Big Ideas Go Beyond Politics

The jury consists
of human beings. We live– you know, one
of us lives in China. Some of us live here
in the United States. Some live outside the United
States, but not in China, in Europe. But we’re bound to be affected
by the occurrence of ideas in our own societies
and in the world. And so there’s no doubt,
I’m sure, that in some sense the general political
climate in the world today, complex as it is,
plays a role in our thinking. And shapes our sense of what
it’s important to respond to. And therefore, shapes our
notion of what’s relevant. But the way in which
deep ideas come to be important in
the world isn’t really through partisan politics,
in some narrow sense, or through national politics. It’s the kind of deep way that
Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s work has shaped our society by
taking this very abstract idea of gender equality
and showing what it means in practical life. People may disagree
about particular cases. And different political
parts of the spectrum may have different
views about that. But that is very important. And that that is
positive is something that I think most people
would agree about. And certainly, everybody
in the jury thinks that. And we think that it’s
worth acknowledging, not in order to make some
narrow partisan political point. Not to make some
point about the left or the right or the center. But to make a point
about how our lives are changing in deep ways that are
affected by powerful ideas. There are many
prizes in the world. This is the one that aims to
combine the thought that ideas matter with the thought that one
of the important ways in which they matter is by going out into
the world and changing things. And that that is hard work,
that getting that right, doing that involves
deep thinking. And Ruth Bader Ginsburg did– with colleagues– did
some of the deep thinking that has reshaped our world.

Maurice Vega

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