Democracy was achieved by such a long, arduous and heroic struggle that it can feel embarrassing - even shameful - to feel a little disappointed by it.
There is something compelling and exciting about cities that makes many of us love them. They are full of bright attractions, intriguing strangers and endless, unimaginable possibilities.
The system we know as Capitalism is both wondrously productive and hugely problematic. On the downside, capitalism valorises immediate returns over long-term benefits.
For hundreds of years now, humans have tended to believe that the best sort of government is one which leaves its citizens maximally 'free'.
It is almost universally agreed that education is hugely important. But our large commitment to there being good schools ironically has not been matched by concern about what they are for.
Modern societies are deeply invested in the idea of big, glamorous weddings. We have evolved highly-detailed collective ideas about what a proper wedding is supposed to be like.
For the average citizen of a developed nation, the World Cup generated a deeply unusual emotion. For a few weeks, we were allowed to feel happy about something other than 'me'.
Serious people are used to thinking badly of 'celebrity culture' and serious news outlets are even more badly disposed towards stars like Justin and Miley, Tamara and Paris.
In a surprise move, the Netherlands' top cultural institution, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, has been turned into a giant therapeutic centre designed to help people with emotional issues.
The world needs changing in all sorts of urgent ways: the great question is how to do it. The most popular and appealing answer has long been that one should try to write a book.
Most people nowadays believe that you can't really say in any definitive way what is beautiful or ugly. The idea that taste is relative has deep roots in modern culture.
President Obama has been in the Netherlands for a major international conference focused on two of the world's great crises: nuclear proliferation and the drama in the Ukraine.
We believe in censorship. Sometimes. Of course, that's a very unpopular view these days; censorship looks small-minded, defensive and the enemy of a hard-won freedom to express oneself without interference.