Current Affairs

Book of Collateral Damage

Sinan Antoon— A drop of sweat fell on the edge of the piece of paper and I stopped reading. His handwriting was neat and confident. The ink was black, maybe from a ballpoint pen. The words were perched like birds on lines that looked like small sky-blue threads running across

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Rethinking the History of Religious Freedom

Robert Louis Wilken— In the Supreme Court case Minersville School District v. Gobitis, 1940, that upheld compulsory pledging of allegiance to the U.S. flag in schools, Justice Felix Frankfurter, writing for the majority, said: “Centuries of strife over the erection of particular dogmas as exclusive or all-comprehending faiths led to

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Art in Nazi Germany

Michael Kater— Much has been made in recent weeks in the international press of German chancellor Angela Merkel ordering pictures by Modernist painter Emil Nolde to be removed from her offices. There was also mention of an exhibition in Berlin featuring Nolde’s works, which, according to the New York Times

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Of Holy Rivers and Human Rights: Protecting the Ganges by Law

Sudipta Sen— On March 20, 2017, the highest court in the state of Uttarakhanda, India declared the river Ganges (known as the Ganga in India) and its main tributary Yamuna as rights-bearing “living entities,” effectively granting them the legal status of personhood. Uttarakhanda is a northern Indian state that borders

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The Working Class Has the New Bourgeoisie Running Scared

Christophe Guilluy— The working class, wearing yellow vests, has just won a decisive battle: it has at last managed to make itself visible.  The gilets jaunes are not a traditional social movement that pits workers against employers or left against right.  For four months now, the young people, the older

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Life Goes On

Shing-Tung Yau— My father’s death hit me hard, throwing me into an unfamiliar state in which I felt a weird mixture of things, all unpleasant, all at the same time. A powerful sadness welled up in me from a deep place I’d never accessed before. I felt a dull ache

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An Ending: India’s Railway Children

Jonah Steinberg— Nobody was tending to the body, which was arrayed on the tracks in at least three recently-separated pieces, its vessels, sinews, and bones protruding, trailing everywhere. The legs were torn off—the severed femurs sticking jaggedly out—and with them, the garments, so that the victim lay naked and exposed.

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Can Human Beings Understand the Economy?

Pascal Boyer— It is in the nature of human beings that they create societies. Philosophers have known and said that much for millennia. These days, scientists can paint a detailed picture of how evolution by natural selection made us social animals, providing us with those capacities and preferences that makes

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She Didn’t Start It: Jane Ellen Panton, a Victorian Marie Kondo

Sarah Bilston— Marie Kondo seems to be everywhere these days. Home-dwellers across the planet debate whether the objects in their home “spark joy” and throw out those that don’t — after thanking them for their service first, as per a key KonMari™ precept. Kondo’s website proudly asserts “She started it,”

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Ep. 72 – Threat-Mongering in America

The greatest threats to America are often overblown, and the world is a much safer place than we’re led to believe. How does this happen and what can we do about it? Subscribe:Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Spotify | Soundcloud