Kanishka Jayasuriya (Adelaide): The Strange Death of the International Liberal Order. Simon Chesterman (NYU): State-Building, the Social Contract, and the Death of God. An interview with Dani Rodrik on books on globalisation. A review of The Human Rights of Non-citizens by David Weissbrodt. The issue of celebrities and aid is deceptively complex: There is no simple answer to whether we should or should not use stars to promote good causes. The first chapter from Portfolios of the Poor: How the World's Poor Live on $2 a Day by Daryl Collins, Jonathan Morduch, Stuart Rutherford and Orlanda Ruthven. Richard Just reviews “If You Leave Us Here, We Will Die”: How Genocide Was Stopped in East Timor by Geoffrey Robinson. A review of Removing Peoples: Forced Removal in the Modern World. Mark Leon Goldberg on the 55 most anti-gay countries at the UN. What Rawls hath wrought: A review of The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History by Samuel Moyn (and more and more and more). Progress on world challenges, from the environment to health to food security, depends on interdisciplinary, globe-spanning conversations. Thinking the UNthinkable: Redesigning the United Nations Security Council might not be easy, but it would be a great prize. Victory: The US endorses the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Unconventional World: Scenes from the most paradoxical places on earth — from China to Israel, Detroit to Megalopolis.
A new issue of The Incongruous Quarterly is out. From Numeracy, Dorothy Wallace (Dartmouth): Parts of the Whole: Cognition, Schemas, and Quantitative Reasoning. Kent Slinker, Jared Lee Loughner's philosophy professor, on the shooting in Arizona. The mathematics of beauty: Christian Rudder investigates female attractiveness, without the usual photo analysis stuff, past a woman's picture, into the reaction she creates in the reptile mind of the human male. The Commandments: Jill Lepore on the Constitution and its worshippers. Science: Most of what we know about how the world thinks comes from research on a handful of American undergrads. Rules for Rascals: David Weigel on why Republicans are better at fomenting outrage, real and pretend, than Democrats are. Some hasty wording was hyped as a feud within anthropology, but the hysteria was misleading, and the field's real enemies remain at large. Prominent intellectuals rate President Obama after two years. Social animal: David Brooks on how the new sciences of human nature can help make sense of a life. A look at what psychology could add to the Wikileaks debate. The Best of Times: What’s bad for liberals has been very good for Bill Maher. An article on Mario Vargas Llosa, the stateless statesman. Liberals should target the casual assumption that the only real terrorist threat we face is from jihadist Islam — not good old-fashioned white Americans.
The new eugenic intention seems to be not only pro-life but pro-quality of every life; the choice will be for every person against nature’s randomness and indifference. New year, new you: Living longer than ever, we can reinvent ourselves, time after time. Do you really want to live forever? Science is striving to reverse the ageing process so we can all live longer, but that does come with its drawbacks. The quest for individual immortality is admittedly tempting yet fundamentally irrelevant to the great project we have inherited: to build and improve the Enlightenment Civilization. Can you live forever? Maybe not, but you can have fun trying. Never say die: How radical will radical life extension be? Thoughts about our species’ future: Nicholas Agar on his book Humanity’s End: Why We Should Reject Radical Enhancement (and a review, and an interview and part 2). How do we deal with a purposeless universe and the finality of death? John Gray on humanity's quest for immortality. From Cryonics, a review of Confessions of an Antinatalist by Jim Crawford; The Conspiracy Against the Human Race by Thomas Ligotti; and Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence by David Benatar. Is a life worth starting? Mike Perry has some personal views. Exactly when is a person dead? Exit with dignity: Many turn to God in the face of death, but two critics of religion, 230 years apart, have the same calm courage. Would death be easier if you know you’ve been cloned?