R.I.P. The Weekly Standard

"In the Before Time, The Long Long Ago, keeping an eye on rightward opinioning was good for sharpening counter-arguments. Now I appreciate anti-orange conservatives as one appreciates well-armed, battle-tested holdouts trying to survive a zombie apocalypse. The numbers aren't on their side, but the fact that they are the final few is a prima facie case that they weren't wrong on everything."

The AXis 12/15/18: Aristocracy Vs. Meritocracy

"It’s obvious that the old American aristocracy had a much better track record. It’s not even close, really. The old American aristocracy was in control during an unparalleled period of American ascendance. It presided over the greatest economic expansion ever, the creation of a massive and growing middle class, the spread of democracy to other parts of the globe, general peace in its spheres of influence, institutions such as the Marshall Plan, United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Bretton Woods Monetary System, and the creation of “the liberal world order.” And though this group of elites came close, they didn’t blow up the world. However, determining just how much credit the old American aristocracy deserves for these developments is tricky."

The DeX-Files: Conspiracy Flavor-Aid

"The American Left uses “conspiracy theory” to dismiss news and narratives it doesn’t like much in the way the American Right uses “fake news.” Other eras would’ve considered this a bug, but at this moment it’s a feature of the mainstream and alternative news and opinion cycle. Aristotle’s observation that “the more we know the more we don’t know” helps to explain why too often conspiracy theories fill in the gaps of what we don’t know...and sometimes of what we think we know. The prevalence of conspiracy theory in a time of unparalleled information abundance reveals deep anxieties that Enlightenment inspired values such as truth and opinion supported by facts and argument aren’t working as well as they once did. This examination of different ways to think about conspiracy theory is an effort in the fight against the most unfortunate trend in American intellectual life."

The CruX 12/04/18 — In The Dust Of Our Planet

"Social conservatives need to maximize turnout from the base and expand the map by stressing the softer side of the faith agenda: education reform, immigration and criminal justice reform, and anti-poverty measures,” said Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, which has extensive outreach to conservative evangelicals in battlegrounds across the country."

The AXis 12/03/18

"We live in a strange time in which technical expertise and political animus are both in abundance. Indeed, both are distributed along ideological vectors in such a way that the weaknesses and failures of each are still considered acceptable to their affinity groups when compared their polar opposites."

The CruX 11/25/18 — Ultraviolence

"The genius of the new far right, if we could call it “genius,” has been their steadfast determination to blend into the larger fabric of society to such an extent that perhaps the only way you might see them as a problem is if you actually want to see them at all."

The DeX-Files: A House Of Cards Collapses

"The opacity of Claire's inner life over the first five seasons of House Of Cards served a singular and focused purpose. It was a lens. Through it we understood the lure of power politics in virtually every Machiavellian aspect of life. We accepted seizing and wielding power in a republic as a talent for which the most well-adapted are also the most successful and therefore the most deserving. We also squirmed as this austere dharma made meritocracy self-justifying."

The CruX 11/17/18 — All Your Engines

“Because the industry has such a voracious need for capital, and capital costs money, fracking could not have taken off so dramatically were it not for record low interest rates after the 2008 financial crisis. In other words, the Federal Reserve is responsible for the fracking boom.”

RIP Stan Lee

"Stan Lee used myth and history to show the best AND the worst of us. He gave nerdy kids like me in the 70s who bought Marvel back issues from second-hand stores for a quarter, read them over and over voraciously, and realized superheroes for us now are what gods once were for the ancients that we didn't have to stand by in the face of evil, or even in the face of the everyday banalities that make us small, petty and cruel."

The Politics Of Cruelty And Cruelty As Politics

"“White identity policing” is an instance in which a white person reports the actions and behavior of a black person to the police that (s)he would not report were the same actions those of  a white person. I’ve suspected that the frequency and tenor of white identity policing is a knock-on effect from the curious way that Black Lives Matter receded from the spotlight of a very specific cultural, political, and media moment."