Mrs T and sympathy: Francis Wheen reviews Thatcher’s Britain: The Politics and Social Upheaval of the 1980s by Richard Vinen, No Such Thing as Society: A History of Britain in the 1980s by Andy McSmith, and Rejoice! Rejoice!: Britain in the 1980s by Alwyn W Turner. Yes, we are all in this together: Since it was first published, The Spirit Level has won admirers including Ed Miliband and David Cameron, but also provoked sharp attacks — Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett explain why its ideas about social equality still have weight. The deserving or undeserving poor: Can the welfare state ever distinguish between those who deserve help and those who do not? This is a dangerous time for Britain’s economy — and a wide consensus supporting cuts does not mean they are the right policy. Farewell welfare state: John Gray on the coalition. From Dissent, Jeffrey Williams on the squeeze on British higher education. The costly new idea of a university: With tuition fees about to triple to make up for the withdrawal of state funding, it is time to reread Coleridge, Bentham and Mill. It is said that the prospect of prison was never daunting to a man who had been to a proper English public school. No more raised hands to answer questions, and a short, sharp burst of PE first thing every day — It's school with a difference. Is it time for atheist schools? Francis Beckett outlines his proposal for Britain's first avowedly humanist state school (and a response).
A new issue of the Journal of Third World Studies is out. Alex M. Thomas (Hyderabad): Economists, Listen to Feyerabend. “A Guantanamo on the Seas”: Eugene Kontorovich has struggled to return the outlawry of pirates to the legal agenda. A review of Shock of Gray: The Aging of the World's Population and How it Pits Young Against Old, Child Against Parent, Worker Against Boss, Company Against Rival, and Nation Against Nation by Ted Fishman. Truth to power: James Howard Kunstler explains how the world is going to get bigger and rounder again. From Too Much, a review of The Trouble with Billionaires by Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooksl and over across the Atlantic, reformers have begun a year-long probe that has the fire-power — and credibility — needed to challenge the sacred cows of the global executive compensation status quo. A review of Roosevelt's Purge: How FDR Fought To Change the Democratic Party by Susan Dunn. Fun but utterly fallible: Miller-McCune.com’s resident skeptic, just as you might expect of a Scorpio, will have no truck with horoscopes or astrology. From World Affairs, Michael V. Hayden on intelligence reform; and R. James Woolsey, Rachel Kleinfeld, and Chelsea Sexton on the case for a distributed grid and a low-oil future. Paradoxical Truth: Paradoxes have been confounding minds since Aristotle, but we ignore them at our peril. Robert Egger on 5 myths about hunger in America. Utne Reader profiles Bill McKibben, voice of reason, man of action.
Radha D'Souza (Westminster): Three Actors, Two Geographies, One Philosophy: The Straightjacket of Social Movements. From Adbusters, a special issue on revolution. Despairing of conventional politics, militant peace activists are turning to radical tactics: An interview with William T. Hathaway, a Special Forces combat veteran turned peace activist. Be the Media: A look at the current state of activist media and the work of Franklin Lopez. The Internet is no substitute for person-to-person organizing, but it is a tool that can be used by activists — and it is potentially a rather powerful tool. A book salon on The Progressive’s Guide to Raising Hell: How to Win Grassroots Campaigns, Pass Ballot Box Laws, and Get the Change We Voted For by Jamie Court. A review of Seeds of Change: The Story of Acorn, America's Most Controversial Antipoverty Community Organizing Group by John Atlas and Blessed Are the Organized: Grassroots Democracy in America by Jeffrey Stout (and more). A review of Dupes: How America's Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century by Paul Kengor. From The Scavenger, advertising’s agenda of white heteronormativity: In just one and a half minutes, film director Baz Luhrmann’s Incredible: Australia ‘Come Walkabout’ ad manages to be racist and sexist; and if you haven’t been diagnosed with a neural "condition", such as such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism, aspergers syndrome, depression, attention deficit disorder and so on, you benefit from neurotypical privilege. Here is a cybernetic hypothesis about liberalism: It's a brain disorder, a confusion between right and left hemispheres.
A new issue of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report is out. From Forbes, an interview with WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange. From UN Chronicle, a special issue on Education for All. Lou Friedman on why human spaceflight is worth the cost. Against obscurantism: Argentinian philosophy professor Horacio Potel on the fight against restrictive copyright laws that are criminalising teaching and research. Is a left-right antiwar coalition possible? How Apple is like Old Hollywood: Tim Wu on his book The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires. The world’s first living buildings: A new generation of buildings is upending what you thought you knew about construction. From Science Creative Quarterly, Michale Ferro on boiling lobsters and other things people do; and up or down? Martin A. Andresen on an efficiency-based argument for optimal toilet seat placement. From Low-tech Magazine, automata have been built for more than 2,000 years, but contemporary artists have elevated the craft to a higher level — aside from their emotional value, automata offer a glimpse of a future, post-oil technology. A review of Alasdair Macintyre's Engagement with Marxism: Selected Writings 1953-1974. Can Salon.com, deep in the red, keep the conversation going? From The L Magazine, Crystal Gwyn on the Late-Night Tribes of NYC: Stalking local youth, one party at a time. Think you can make David Brooks laugh at himself in The University of Chicago Magazine’s column-parody contest? He’ll be the judge of that.
Geoffrey P. Miller (NYU): Logos and Narrative. From Verbum et Ecclesia, Daniel P. Veldsman (Pretoria): How "Religious" is Religion and How "Natural" is Naturalness? On the Question of the Naturalness of Religion; and Jacobus W. Gericke (NWU): The Hebrew Bible in Contemporary Philosophy of Religion. From Political Theology, a review of Created Equal: How the Bible Broke with Ancient Political Thought by Joshua Berman. Are more Bible versions bad for the Good Book? Intellectual Poison: Benjamin Wiker on how Thomas Hobbes ruined Biblical scholarship. A review of Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel by Alexandre J. M. E. Christoyannopoulos. A review of The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask (With Answers) by Mark Mittelberg. A review of Mark Johnston's Saving God: Religion After Idolatry. A grand unified theory of man: In the academy, the real argument over science and religion is not about God but rather about how social and natural scientists understand people. A review of The Religion Virus: Why We Believe in God: An Evolutionist Explains Religion’s Incredible Hold on Humanity by Craig James. Survival of the Godliest: Does strong religious belief provide an evolutionary advantage? S(h)aving religion with Occam's Razor: A comparison of atheist and religious morality. Paul Young on the nature of information, a doorway to a postreligious world. What is gained by framing research on religion, secularity, and modernity in terms of “multiple” or “contending” modernities, and what “new paths for constructive engagement” might such a frame afford?
Jeremy Waldron (NYU): Dignity, Rights, and Responsibilities. Lawrence O. Gostin (Georgetown): The Right to Bear Arms: A Uniquely American Entitlement. Michael J. Perry (Emory): The Fourteenth Amendment: What Norms Did "We the People" Establish? Peter J. Smith (GWU): How Different are Originalism and Non-Originalism? Wilson Ray Huhn (Akron): Constantly Approximating Popular Sovereignty: Seven Fundamental Principles of Constitutional Law. Tom Ginsburg (Chicago): Written Constitutions and the Administrative State. Will Tress (Baltimore): Lost Laws: What We Can’t Find in the United States Code. A look at the world's most baffling new laws. Since 1789, constitutions worldwide have come and gone — why has the U.S. Constitution endured? A review of A Republic of Statutes: The New American Constitution by William N. Eskridge, Jr. and John Ferejohn. A review of Scorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR's Great Supreme Court Justices by Noah Feldman (and more). Nelson Lund on a very streamlined introduction to Bush v. Gore. The Supreme Court didn't just let corporations in with Citizens United — it created a new kind of money broker. Watch as we make this law disappear: How the Roberts Court disguises its conservatism. Long on words but short on guidance: The Supreme Court led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has been criticized for the quality of its judicial craftsmanship. A review of The Conservative Assault on the Constitution by Erwin Chemerinsky. The introduction to The Limits of Constitutional Democracy, ed. Jeffrey K. Tulis and Stephen Macedo. A review of The Living Constitution by David A. Strauss. Without artifice: Justice William Brennan's watchword was human dignity, and to protect it he interpreted individual rights expansively.
The latest issue of Sapiens is out. Stas Getmanenko (SMU): Utopian Thought and the Law of Nations. Brad deLong on the retreat of macroeconomic policy, and a response by Paul Krugman on the instability of moderation: Financial, intellectual and political. Why are the world's governments bothering to meet in Cancun? The next great crash will be ecological, and nature doesn't do bailouts; in fact, nature isn't a nurturing mother like Gaia — it is Medea, the figure from Greek mythology who murdered her own children. A review of The New Machiavelli: How to Wield Power in the Modern World by Jonathan Powell. The Pirate Bay: Leon Tan on countervailing power and the problem of state organized crime. Ideas are free: Stephan Kinsella on the case against intellectual property. Was the Big Bang preceded by another universe (which was preceded by another universe)? How everything you learned in kindergarten affects your salary, your chances of going to college and owning a home, and even your retirement savings. A review of Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories by Simon Winchester. From Vice, weed dealings: Here is a brief history of the California pot trade. A look at how photos implant "memories" of fictional news events. There isn’t much overtly right-wing music; Conservapedia is trying to remedy that. A review of Lethal Warriors: When the New Band of Brothers Came Home — Uncovering the Tragic Reality of PTSD by David Philipps (and more). On the history of anthropology: A review of Glimpses into My Own Black Box: An Exercise in Self-Deconstruction by George W. Stocking Jr. Who cares if it’s all meaningless anyway? A startling proportion of the population, the existentially indifferent, demonstrates little concern for meaning in their lives.
From Fennia: International Journal of Geography, Gunnar Olsson (Uppsala): Mapping the Forbidden. A 2nd century map of Germania by the scholar Ptolemy has always stumped scholars, who were unable to relate the places depicted to known settlements; now a team of researchers have cracked the code. Geopolitical space may survive in consciousness even after vanishing from the map: Larry Wolff on his book The Idea of Galicia: History and Fantasy in Habsburg Political Culture. An embarrassing error on Google Maps has been blamed for Nicaragua’s accidental invasion of Costa Rica (and more and more). Here are 10 myth busting facts about Google Earth. Bodyworld: Spanish artist Fernando Vicente's artography revisits the fusion of the descriptive and the symbolic, but expands the concept to its literal conclusion. Beyond two dimensions: A review of Strange Maps: An Atlas of Cartographic Curiosities by Frank Jacobs. A rather sinister image is one of the biggest mysteries in the history of western cartography; most often referred to simply as the Fool’s Cap Map of the World, it is unknown why, when, where and by whom it was made. Mapping a perfect image of the world: From Wordsworth to children to the man in the street, the Ordnance Survey has stirred imaginations for more than 200 years. In an ironic twist probably only fully appreciated by mapmakers themselves, an object reverses that central problem of cartography: it projects a regular, two-dimensional map onto a round object. From Edge, here's a gallery of maps (and more). Mapping out the American dream: How do the maps we make shape our vision of the world around us? A look at the world of Juan Nunez Guirado (and more). What are borders these days? It's time to think of borders differently, according to Northwestern University researchers; to reflect today's reality, they have taken a look at human mobility and redrawn the borders within the United States. In the iPhone era, road maps fade into history.
From the inaugural issue on Suicidology Online, David Lester (Richard Stockton): Suicide in Mass Murderers and Serial Killers; and Darrel P. Doessel and Ruth F.G. Williams (Griffith): The Economic Argument for a Policy of Suicide Prevention (and a response). Tony Blair and Christopher Hitchens fight the good fight on whether religion is a force for good or evil (and more). Here is Foreign Policy's second annual list of the 100 Top Global Thinkers. When economists advise the government, who else are they working for? Gerald Epstein and Jessica Carrick-Hagenbarth decided to find out. Social sciences and human decency: How does one work with human subjects in a way that honors their traditions and wishes while also fulfilling the duties of scientific inquiry? From Esquire, a special report on The Brightest: 15 geniuses who give us hope. NCBI ROFL: A proposal to classify happiness as a psychiatric disorder. Walk across the office, or send an email? Susan McGregor considers how much time we save — or not — when we opt for the technological solution. From Wishtank Edu, Tim Boucher interviews Douglas Rushkoff. David Goodhart, Prospect's founding editor, looks back over the 15 years since the magazine was launched. Esther Dyson on the dangerous myth of the hero entrepreneur. The hunter-gatherer architecture at Gobekli Tepe is believed to be the oldest religious complex known. A review of Light of the World: The Pope, The Church, and the Signs of the Times by Pope Benedict XVI and Peter Seewald. In the spirit of the financial "settlements" that well-heeled executives are given to pay their way out of prosecution, Charles Marowitz proposes a new branch of the Justice Department to apply this opportunity to all criminals and help reduce the national debt at the same time.
From HBR, is what's good for Corporate America still good for America? A review of American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism 1865-1900 by H.W. Brands. Why is America so rich? America does seem to be special in important ways, but it's not always clear what those ways are. An article on the historical roots of inequality: Evidence from slavery in the US. How rich is rich? To accept the idea that those in the top two percent are not very privileged is to buy into the logic that has made the now grotesque levels of inequality in our country possible in the first place. Can exports save the American economy? Martha White on the most creative American exporters, and how their ideas could pull the economy out of the doldrums. What if the USA were (economically) like the Eurozone? Like many other countries, the US is buried under a pile of mounting debt — tunneling out will mean making some tough choices that can’t be put off much longer. A review of Turbulence: Boeing and the State of American Workers and Managers by Edward S. Greenberg, Leon Grunberg, Sarah Moore and Patricia B. Sikora. Imperial overreach, political polarization, and a costly financial crisis are weighing on the economy — some pundits now worry that America is about to succumb to the “British disease”. Jeff Madrick on the big lie about Social Security. With interest rates at record-lows, the U.S. government should borrow more to invest in infrastructure, not stop spending. McMansion economics: The typical American home has grown about 40% larger over the last 30 years, but what if homeowners downsized, freeing up income to be spent on education and health? A review of The Measure of America, 2010-2011: Mapping Risks and Resilience by Kristen Lewis and Sarah Burd-Sharps (and more).