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Category: Education

Virtue Signaling: Humanism and Politics

James Hankins’s Virtue Politics puts the politics back into humanism in an extraordinarily deep and far-reaching way. He does not deny that the whole cultural movement of humanism ranged much more broadly than any specific political project. Learning to write elegant Latin hexameters was not the conduct of politics by other means…

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Soulcraft in a Complex Society

In recent years, conservative commentators have criticized how the individualism of the neoliberal age has undermined the moral and ethical foundations of community in America. Yuval Levin’s 2014 essay “Taking the Long Way” argues that too many people on both the right and left are committed to a thin vision of liberty, defined simply as…

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Fear and Loathing in Mosul

This past December I stood on a rooftop in the center of the ancient Nabi Jarjis neighborhood in Mosul. Coalition bombing runs during the October 2016 to July 2017 battle to retake the city from ISIS had left large sections of the area leveled. The home I stood on had only recently been reconstructed…

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Missionaries of Humanity: Popular Confucianism in China

In a state where one may not criticize the regime, one learns the art of the unsaid. In China, as in the premodern West, a citizen can complain freely about bad roads or corrupt officials, but it is considered seditious to criticize the form of government. If a citizen does criticize…

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The Real Class War

Since at least 2016, the divide between the “working class” and the “elite” has been considered a defining issue in American (and Western) politics. This divide has been defined in occupational terms (“blue collar” versus “information workers”), geographic terms (rural and exurban regions versus major urban cores), and meritocratic terms (non-college-educated versus those with elite…

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America’s Drift toward Feudalism

America’s emergence in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries represented a dramatic break from the past. The United States came on the scene with only vestiges of the old European feudal order—mostly in the plantation economy of the Deep South. There was no hereditary nobility, no national church, and, thanks to George Washington’s modesty, no royal…

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How to Relink Seven Billion People?

World population has increased from one billion a century ago to roughly seven billion now, with rates varying greatly between different countries, tribes, and religious groups. Many of today’s unsettled political, economic, and environmental issues—the latter reflected in the recently published UN report stating that human encroachment on habitats may lead to the extinction of…

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The Financialization of the American Elite

On October 1, 2018, the newly christened Klarman Hall opened to much acclaim on the campus of Harvard Business School. The stunning $120 million building houses a conference center as well as a gleaming auditorium built around a 32-million-pixel, 1,250-square-foot video wall and a state-of-the-art, modular design that seats up to a thousand attendees. To mark the opening, the school held a daylong series of speeches and lectures, headlined by the building’s namesake and one of the school’s wealthiest living gradu­ates, billion­aire investor Seth Klarman…

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Rotten STEM: How Technology Corrupts Education

The U.S. education system spent more than $26 billion on tech­nology in 2018. That’s larger than the entire Israeli military budget. By one estimate, annual global spending on technology in schools will soon total $252 billion. But the technology pushed into schools today is a threat to child development and an unredeemable waste…

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Houellebecq’s Unfinished Critique of Liberal Modernity

For a brief moment, just before the end of Michel Houellebecq’s latest novel Sérotonine, a ray of hope seems to galvanize its protagonist. For a short while he seems to recover his lust for life. Having languished for years without a sense of purpose…

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