Wednesday, April 28th, 2021
(The irritatingly insouciant) Lionel Shriver notes that there will likely be unpleasant geopolitical consequences to wokeness in that Western civilization’s illiberal adversaries will interpret the bewailing self-castigation coming from American and British elites as evidence of actual decline — correctly or not (though I suspect correctly).
From the banned books department (the author’s When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment cannot be found on Amazon), on the battiness of trans ideology.
I came to this article after seeing the phrase “gender assigned at birth” on my child’s school acceptance form and googled for when “assigned” became the de facto usage even here in the seemingly more sensible UK instead of, say, “registered”.
Monday, March 29th, 2021
Strong medicine, this, and brave of Tablet to publish it. Dubbing deplorables as The Smiths, Angelo M. Codevilla beseeches regular Americans to simply disengage from the new American oligarchy.
And in the same publication, a transcription of an interview with the caustic political philosopher, The Codevilla Tapes.
Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021
Wednesday, January 27th, 2021
Like Anna Karenina’s brother, it’s not that the United States media has a bad memory, rather it has acquired an excellent forgettery. Victor Davis Hanson remembers nonetheless.
Saturday, January 9th, 2021
A great grounds-eye view of the upset in Washington DC, “What I Saw at the Capitol Riot” by Declan Leary in The American Conservative.
To my left I hear “We don’t need Gitmo,” and I’m not quite sure what’s meant by it. From the same general area comes “I’ll donate a vaccination—.223 hollow point.” A little less ambiguous. Somebody with a megaphone is in the middle of a speech: “If you stand for nothing, you gotta stand for something.” Close enough. A young woman with a bullhorn of her own lets out a lone motherfucker. An older man looks at me with a smile and asks if she kisses her mother with that mouth. A few seconds later the same voice drones at nobody in particular: Pussy, pussyyyyy, pussy, pusssaaaaaaayyyyyy.
Monday, November 30th, 2020
What a perfect, impassioned argument by Scottish, sorry, British broadcaster Neil Oliver in praise of keeping Britain. For him it is, correctly, not a confused affair of the dismal science but a clear celebration of the happy heart.
Wednesday, November 18th, 2020
The 2020 US election is apparently not yet over. “It is indeed a very foul mess,” states Sidney Powell, a former federal prosecutor now Trump legal team member, whom people speak of respectfully in the comments. “It is farther and wider and deeper than we ever thought but we are going to go after it and I am going to expose every one of them.” [Update 2020 Nov 23: So much for that! “Trump Legal Team Distances Itself From Sidney Powell After Unproven Claims” in The Daily Wire.]
Friday, November 13th, 2020
Amusing comments at Marginal Revolution on Matthew Yglesias’s migration to Substack.
Sunday, November 8th, 2020
Seeming US President-elect Joe Biden “has said openly for a long time that “he will go back to the nuclear agreement,” warns Israel’s Settlements Minister and long-time soothsayer Tzachi Hanegbi. “I see that as something that will lead to a confrontation between Israel and Iran.”
Wednesday, November 4th, 2020
“How Israel Helped Win the Cold War” by Joshua Muravchik in Commentary Magazine. Great piece, great service. How I wish every American who writes anti-Israel comments in online threads all over — remember the Liberty, stop making us fight your wars for you, etc — would read this — very slowly.
Thursday, October 29th, 2020
Live by the CoC, die by the CoC; pardon my schadenfreude over posts like this where people who eagerly support the marauding bull get tangled in it themselves and even then continue to grovel their ongoing support for it.
Wednesday, October 28th, 2020
A few days before the US Presidential election, “Hell, Yes” by Conrad Black. I agree with everything except his cavalier approach to the coronavirus; it being a mortal threat to a mere 1% of Americans is still 3.5 million people.
Tuesday, September 29th, 2020
What a shame that this seemingly literate musing on Stormfront in The Boys dives off the deep-end into America-reviling revisionism:
The Nazis actually praised the American system and copied a lot of its most atrocious ideas. So when the U.S. government welcomed Nazi scientists into our space program, it was an unsurprising extension of that connection.
And regarding Homelander:
He is misogynistic, homophobic, xenophobic, racist, pro-military, pro-American imperialism, and naturally, anti-abortion. Oh and he’s also a stone-cold sociopath and mass murderer.
A psychopath to be sure, but whence the rest? Homelander seems only cynically a flag-waver/wearer. The author does makes her “progressive” position clear by referring to “pro-military” and “anti-abortion” as evils. I guess I’d been bamboozled earlier by her nice summation of Nietzsche; whoever could do that would not, I presume, be so deeply idiotic.
The author might wish to consider even just for a moment the two greatest wars the United States ever fought — the Civil War and World War Two. Me waxing portentous: if this is normative discourse for geek outlets such as Nerdist, then we must worry for liberal civilization. [You don’t say, me…]
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020
The New York Times abandons key claims of the 1619 Project, as reported by the World Socialist Web Site — this stuff it seems is too kooky even for them.
In a rather fine essay for Commentary Magazine, Hussein Aboubakr writes:
Palestine was never merely a disputed geographical territory, it was a claim to the absolute fulfillment of the Islamic political vision, an eternal moral truth, secularized in Arab nationalism and sanctified in Islamism.
He then proceeds to show us a hopeful vision for what the post-Palestine Middle East might look like senza this murderous Arab dream.
Sunday, September 20th, 2020
I do consider Jonah Goldberg overrated, but he nails it regarding the US DoE calling out Princeton’s woke bullshit:
Princeton: Take our confessions of systematic institutional racism seriously but not literally.
Sunday, September 13th, 2020
This piece in The Federalist articulates how the American Left is projecting its own insurrectionism, nicely comparing their rhetoric to Southerners’ threats in the 1860 election should Lincoln win.
As author John Daniel Davidson writes, what they say “tells us less about what is likely to happen in the real world and more about the mendacious worldview, toxic prejudices, and treasonous imaginings of the elites themselves.”
Monday, August 31st, 2020
UAE president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan signs an order cancelling the boycott of Israeli goods. May they acquire a taste for Osem soup almonds and Beit Hashita pickles!
Saturday, August 15th, 2020
Commentary Magazine‘s Abe Greenwald speaks to the current revolutionary moment:
Because the United States is fundamentally good, most Americans may, in time, become circumspect about tearing it all down.
Thursday, August 13th, 2020
It’s been a while since I’ve found use for the New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman. But this latest one is like the Friedman of yore, before degenerating into partisanship and pandering: he warns the United States that a polity such as Lebanon where everything is political cannot hold (never mind that the politicality of everything is a philosophical touchstone of the side to which he panders).
Thursday, August 6th, 2020
Dave Seminara writes “When Your Favorite Companies Go Woke” in The Wall Street Journal (paywall).
I feel similarly regarding the homepage banners at Node.js (“#BlackLivesMatter”) and Linode (“Black Lives Matter. Linode is committed to social justice and equality.”), both of which I rely on for my work. There are substitutes for Linode, but none for Node.
The Daily Mail has 8:38 minutes of police bodycam footage of the George Floyd arrest.
On Vitamin D and Covid-19 [via Marginal Revolution]. If there’s any truth in the conclusion here — that vitamin D deficiency worsens Covid-19 deadliness by an order of magnitude — then surely it is criminally negligent to not be running public awareness campaigns encouraging people to take vitamin D supplements — especially for darker-skinned citizens, adapted to block out sunlight and consequently vitamin D, and especially in sunlight-challenged locales.
Sunday, July 26th, 2020
Friday, July 24th, 2020
If we stopped testing now we’d have very few cases — or any.
US President Donald J Trump
Tuesday, July 21st, 2020
All races are equal but some are more equal than others. The Associated Press will not be capitalizing the word “white” when referring to race, but will do so for “black” and “indigenous”. This was quite the decision. I wonder if they’d do similarly within the Jewish context, ie “ashkenazi” vs “Sephardic” Jew.
Monday, July 20th, 2020
For those who care to be reminded, Edward Feser writes in The American Mind a straight-shooting review of Plato’s political thought.
The first thing to keep in mind in order to understand Plato’s analysis of democracy is that he is not primarily concerned with procedural matters, such as the way in which people are elected or policies decided upon. What he cares about, again, is the character type that predominates in a society.
Sunday, July 19th, 2020
Victor Davis Hanson’s tone has finally changed to righteous anger:
An individual of unknown appearance may kind of, sort of, be shattering our bedroom window and could be pondering a felonious infraction. So could you send out a community facilitator to inquire?
Friday, July 17th, 2020
From The Atlantic to Silicon Valley — is the tide turning? Paul Graham coins “Orthodox Privilege”.
Thursday, July 16th, 2020
Thank you, The Atlantic, for daring to publish John McWhorter’s eminently sensible review of Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility. My faith is somewhat renewed.
McWhorter holds back more than on the freewheeling The Glenn Show, where he calls it “one of the worst books ever written”.
Wednesday, July 15th, 2020
“There is no linguistic justice without racial justice,” as quoted in The Linguistic Society of America’s open letter to call to remove Steven Pinker.
What a fakakta — China must be licking its chops as we stand around pissing on each other’s piss.
Sunday, July 5th, 2020
We are the nation that gave rise to the Wright Brothers, the Tuskegee Airmen, Harriet Tubman, Clara Barton, Jesse Owens, General George Patton, the great Louie Armstrong, Alan Shepard, Elvis Presley, and Mohammad Ali.
Yet the media called the speech “dark and divisive”.
Tuesday, June 30th, 2020
Amalgamated from a dialog in the comments at a Marginal Revolution post “How to Live in a World Gone Mad?”:
The mob is saying silence is violence. Funnily enough, the mob also says speech is violence. They also say violence is not violence.
Fun, fun, fun!
Thursday, June 18th, 2020
Monday, June 15th, 2020
Capping off a triumvirate of essays I’ve come across in the past few days that elucidate the current moment is Ross Douthat on the successor ideology.
Sunday, April 19th, 2020
Friday, April 3rd, 2020
Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life
Nusseibeh’s central thesis (well, secondary thesis, the primary implicit one being that the Palestinian people should all along have appointed both his Dad and then him their oh-so-reluctant leaders) I too have felt almost in my bones: that Israelis and Palestinians are natural allies. Or, more accurately, that there’s a natural affinity which will enable us to be powerful allies if and when we ever get over our admittedly fundamental conflict.
Tuesday, March 10th, 2020
Benjamin Schwarz decries the University of Chicago’s English Department for toeing the woke line, despite the Chicago Principles (it’s great to see my alma mater’s font again, and saying such things).
Wednesday, December 18th, 2019
“A proper understanding of biblical and rabbinic theology might identify a solution to Israel’s constitutional vacuum“. By Michael Wyschogrod in First Things 
Counterintuitive arguments from the redoubtable Ambrose Evans-Pritchard that Boris’s ascension reduces the plausibility of Scottish secession from the UK.
Saturday, December 14th, 2019
“Rising Inequality and the Changing Structure of Political Conflict” — the inaugural James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Lecture in Economic Inequality at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics by Thomas Piketty (March 30th, 2018).
Labour is now populism for the lightly-educated middle-classes, argues John Gray with stonking cogency — and, it turns out a month later at the December 2019 election, accuracy. Until 2008 the Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics, Gray has been referred to by one Nassim Nicholas Taleb as “prophetic”.
Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019
With hundreds shot dead, Iran’s Islamic Republic is undergoing its worst unrest to date.
Wednesday, November 27th, 2019
Quite the overview: “The Real Class War” by Julius Krein, editor of American Affairs.
The real class war is between the 0.1 percent and (at most) the 10 percent—or, more precisely, between elites primarily dependent on capital gains and those primarily dependent on profes sional labor.
Sunday, October 20th, 2019
Dr Alex Joffe notes that while the West’s working classes are still relatively sensible, “in Western social and information environments saturated with virtue-signaling, [grafting BDS onto contemporary concerns and movements is] having some success with members of the image-conscious, predominantly white middle class.
Wednesday, October 9th, 2019
I wish there were something to disagree with in this piece reviewing the fiasco that is Brexit. We see now that due to the United Kingdom’s very make-up — a dominant England, a smaller Scotland, and a Northern Ireland with inherent connections to the Republic of Ireland — Britain needs to be in the EU arguably more than many other European countries do. Surely some game theory simulations would have borne out the current impasse.
Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019
There is no climate emergency, states the European Climate Declaration, organized by Amsterdam-based Climate Intelligence Foundation (CLINTEL) and undersigned by “over 500 knowledgeable and experienced scientists and professionals in climate and related fields”. This on the day the media provided extensive coverage of a speech at the UN by a 16-year-old climate activist. Interestingly, the country with the most signatories is Italy, with 113.
Tuesday, October 1st, 2019
“There has not in modern American history been such a preposterous excuse for a threat to the presidency as the Ukraine affair,” opens the splendiferous Lord Black of Crossharbour. My only qualm in the piece is his characterization that the Democratic candidates “shrieked”; this lazy hyperbole detracts. And also perhaps that the case against Clinton was even more preposterous.
Wednesday, September 25th, 2019
Mototaka Nakamura, who has published a score of climate-related papers on fluid dynamics, has written a small book in Japanese and English entitled Confessions of a Climate Scientist: The Global Warming Hypothesis is An Unproven Hypothesis arguing that we lack the tools to forecast temperature. He writes:
In climate research and modelling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.
Sun, ice, oceans, clouds: none are being modelled with any approximation to reality, he writes.