DEMOCRACY IN CRISIS
The excellent journalist Linton Besser has a superb piece on how money has degraded democracy and trust in democratic institutions around the world. Fintan O’Toole’s brilliant essay on how the Republican party is dead, but re-animated by the spirit of nativism that must inevitably turn toward authoritarianism.
The fantasy of nationalist retreat and the perceived weakness of globalisation. Strangely, Europe’s conservatives are now aligning themselves with the Democrats. At the National Review, tearing the electoral fraud argument apart.
SECURITY IN THE HOME AND ABROAD
As Mexican police open fire on women protesting the country’s horrific rate of femicide, Germany is experiencing its own crisis of the mass incidence of domestic murder — and a seeming unwillingness to punish the perpetrators appropriately. The US media keeps getting terrorism in France — and maybe France itself — wrong.
And where are France’s friends in its fight against radical Islamism? In the US, your credit rating and your security clearance are increasingly linked. Meantime, the appalling World Health Organization is blocking people from even mentioning Taiwan.
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Genuine conservatives should accept climate change, and the need for market solutions to address it. Henry Chappell lays down in chapter and verse a forensic case for conservatives to embrace real climate action. The brilliant Celeste Liddle on higher education in Australia. It’s not just the Morrison government’s risible, ridiculously expensive “sunscreen” COVIDSafe app that’s in trouble: people around the world dislike tracing apps.
There are ways to remedy this, argue two scientists (my take: this misses the point that western government have repeatedly shown they will abuse privacy for their own ends and don’t deserve trust under pretty much any circumstances).
IT’S ALL AYN RAND-STYLE FUN AND GAMES UNTIL A GRIZZLY EATS YOU
On a lighter note: libertarians took over a New Hampshire town with the goal of making it a utopia of minimal government. Then the bears came. And kept coming. You couldn’t write a moral fable about libertarian fundamentalism better than what happened in Grafton, NH.
What to make make of Aaron Sorkin’s rather pat but otherwise very good Trial of the Chicago 7? (That’s the one with Borat as Abby Hoffman, Kendall Roy as Jerry Rubin and Thomas Cromwell as their lawyer.) And a new biography of mid-20th century Labour giant Ernest Bevin moves Tory grandee Ferdinand Mount to extraordinary praise of a figure for whom he feels the description “Labour’s Churchill” is insufficient. Japanese horror stories — “fresh and new” to western readers — dominate Anglophone books published about Japan.
THE FEBRILE JOYS OF LATE STAGE CAPITALISM
A small cruise line decided to resume cruising in the Caribbean. You’ll never guess what happened… This is a tough read: the US made the same mistake we did in privatising nursing homes. The results — even in states with lower levels of COVID — have been horrific (and anyone who claims minimum staff ratios aren’t crucial to care is either wilfully ignorant or blatantly lying).
More bad news for Smoco and his merry band of denialists: the US Federal Reserve warns that climate change is a threat to the financial system, while the UK Chancellor — a Tory, remember — has required all major companies to disclose their climate risk.
Who said social media was useless and toxic? A Twitter account is specifically dedicated to researching whether you can pet animals in video games. And step forward the Assassin’s Creed franchise, which makes a specialty of pettable animals amid its stealthy slaughter.