James Palmer thinks Western pundits are using China as a projection screen:
… because China is so vast, its successes can be attributed to whatever your pet cause is. Do you oppose free markets and privatization, like John Ross, former economic policy adviser for the city of London? Then China’s success is because of the role of the state. Do you favor free markets, like the libertarian Cato Institute? Then China’s success is because of its opening up. Are you an environmentalist? China is working on huge green-energy projects. Are you an energy lobbyist? China’s building gigantic pipeline projects. Are you an enthusiast for the Protestant work ethic, like historian Niall Ferguson, who describes it as one of his “killer apps” for civilizations? Then credit China’s manufacturing boom to its 40 million Protestants — even though they’re less than 5 percent of its 1.3 billion people.
Daniel McCarthy asks:
Is the argument that secessionism is generally good because the American Revolution was good, or is it that the American Revolution was good because secessionism generally is? There’s a difference here between constitutionalist libertarians, who take the former position, and radical libertarians, who take the latter.
Charles Murray on the primordial diversity of colonial America:
Historian David Hackett Fischer’s magisterial Albion’s Seed describes how the British came to America in four streams. From East Anglia came the Puritans seeking freedom to practice their religion. They settled first in Massachusetts. By the time of the Revolution, they had spread throughout New England and into the eastern part of New York and had become known as Yankees. […] From the south of England came the Cavaliers, who had lost out during the English Civil War, accompanied by large numbers of impoverished English who signed contracts to work as their indentured servants. The first wave settled in Virginia’s tidewater, and the second around the Chesapeake Bay. They spread southward through the tidewater regions of the Carolinas and Georgia. […] From the North Midlands came the Quakers, who, like the Puritans, were seeking a place to practice their religion unmolested. They settled first in the Delaware Valley and then spread throughout eastern and central Pennsylvania, with some of them drifting southward to Maryland and northern Virginia. […] The fourth group came from Scotland and the northern border counties of England. Some of them arrived directly from their ancestral homelands, but the great majority arrived in the New World after an extended stopover in the north of Ireland — hence the label by which we know them, the Scots-Irish. They landed in Philadelphia but quickly made their way west on the Great Wagon Road to settle the Appalachian frontier running from west-central Pennsylvania to northeast Georgia.
The four groups did indeed share a common culture insofar as they had all come from a single nation with a single set of political, legal, and economic institutions. But our topic is cultural diversity as it affects the different ways in which Americans think about what it means to “live life as one sees fit.” That consists of what I will call quotidian culture: the culture of everyday life. In terms of quotidian culture, the four streams shared the English language, barely. They differed on just about everything else, often radically.
Murray, of course, sees “living life as one sees fit” in contemporary America as something close to a lost cause.
If this analysis is reliable, it’s a seriously big deal. (Shale oil production at a break-even price of US$60 per barrel, and heading downwards.)
Some background here.
A reliable source of concentrate contrarianism.
Funny, but mostly breezily deep™:
(This tweet could easily support a reverential 20,000 word commentary — some other time.)
Jehu has a witty post up asking “Why can’t communists be more ‘business friendly’?” Among the gems:
… as a radical, you cannot credibly compete against bourgeois politicians by promising to be even more friendly to business than that politician. Who is dumb enough to believe that promise coming from a communist?
There’s an intriguing-angled obit at cryptocoins news.
Zero Hedge also puts together an informative retrospective.
The rise of the Islamic State was clearly anticipated by the American security establishment — it seems — in a manner that can only be considered remarkably relaxed:
According to Brad Hoff, a former US Marine who served during the early years of the Iraq War and as a 9/11 first responder at the Marine Corps Headquarters Battalion in Quantico from 2000 to 2004, the just released Pentagon report for the first time provides stunning affirmation that:
“US intelligence predicted the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), but instead of clearly delineating the group as an enemy, the report envisions the terror group as a US strategic asset.”
Anybody shocked by this probably hasn’t been paying serious attention.
This might be the most brutal optical illusion I’ve ever seen:
Shenzhen rises. Global Shanzhai. A giant (but mediocre) FT special report on Shanghai.
Anomie in Japan. A deadly nap in North Korea. Hersh swears by his story.
Complexity economics (plus). What is money? Non-economics.
Singularity — don’t hold your breath. A step towards brain mapping. Accelerated genomics. Crypto-frenzy and schizo-security. Robophobia. Retrocomputing. Social media polarization. After the cookie.
Evolutionary heresy, today. DSM-5 as OCD. Experimental music (plus, math and music).
Wark on Pasquinelli. Marxian eschatology. Weak cosmists. The ‘crawling horror’ of kludge. Refactored agency. Banana media.