Unending rioting, looting, and general urban mayhem have all but destroyed Portland, Oregon’s downtown core and brewed a toxic human ecology. In Quillette, longtime Portland resident Michael J. Totten tells of his beloved city’s sad decline and his reasons for moving.
Unending rioting, looting, and general urban mayhem have all but destroyed Portland, Oregon’s downtown core and brewed a toxic human ecology. In Quillette, longtime Portland resident Michael J. Totten tells of his beloved city’s sad decline and his reasons for moving.
Parents across England rejoiced as schools reopened this week. While Sam Leith and his wife did their best to home-school their offspring, in Unherd, Leith acknowledges a real sadness born of knowing that it was anything but ideal and that the government-caused pandemic disruption will affect his children for many years.
Spectator UK
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have significantly upped the stakes in the competition for The World’s Most Annoying Couple™. The “privacy-seeking” ex-royals have bared their souls in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. Their grievances are many. In Spectator UK, Melanie McDonagh casts a gimlet eye over their incendiary accusations.
Brexit has crystallized the question of what rights and duties accrue to EU member states. The issue remains fiercely contested and divisive. In Unherd, Larry Siedentop argues that the liberalism that long provided the EU’s raison d’être may no longer be viable.
New Georgraphy
Joel Kotkin thinks it’s no longer the traditional standard of Left vs. Right that defines the political landscape. In New Geography, Kotkin argues that the real divide is between those residing in the tangible world of making, using and growing real things and those floating in the incorporeal world of media and digital transactions.
Spectator US
Nancy Pelosi wants an inquiry into the January 6 riots in Washington, D.C. Roger Kimball concurs. In Spectator US, Kimball argues that such an exercise must address the discrepancies between media coverage of the Capitol Hill riot and their virtual silence during last summer’s “mostly peaceful” burning and looting of American cities.
The Critic
The cancellation of celebrities who fall afoul of the Zeitgeist continues. From sex scandals to accusations of moral turpitude to political heresy, actors can find their careers ended in a flash. In The Critic, Alexander Larman suggests that fallen Hollywood idols still have one path to rehabilitation: big box-office receipts.
Spectator US
The Justin Trudeau government recently announced it will prioritize “racialized and marginalized communities” for receiving the current trickle of Covid-19 vaccinations. In Spectator US, Cockburn marvels at the irrationality of a clearly racist policy that will only raise the death rate for everyone.
The Guardian
Few American politicians have greater self-regard than the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo (and the competition is steep). Following shocking revelations of corruption and mismanagement in his state’s pandemic response, demands for his resignation are increasing. Writing in The Guardian, David Sirota documents a modern morality tale of pride going before a fall.
City Journal
The science curriculum is now used to endorse the zealotry of the eco-doomsayers. We humans are destroying the planet, students are told, and their task is to save it. In City Journal, Shepard Barbash argues that science education should focus on providing students the tools and knowledge to explore the natural world.
The dream of California as a land of sunshine and endless opportunity has collapsed into neo-feudalism, albeit one with better marketing. Disparities between rich and poor have never been greater, even as the ruling elite destroys the ordinary citizen’s quality of life. In Unherd, Joel Kotkin documents the state’s decline.
New York Post
French President Emmanuel Macron is rejecting the mainly American “woke” notion that all history is to be viewed through the lens of race. Such an agenda “Gnaws at national unity and attacks France’s intellectual and cultural heritage.” In the New York Post, Glenn H. Reynolds gives the dapper Frenchman a thumb’s-up.
The Atlantic
The San Francisco School Board has decided to rename 44 schools that were named for individuals who transgressed today’s wokester orthodoxy. In The Atlantic, Gary Kamiya chronicles the absurd spectacle of a self-righteous “intelligentsia” purging the past’s sinful characters and resetting our calendar at Year Zero.
Law and Liberty
In his 1994 book The Revolt of the Elites, historian Christopher Lasch excoriated the American ruling class for its smug decadence and urged a return to the first principles of democracy. Writing in Law and Liberty, Rod Dreher concludes that the disintegrating forces Lasch identified have only worsened.
The Spectator
The concentration of wealth and power in America has never been more pronounced. But for Dominic Green, the rich-poor chasm is more than economic. In the Spectator US, Green argues that a seemingly unbridgeable gap between a modern-day version of nobility and peasantry has destroyed the American democratic compact.
Daniel Greenfield
It has become hard to dispute that the Big Tech oligarchs are deliberately misusing their technological monopoly to censor voices that don’t conform with their progressive ideology. Writing on his blog, Daniel Greenfield thinks that our Silicon Valley overlords seek nothing less than the erasure of conservatism as a movement in America.
Among the Biden Administration’s first acts was an executive order that effectively erases women’s sex-based rights. In Spiked, Jo Bartosch argues that in attempting to please the Democrat Party’s radical left, Biden is enabling an ideological hydra with far-ranging consequences for everything from bathrooms to prisons and women’s sports.
City Journal
Perhaps the most far-reaching damage to the American polity from the Trump era is the final destruction of journalism’s traditional ideals of objectivity and fairness in reporting the news. Writing in City Journal, Martin Gurri argues that the mainstream media have adopted a “post-journalism” business model: acting as unapologetic advocates for the various creeds, dogmas, and ideologies of the left.
Law and Liberty
Universities are locked in a struggle between preserving their historical role as educational institutions committed to truth-seeking and a new mandate that subordinates truth to the values of social diversity. The University of Chicago and Northwestern provide case studies from both sides for Law and Liberty’s John O. McGinnis to report on what is at stake.
Skepticism entails suspending judgement until we have sufficient evidence. Until recent days, every thinking person valued it as a necessary corrective for popular orthodoxies and enthusiasms. Brendan O’Neill, writing in Spiked, thinks vilifying and shaming those skeptical of lockdowns is akin to a new witch hunt.
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.
Twitter has permanently banned Donald Trump, a serving American President and recipient of the second-largest number of votes ever garnered by a presidential candidate. In Unherd, Ed West notes that Twitter indulges vast amounts of extreme incivility, incitement to violence and even racial hatred – provided it furthers the progressive agenda.
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.