From Tyler Merber on Wikimedia

And I was nowhere near the Capitol.

2021 had the makings of a good year. Four days into it, I had moved into a new home and finally set up my office the way I wanted it. I’d just published an essay on Medium that I was moderately satisfied with. That evening I was walking through my new neighborhood, thinking about what I might write next. It seemed to me that there was a threat that someone would try to threaten the upcoming vote certification, and I started wondering how the security services might have to respond. I’ll admit that’s a little odd, but I come by…

Christian Lue on Unsplash

You can thank me later

The text of the agreement signed between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) to regulate the terms of their relationship now that the UK has officially left the EU comes to around one thousand two hundred and fifty pages (includng annexes). Perhaps, like me, you are a scholar with an interest in the topic and an inordinate amount of time on your hands. In that case, I’d recommend you read the text for yourself. You can find it here (the official English text from the EU) and here (from the UK). …

Elements of a Viral New Deal

It’s the end of the world as we know it. We have to figure out what we’re going to do about it.

We have to start with a realization of just how big the COVID-19 crisis is. The virus has begun with the cities, but it’s moving to the suburbs and rural regions. Testing is spotty and unreliable, but it’s clear at least 2.4 million people have been infected, and over 156,000 have died from the disease. In the United States, as of April 20th there were 800,000 cases of infection, and over forty…

COVID-19 and the American cult of anti-intellectualism

Coronavirus coverage as of 3/15/2020. Heatmap by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University — found at Unsplash.

As Isaac Asimov observed,

There’s a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our cultural and political life, nurtured by the false idea that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.

It’s not the only strain of thought in American life, but it’s one we have to constantly guard against. It’s related to the Romanticism of the Confederacy and its current avatars. It’s how people can claim that verifiable facts can be ignored…

Learning from the stress-tests of 2020

Photo by History in HD on Unsplash

I’m not especially nervous about the coronavirus. Don’t get me wrong: it’s dangerous. It’s lethal, at least for some. It exposes some fundamental weaknesses of our systems. It threatens my family and my friends. It’s going to get much worse before it gets better.

I’m worried about it. I’m worried about it in the same sense that I want to make sure my life insurance is up to date, and the mortgage is paid, and all the fluids in my car are at the manufacturer’s recommended levels. …

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

You don’t have the right to vote. Should you?

Americans like to talk in the language of rights: the right to life, the right to self-defense, the right to privacy. Some of these things are spelled out in the Constitution. Some of them are not. They are considered human rights: rights come from the nature of human beings.

Voting is not a human right. Voting is a civic right.

A civic right comes from being a member of a political community. If you want to vote in America, you need to be recognized as an American. …

We can have a Republic OR a Republican Party. But not both.

Today was the inevitable, enervating last day of the sham trial of Donald J. Trump. Today the man who became president on fewer votes than his opponent, the man who not only didn’t rise to the meet the standards of his office but diminished the office to meet his personal style, the man who blocked the testimony of witnesses and the release of all subpoenaed documents but had the nerve to assert that he should be acquitted of obstruction due to a “lack of evidence” was able to…

“Do Stupid Shit.”

There’s an old tradition among analysts of American foreign policy: identifying “doctrines” associated with various presidents. These rules of thumb have sometimes been explicit. George Washington, for example, in his 1796 farewell address, concluded his second term with a call to avoid partisanship, and linked that principle to a foreign policy that avoids “foreign alliances, attachments, and intrigues,” as well as “overgrown military establishments.” James Monroe, in 1823, announced that the United States would no longer permit European colonization in the Western hemisphere. …

And the English are OK with that

Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party have won an overwhelming victory in the recent elections for the British parliament. The reasons for it are varied: a deep animosity felt by many toward Jeremy Corbin, the perception that Labour has swung too far into Marxism and anti-Semitism, the sense that British politics has been grinding away without a resolution — any resolution — to the problem of implementing the narrow victory of the 2016 referendum to leave the European Union. The resolution we now have, while in some ways better than the limbo everyone…

Daniel McIntosh

A retired professor of world politics. Interested in potential futures. Tired of living in the Dark Ages.

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