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Wisdom of Crowds

America the Restless

This week, we had writer Nick Burns on the podcast. Nick's recent essay, "Why Live in America?" prompted Shadi to write his Monday Note for July 4th. We delve into the ways America is different than Europe, for good and for ill. Size, geography, culture, dynamism—all these twist and disfigure many European imports when they land on our shores.

When educated Americans pine for a more European lifestyle, are they simply reflecting their own class biases? Is the building of high speed rail really a sign of decline? And are democratic values incompatible with the modern university?

We then turned to foreign policy. Nick's recent article in the New Statesman questioning the core assumptions of realism was our jumping-off point for a broader discussion of morality in foreign affairs, and the role of the public's sentiments in states' decision-making. Shadi and Damir of course go at it on the question of a values, with Nick caught in between.

Is arguing for human rights a universalist claim? And is arguing from the vantage point of neutrality its own kind of moralism? And was the 19th century French reactionary Chateaubriand the world's first neocon?

Required Reading:

  • The Red Scare podcast.
  • The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy, by Christopher Lasch (Amazon).
  • "New York's Hipster Wars," by Nick Burns (The New Statesman).
  • "America's Medieval Universities," by Nick Burns (American Affairs).
  • "What Realists Get Wrong About Putin," by Nick Burns (The New Statesman).
  • The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation, by Rod Dreher (Amazon).
  • Sam Haselby's Twitter account.
  • "Unlearning the Language of Wokeness," by Sam Adler-Bell (New York Magazine).
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