Late Monday links

March 28, 2022

Links for Monday!  Nothing special--just some interesting stuff.


Good idea: post less, chat more, for a better internet experience.


Interesting on “the demographic cliff” facing American higher ed.  TLDR: it’s complicated.  And many effects are going to be very local. I’d also say the rise of a global market for American higher ed is a compensation, so long as we do not screw this up with nativism and bellicose chest-thumping. Which, tbh, we’re always very prone to do.


This is a helpful little bit of philosophy on the “Covid jerk."


A fascinating idea: the dangers of "escalation aversion."


This: Fukuyama’s always been more right than his critics.  He’s wrong in interesting ways, but he’s far more right than the twitterati wish him to be, and far more thoughtful than them, as well.  His recognition that liberal political orders exist to host illiberal moral communities is right—and that, in a way, liberal political orders require illiberal moral communities.

         The question is, can liberal political orders stay, as it were, political not metaphysical?  That’s the real question here.  Can liberal political orders interact with the thicker lived realities of its citizens so that, across generations, those members have the kind of energies that liberalism simultaneously requires and works to constrain?

         Then again, the fundamental appeal of liberalism in the modern age has always been Mrs. Thatcher’s argument: there is no alternative.  We may blanch at that—I do—and we may contest the way that Thatchers of the world draw the borders of what is “acceptable” liberalism, but the smugness that it suggests has as its generative impulse a recognition that the various alternatives have all failed. 


Interesting piece on how the struggle over racial, religious, and ethnic equality and recognition is playing in Europe, especially among an older generation of intellectuals who are voluble in declaiming trends they gather under “wokeness” and “cancel culture”.  Mostly about France and the UK; I wonder about other places, like Spain and Italy and Germany, and east of there as well.


I’ve come to really respect and listen to Helen Thompson from the podcast she ran with David Runciman, Talking Politics.  In this piece, from January, she offered a sobering picture of what’s going on in the EU after Merkel.  Short story? Nada. I think it would be interesting to reconsider this now.


“There is a Europe of the mind: of Beethoven, summer holidays and the smell of coffee. Then there is Europe as it actually functions today — the Europe of Mario Draghi. A creature of the EU, understand him and you understand how to make friends in Brussels; how to win the most important battles; and how to be, among 27 countries, really European. But, above all, understand Draghi and you understand how power works in the EU. He has built a technocratic Europe and risen to its heights.”

Good picture of Mario Draghi. 


Interesting piece gathering some background on the “secular surge” and what is happening at present—a couple of polls from last summer seemed to point in different directions, this discusses them.