part futuristic work (that is now in the past.) 

A good chunk of the book takes place at a youth tennis academy in Arizona. The people there play war games on tennis courts, takes various mind alternating substances and explore many aspects of their life.

A significant section of the book also takes place in Boston. We also hear a long discussion about Alcoholics Anonymous in Boston.

Parts of the book feel based on his experiences. Some parts are quite good. Other parts are offensive. The book is in the "future" but very rooted in the 1990s when it was written. Some parts of culture were carried to their absurdist limits (corporate naming rights for everything), while other parts seem to still be stuck in the 90s. It feels like something that would be fun writing, just not so fun reading.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Bell Jar

I read a biography of Plath before reading The Bell Jar. It is difficult to determine where real life ends and fiction begins. It feels the book is a "pure" autobiography. Names of others have been changed to allow her to put out her true feelings without regards to the actual facts. 

Bell Jar is the first person story of Ester Greenwood as you transitions from a happy girl turning into a sad woman. She worked hard in school and was able to get a great scholarship to college. By continuing to work hard in college, she got a highly coveted internship. However, once she got that, she realized this was not the life she wanted to live. However, she had no idea what life she did want to live. She tried dating. Nothing was meaningful. She held out a bit of hope for a childhood friend. Alas, she was dejected when she learned he had lost his virginity to a slutty waitress. She tried suicide. She ended up in a mental hospital. She later decided to lose her virginity in a rather meaningless way. She didn't enjoy it and hemorrhaged, necessitating a trip to the ER.  One of her friends that appeared to be doing better did commit suicide. 

Her life was a cautionary tale. One can appear to follow all the walls to make it through our educational institutions but be ill-prepared for the life afterwards. It is also an indictment of the quality and benefits of our mental health facilities. 

Breath from Salt: A Deadly Genetic Disease, a New Era in Science, and the Patients and Families Who Changed Medicine Forever

Breath from Salt is a very detailed exploration of the history, pathology and treatment of cystic fibrosis. The cystic fibrosis foundation has focused on funding basic research and drug discovery for the disease. This is a model that is essentially required for rare diseases. There is not enough money involved to justify pharmaceutical company expenditures. (Even with the foundation bankrolling most of the research, the pharmaceutical company had to spend plenty to run the clinical trials, and ended up charging high prices for it.)

Cystic Fibrosis is caused by a genetic mutation that primarily occurs in those of European ancestry. Carriers have one copy of the gene. If two carriers have a child, there is a one in 4 chance that the child has cystic fibrosis. Treatment has led to a gradual increase in life expectancy.  A few decades ago, most would die in early childhood. Today, most live to adulthood.

The disease typically leads to decreased lung functionality and damage to the lungs. If it is identified early, treatment can be started, thus delaying irreversible long damage. Treatments have included antibiotics, physical therapy and other types of treatment. The disease can be identified by a "sweat test". (Those with the disease have high salt content.) Genetic tests can also be done to identify the gene. (This can identify carriers as those with the condition, and can be done prenatally.)

There are a large number of different mutations. The book details the research and production of a drug that can treat a mutation held by only 4% of those with the disease. The drug is extremely effective and can help those to live a relatively normal life. Further work was done to attempt to help those with other mutations. (They have been effective, but not nearly as effective for the 4%.) The foundation has helped to enable studies by having a registry of all those with cystic fibrosis and their mutation.

One thing that jumped out in the book was that it seemed all the principal players had a lot of money. Perhaps that was the key to success. It was a rare disease, but it hit some people with deep pockets. (Though some of them only achieved the wealth after dealing with the disease.) They were able to drive the work to help find the cure. 

I wonder what the future will be. Today there are genetic tests to be able to identify the potential for the disease before conceiving. There are also prenatal screens for it. Will the well-to-do now be able to avoid it altogether, slowly pushing the demographic income range? Will the royalties the foundation is collecting enable it to be largely self sufficient? Will gene therapy enable a cure? It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System - Revised and Updated

Stuffed and Starved is foremost an activist book that seeks to improve the condition of the participants in the global food chain. The food chain has a large number of producers and large number of consumers. However, the bottleneck is the small number of big companies in the middle. Food processing and food retailing are dominated by a few very large companies. Often most of the money spent on food goes to these middlemen. These companies have also helped to encourage monoculture in the name of efficiency.

The author spends a significant amount of time detailing the suicide epidemic among farmers. They are stuck in a spiral of debt to increase yield. This can be followed by a quest for even more production even as prices decline. He also covers small scale "communes" that seek to have more control of the system itself. He advocates a food system where there is more local production and more of the money goes back to the farmers. However, he does give acknowledgement to the challenges. Many of the poorest consumers are living in food desserts where there are few options for quality food. What remains is usually the most shelf-stable, calorie-dense junk food. They would like to have more food options.

Globalization has also played a role in the food industry. After World War II, the United States fed much of the world. The country provided "food aid" dominated by the primary agricultural products (soybeans, corn and wheat.) This encouraged these people to adopt the cheap American staples (such as bread) over local foods. As food aid dropped, there was still demand for the American foods. In Mexico, the US won on price. The subsidized factory-farmed corn was much cheaper to produce than the small scale corn production in Mexico. This hurt the local farmers, even while the cost of tortillas did not significantly fall for most consumers. 

Agriculture giants also provide seed, fertilizer and pesticides. Genetically engineered crops have built in resistance to pesticides or pests. However, they are also costly and must be purchased yearly. The companies encourage the use of their products rather than focusing on soil fertility. This may provide short term gains, but also creates a dependence with some long-term negative impacts.

Farm workers are also some of the lowest paid workers. Most of the major fruit and vegetable crops in the US are picked by low wage migrant workers. However, the crops go through multiple layers of middlemen before they make it to consumers. More direct farm to consumer produce can help, but it is challenging. The author proposes activism and high wages for all. But will it scale? Are people ready to pay more for a more diverse, yet limited supply of food?

Wild Robot

A cargo ship loses some of its cargo in a big storm. This cargo includes a few advanced robots. Most of them are destroyed. However, one makes it to the island unharmed. It is inadvertently turned on by some animals. The robot then becomes part of the animal culture. It learns how to speak the language of the various animals. Soon it becomes friends with the other animals and one of the most respected beings on the island. It also finds an orphaned gosling and becomes an adoptive mother. The robot has many adventures on the island. The now grown up goose eventually joins the migration where it sees humans, other robots and guns. This comes in handy when other robots come to take the wild robot back. The animals manage to get together and defeat the other robots, leaving the wild robot with some tough decisions.

This book is targeted at children/ middle grade readers. It is set in a near futuristic society. However, there are plenty of ecological and sociological themes. By keeping an open mind, the robot is able to adapt to the situation and live in peace with the animals. The animals still maintain their natural predator/prey behaviors. However, the robot does enforce occasional truces in times of need. There is also the case of a fish who is "stuck" in the dammed up portion of the river. He is mean to the beavers. However, it turns out he just wanted to go home. The robot helps to create peace by helping the fish get back to its family.

Moll Flanders

Moll Flanders has been attributed to Daniel Defoe, the 18th century author of Robinson Crusoe. However, it was never published under his name. Instead, it was published as if it were a memoir of a woman with the pseudonym of Moll Flanders. She has quite the life. Her mother was a criminal, and she was raised as an orphan. She is married multiple times, has a large number of children, travels to the new world and back and gets involved with a criminal element. She realizes that men are often after marrying somebody with money, so she feigns being a wealthy heiress, but in the process, also plays hard to get, getting men to commit to marry her even if she does not have money. In one case, it turned out that both she and her husband were pretending to have great wealth. In another case, she married a man and then went off to join him in the new world. Once there, she met his mother. She later discovered that his mother was also her mother, and that they were half-siblings. She struggled to eventually find a way to break off the marriage without getting anybody in trouble. When joining up with the criminal element, she keeps telling herself she will shortly leave, but keeps with it until she is finally caught.

Moll Flanders is an independent woman a few years ahead of her time. She carves out her full independence while adhering to the restrictions placed on women during her time. Her life comes across as almost believable, yet filled with just enough hyperbole to push it over the edge.

Abe: Abraham Lincoln in His Times

Abe is a biography of Lincoln that takes great effort to place him within his time. There are aspects of his life that may seem peculiar to us today that would have been relatively normal in his day. There are also "normal" parts of his life that were quite exceptional in his time.

The book portrays Lincoln in a positive light. He grew up in both slave and free states. He was poor, but not too different from most of the frontier settlers of his day. He was a storyteller and a jokester and worked hard to be a peacemaker and get along with everybody. He was strong and engaged in plenty of manual labor, while also being an avid reader. 

It was not uncommon for people to have seemingly incompatible views. Many ardent abolitionists did not actually want to live with the freed slaves. They would prefer to keep them out of their communities, or set up their own societies in Central America or Africa. There were also many preachers who would preach temperance and the evils of alcohol, before returning home to get drunk.

Lincoln rarely drank, yet he was not a complete teetotaler. He believed in the equality of opportunity for everybody, yet was not an ardent abolitionist. (He was even ahead of his time on women's rights.) He saw the arguments of people on both sides. He would structure his speeches to provide his view without offending others 

Entertainment options were also different in the day. Political speeches and campaigns were a prime source of entertainment, and may be accompanied by alcohol. Theaters when available would draw a crowd. (And Lincoln was quite fond of the theater.) A good storyteller like Lincoln could also attract local attention.

The racial and slavery issues of the day were complex. Both the south and the north used the framing documents of the United States to advocate their cause. The north eventually enlisted a large number of freed slaves in the military. However, these troops were paid less than their white counterparts and usually led by white leaders.

The government of the day was much simpler than it was today. Each state had much greater autonomy. Lincoln had started a number of progressive policies that seem common today. Income tax for the wealthy and national parks both had their roots under Lincoln.

Lincoln sought out compromise. His former rivals were often given key places in his administration. He even reached across party lines. the Republican party of the day was a new, radically progressive party. Just aligning himself with the party set him apart. He adopted much more centrist policies and worked to get things done in a way that could make all happy.

His family life had played a roll in his political experience. He had family members that fought on both sides of the civil war. His wife came from a well-established family and had strong ambitions of her own. He suffered from the loss of many family members.

What would have happened to the United States if Lincoln had not been assassinated? Would he have struggled with the challenges of reconstruction? Or would he have helped unite the country in a way that would have eliminated the need for future civil rights movements? We will never know.