Quotable (#216)


In order to win the war unleashed by the Leninist revolution, Western capitalism fomented fascism against the working class. […] We know the story of what followed: Soviet communism and Anglo-American capitalism were forced into an alliance. Then democracy defeated the Soviet Union.

This might be the most garbled historical narrative I’ve ever heard.

(Piece as a whole is worth a read, though.)

Quotable (#199)

Why did the Industrial Revolution happen in Europe, rather than China? Joel Mokyr thinks fragmentation was the key:

In Europe, no one ever succeeds in unifying it, and you have continuous competition. The French are worried about the English, the English are worried about the Spanish, the Spanish are worried about the Turks. That keeps everybody on their toes, which is something economists immediately recognize as the competitive model. To have progress, you want a system that is competitive, not one that is dominated by a single power. […] I think that is the major difference. It isn’t just that China doesn’t have an Industrial Revolution, it doesn’t have a Galileo or a Newton or a Descartes, people who announced that everything people did before them was wrong. That’s hard to do in any society, but it was easier to do in Europe than China. The reason precisely is because Europe was fragmented, and so when somebody says something very novel and radical, if the government decides they are a heretic and threatens to prosecute them, they pack their suitcase and go across the border.

Unity is a decelerator.

The Road to Trump

reconstructed by Timothy Shenk, very persuasively. There can be little doubt that it gets the story basically right.

This passage sounds more encouraging than it is, when pulled out of context:

“The conservative movement’s mission has become providing comfortable professional livelihoods to literally hundreds of people,” David Frum told me recently. Although this behemoth has proved effective at turning a profit, the intellectual returns on the investment have been paltry. “Conservatism was a lot more creative and effective when it had less money,” Frum said. […] This narrowing of intellectual ambitions has coincided with a crisis of authority. When asked to name the dominant theme of the right’s intellectual history since George W Bush left office, conservative journalist Michael Brendan Dougherty responded with one word: “disintegration”.

Disintegration would be good.

Twitter cuts (#120)

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