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538

I’m binge-listening to the Five Thirty-Eight Politics podcast. It’s excellent, first because it’s an easy-to-digest, entertaining take on the science of political polling, and second, because it’s nonpartisan, pushing zero hindbrain buttons. Check it out wherever you go to listen to podcasts.

Bittersweet Truths

Halfway between the car and the back gate
On one of those antiseptically sharp midwinter nights
When the air huddles, silent,
It occurs to me that the stars,
Were they capable of it,
Might smile indulgently,
Hearing again the tales we tell ourselves
With each new season of dark and cold and snow
To keep at bay the bittersweet truths
We pretend we don't know.

Trade and Dislocation

Free trade is an essential feature of the postwar system for maintaining economic and political stability throughout the world. Free trade no doubt creates both winners and losers in the short run, and the way to help those who’ve been disadvantaged by these economic changes is to provide support in the form of training and a guaranteed universal income.

See generally Max Boot, The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right 140 (2018).

Last Turtle Down

Yesterday evening in bed I listened to a man speaking English with a heavy French accent as he explained Einstein’s impatience with the idea that the equations of quantum mechanics, with which Einstein had no quarrel as such, should be regarded as having plumbed utterly the depths of reality. What Einstein insisted was that something else — something definite — must lay beneath the uncertainty portrayed by the equations as the last turtle down.

Pax Americana

President after president, both Democrat and Republican, going back to the days of Harry S. Truman, has promoted collective security, international law, free trade, and human rights. Donald Trump has decisively broken from this tradition. He is hostile to both democracy and free trade.

— Max Boot, The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right 138 (2018).