July 2017: Linkoln Memorial

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.”

Maybe this is what all the bots will eventually be for.

Rondon of Caracas Chronicles in Politico from April, on the narrative coherence of post-truth politics vs. the messiness of reality.

“Here is a secret that is not a secret. Here is a curse that is not a curse. Revolutions are not redemption. They will not save you, just as ours did not save us back in 1896, or 1986, or 2001.”

On the Twitter mob and the poverty of left-wing discourse.

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.

Who was Moonlight Maze?

In Kazakhstan, a switch from Cyrillic to Latin script is a lot of hassle and expense to no obvious purpose.

Twitter is definitely bad but I will never forgive Bret Stephens for making me read the phrase “naked, grunting brain” with my own two eyes.

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.”

Foa and Mounk rebut the haters.

The Opsec Fail of the Month Award goes to [drumroll] Leonid Brezhnev.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s