Current Affairs

Lessons from the Civil War for America’s Fractured Present: Part Two

Timothy William Waters— Why Remembering the Civil War Matters: Talking about Belonging in America How we remember the Civil War matters for thinking about our increasingly fragile union today—how we talk about identity, belonging, and leaving. The war seems to offer an obvious moral model. But that solution dissolves when

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Lessons from the Civil War for America’s Fractured Present: Part One

Timothy William Waters— What We (Mis-)Remember about Our Reasons for Fighting America is now so polarized that serious people wonder if the country will hold together. The Atlantic devoted its December issue to “How to Stop a Civil War”—and the Atlantic, founded in 1857, covered the actual Civil War. As

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The State of Democracy

Thomas N. Mitchell— Democracy is at a particularly critical and fascinating point in its history. The collapse of communism in 1989 brought a wave of euphoria among proponents of democracy, and extravagant references to the end of history and of mankind’s journey towards a universally acceptable political order. To many,

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Climate Change Street Fighters

Michael Mendez— No other politico in Washington, DC, has moved the issue of climate change to a national platform of prominence so quickly as Democratic Congress member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Her “Green New Deal” is a radical proposal to decarbonize America’s economy while tackling inequality. It has stirred passionate reactions from

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My Doctor Told Me the Cost of the Appointment . . . Give or Take $200!

Peter A. Ubel— I had a persistent skin condition, and my dermatologist thought I should see someone with more experience caring for that kind of lesion. So, I went to a new dermatologist—I will call her Dr. Freezeitoff. At the front desk, the clerk reminded me that Dr. Freezeitoff wasn’t

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Refugees in World War II and Today

Marion Kaplan— As I sit here, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve 2019, reading the news on various websites, I am drawn to the plight of refugee children at our southern border and those already in the U.S. In Mexico about 200 young children sleep in tents near the

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A Lesson for American Foreign Trade with China

Matthew Lockwood— In 1792, the Emperor of China sent a letter to George III of Great Britain. Beneath the surface of diplomatic politeness, it was a gallingly peremptory, even dismissive note, especially for a missive sent to the ruler of an Empire upon which the sun was just beginning not

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Why Do Markets Collapse?

Robert Skidelsky— Macroeconomics is about money and government, and their relationship. The unsettled questions in macroeconomic policy stem from disputes about the part money plays in economic life, and the part government should play. For 250 years, the dominant view of the economic profession has been that money is of

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Is Congress Broken?

Benjamin Ginsberg and Kathryn Wagner Hill— America’s congress is often castigated for being slow and unproductive, a victim of cumbersome procedures and partisan intransigence. One frequently cited book called Congress the “broken branch” of government. Another well-known volume, sharply critical of the Congress, called for “a new political order in

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The Dogs of War

George Magnus— When Mark Antony utters the words ‘let slip the dogs of war’ after the assassination of Julius Caesar, he is thought to be referring to devices in civilised societies that allow or inhibit war. For a long time, China and the US have had spats over specific trade

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