I think I’m going to start opening all my link roundups with yet another scary survey.
“The most crucial variable predicting the success of a democratic transition is the self-confidence of the incumbent elites. If they feel able to compete under democratic conditions, they will accept democracy. If they do not, they will not. And the single thing that most accurately predicts elite self-confidence, as Ziblatt marshals powerful statistical and electoral evidence to argue, is the ability to build an effective, competitive conservative political party before the transition to democracy occurs.”
Rondon of Caracas Chronicles in Politico from April, on the narrative coherence of post-truth politics vs. the messiness of reality.
Long before Junior’s emails upended all our theories, Julian Sanchez suggested that collusion may be the wrong question. His central question— why in hell would the Russians tell the campaign?— is even more interesting now.
History tells us that we should head for the bunkers when the White House gets obsessed with Thucydides. Everything can be found in The History of the Peloponnesian War, and that’s exactly the problem (Pericles’ funeral oration isn’t about democracy, though: it’s about Athenian exceptionalism).
A technologist explains his choice to leave government service.
In Kazakhstan, a switch from Cyrillic to Latin script is a lot of hassle and expense to no obvious purpose.
In honor of Independence Day, David Frum plays Variations On “American Exceptionalism.”
I’m on one of my occasional Raymond Chandler binges right now, and while I was out running the other day I was thinking about how the discontinuous narratives in noir fiction match real life much better than the elaborate constructs one gets in the more traditional mystery novel. I was going to write something, but I found this essay on Farewell My Lovely at the LARB instead.
From all the way back in 2003, Slate’s compilation of the ‘poetry’ of Donald Rumsfeld is… well, anyway, read it.
Your captcha is part of a coming epistemological crisis. Magritte ain’t seen nothing.
Through requirements that social media companies to combat extremism on their platforms, governments are slowly but surely forcing the privatization of online counterterrorism. The new arbiters of extremism are the low-paid, undertrained, and mostly unaccountable contractors on the moderation staff. What could possibly go wrong?
“…after more than 70 years of great-power peace and a quarter-century of unrivaled global supremacy, Americans have lost their sense of tragedy. The U.S.-led international order has been so successful, for so long, that Americans have come to take it for granted. They have forgotten what that order is meant to prevent in the first place: the sort of utter breakdown of the international system, the descent into violence and great-power war, that has been all too common throughout human history.”
The Opsec Fail of the Month Award goes to [drumroll] Leonid Brezhnev.