Hedgehog Review
The rush to further embrace technology unleashed by the Covid-19 pandemic is at last triggering sober second thoughts. In Hedgehog Review, Christine Rosen argues that despite Zoom’s advantages we still long for face-to-face human connections. Seeking wholesale solutions to human problems in technology, she argues, exacts a high price.
Hedgehog Review
The rush to further embrace technology unleashed by the Covid-19 pandemic is at last triggering sober second thoughts. In Hedgehog Review, Christine Rosen argues that despite Zoom’s advantages we still long for face-to-face human connections. Seeking wholesale solutions to human problems in technology, she argues, exacts a high price.
Israel Hayom
Last week’s storming of the U.S. Capitol by mainly Trump supporters has given the left a further pretext for consolidating its political power and cultural dominance. In Israel Hayom, Caroline Glick argues America is entering a frightening and unparalleled state of “total political correctness”.
Wall Street Journal
Russia’s expansionist appetites are growing and neighbouring nations are growing increasingly alarmed. After decades of neutrality, Sweden is dramatically increasing its military budget and strengthening its ties with Washington. In the Wall Street Journal, Michael M. Phillips and James Marson examine the Swedes’ strategy for resisting a Russian incursion.
The American corporate media virtually built their business models around the script that President Trump is a proto-dictator. Glenn Greenwald, writing in Substack, thinks this nonsense serves to distract the American public from the real menace: creeping authoritarianism infecting the media, education and overweening tech monopolies.
National Review
More than four years after the Brexit vote, Great Britain has finally, formally left the European Union – yet managed to ratify a new trade agreement. In National Review, John O’Sullivan explains why the Remainers (“Rejoiners”?) are likely to fail, for Brexit is as close to irreversible as any decision can be in a democratic society.
The Spectator
Machine-learning algorithms are complex mathematical formulae that carry out their human-written code. But to the militant liberal mind, algorithms are potentially iniquitous and must be “cleaned up” to favour particular groups. In The Spectator USA, Pedro Domingos argues that the “debiasing” of algorithms makes machine learning and all its benefits impossible.
Junk Science
The actor James Woods, playing a police captain in a TV series some years ago, once declared (I quote from memory): “You’d think being right when everyone around you is wrong would get old. But you know what? It doesn’t!” Watching the ludicrous left being ludicrously wrong gives me a similar feeling. This story in Junk Science reviews 10 predictions for climate disasters in 2020 where the climate just wouldn’t play along. We might as well laugh. What else can one do when reading about how the only things quietly disappearing from Glacier National Park are the signs warning that the glaciers will disappear?
Minding the Campus
The Anthropology Students’ Association at McGill University demands that academic freedom be subordinated to the advancement of “social justice”. In Minding the Campus, Professor Emeritus at McGill Philip Carl Salzman examines the new “enlightened” anthropology. Its aim, writes Salzman, is not to investigate cultures empirically but to confirm a priori truths.
Today’s gentility eschews allegiance to an actual place and instead proclaims solidarity with moralistic programs, such as opposing racism. Matthew Crawford, writing in UnHerd, examines the gentlefolk’s moral ecology. A politics of repudiation, writes Crawford, distinguishes the select few from ordinary citizens – explaining and excusing their contempt for them.
Gatestone Institute
China has become the world’s largest movie market and the Chinese Communist Party is flexing its muscles, demanding Hollywood movies toe the line. Writing for the Gatestone Institute, Judith Bergman reports why we are unlikely to see American movie moguls and celebrities speak truth to Chinese power.
Spectator USA
Calls for restrictions, mask mandates and lockdowns arise mostly from the political spectrum’s left end. These are the same people who only recently demanded civil liberties and the right to protest. Writing in Spectator USA, Megan Murphy maintains that authoritarianism doesn’t always arrive in the manner we expect.
Colonialism is back in fashion. This time, the colonial powers seek to control minds rather than geography. EU bureaucrat now routinely penalize and suppress wayward ideas. Writing in Spiked, Frank Furedi tells how the EU is attempting to overthrow values and norms that European nations have cultivated over centuries.
Spectator UK
Cambridge University has rejected a speech code that would have demanded “respect” for all views. Professors voted heavily for an amendment that all ideas and beliefs be “tolerated”. Nick Cohen hails this huge victory in Spectator UK and reminds us why free speech is the foundational value of universities and democracies alike.
The Spectator U.S
Covid-19 has led to worldwide economic disaster. The virus’s originator – China – will be the only major economy to do well in 2020. Douglas Murray, writing in The Spectator US, thinks that because the Communist Part of China has done so much damage, it’s only fair that China disburse global reparations.
City Journal
Cant is insincere expression of concern for others or denunciation of contrary opinion. It is harmful, infectious and when caught by enough people can destroy free thought, free speech, intelligent discourse and the very ability to recognize – and live in – reality. The eternally-immune Theodore Dalrymple diagnoses our current contagion in City Journal.
The American Mind
The chasm between “red” and “blue” states in the U.S. continues to widen. Contending and mutually incompatible understandings of the American experience vie for political ascendancy. Writing in The American Mind, the pseudonymous “Rebecca” argues that avoiding violent conflict may well depend on Americans considering a radical new political arrangement.
The Spectator U.S.A
The woke mob has long gunned for Jordan Peterson. The latest would-be censors are weepy Random House Canada employees who want to stop the sequel to Peterson’s wildly successful 12 Rules for Life. Cockburn, writing in Spectator US, wonders why the Wokesters then seem okay with their employer publishing Hitler and Nietzsche.
American Greatness
The Rockefeller Brothers helped launched the environmental movement 50 years ago by embracing the Club of Rome’s no-growth dogma. Today America’s corporate aristocracy advocates radical climate policy. In American Greatness, Joel Kotkin counsels that reducing human consumption spares the wealthy while handing the bill to the poor.
City Journal
Joe Biden’s advisors claim to be following “the science” as they demand hard lockdowns while ignoring mounting evidence showing the steep costs and horrific harm caused by shutting down the economy. In City Journal, John Tierney marvels at how closely science aligns with the political interests of the Democratic Party.
Tablet Magazine
One way to look at FDR’s New Deal, Michael Lind argues in Tablet, is as the Protestant Social Gospel’s transformation into a science-inspired progressivism, launching a permanent class of technocratic experts. Lind asserts that today’s woke orthodoxy is the Yankee managerial elite’s attempt to maintain power in unusual times.
The Spectator USA
Lenka Vrablikova of Leeds University contends that the ingestion of forest mushrooms causes right-wing populism. In a competing theory, Rod Liddle in the Spectator USA proposes that populism is caused by ingesting the manifest idiocies of third-rate academics and concluding that our universities are being overrun by the clinically insane.
We want pharmaceutical companies to crank out new drugs and sell them cheap. But can we have both? Tom Chivers, writing in Unherd, asserts that paying market prices encourages the R&D that delivers new drugs and, eventually, brings down costs for all, including those in the poorest countries.
Law & Liberty
Western nations’ technocratic approach to Muslim extremism holds that intervention by psychologists and other specialists can achieve “deradicalization”. Yet Kujtim Fejzulai, the terrorist responsible for the recent outrage in Vienna, easily deceived the experts. In Law and Liberty, Theodore Dalrymple argues that 21st century technocrats are no match for a 7th century mindset.
Spiked Online
The American election has exposed elite opinion-makers as an out-of-touch clerisy. The managerialist class of pollsters, media, big tech, and academia grossly underestimated Donald Trump’s popular support. Spiked editor Brendan O’Neill suggests that ordinary people still have their votes despite the scorn of the woke elites.
The world lost a profound moral voice with the death of Jonathan Sacks, Orthodox rabbi, philosopher, theologian, author, and politician. In his prodigious career he argued for a political morality transcending contractual obligations and based on “we” over “I”. Giles Fraser, writing in Unherd, tells why Sacks’ influence spread far beyond the Jewish community.
The Unherd
Western civilization embodies Enlightenment ideals, including France’s version in The Rights of Man. These are held to be universal truths applicable to all people and nations. Tom Holland, writing in Unherd, examines the tensions between the secular ethics of the modern French state and Islam, which melds the religious and secular.
The New Criterion
U.S. law prohibits funding universities that discriminate by race. The federal Department of Education thus grew alarmed when Princeton University’s president confessed that “Racist assumptions…remain embedded in the university structures.” In The New Criterion, Roger Kimball argues that the quest for equality has led to a fanaticism that betrays the university’s mission.
The Critic
Nations everywhere have allocated massive health-care resources to preventing Covid-19 deaths – most of which involve elderly people with significant comorbidities. Writing in The Critic, Ian Kidd and Matthew Radcliffe contend our Covid fixation has eclipsed other, equally fatal and important healthcare issues. They urge us to regain a sense of proportion and context.
The Spectator
Once known for its civility and liveability, Portland has become a harrowing first-world slum, as authorities stepped aside and antifa activists and assorted anarchists amuck. Douglas Murray, writing in the Spectator, wonders why America is allowing one of its major cities to be brought low by a pack of predatory beasts.
The Quadrant
Best known for 1984 and Animal Farm, George Orwell (1903-1950) was also a champion of the working classes, railing against “that dreary tribe of high-minded women and sandal-wearers and bearded fruit-juice drinkers who come flocking towards the smell of ‘progress,’ like bluebottles to a dead cat.” A trio of writers in Quadrant attest to Orwell’s lasting influence.
The Claremont Review of Books
Americans can dislike Donald Trump all they want but, Michael Anton warns, Trump’s the only thing standing between the Democratic Party and its project dystopia. In his review of Anton’s brand-new The Stakes, Angelo Codevilla agrees. Writing in The Claremont Review of Books, Codevilla predicts a Democrat victory would trigger changes aimed at keeping conservatives out of power forever.