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Och Aye!

Tomorrow’s the big vote in Scotland. I’m all for independence. Nick Land has argued, and I think rightly, that because Scotland pulls farther to the Left than the UK as a whole, its separation would immediately snap the rump UK rightward, while at the same time separation from London’s flowing teat would accelerate the failure […]

Mantle Plumes

Here’s a piece from Jay Nordlinger on how hard it is to keep up with what we’re allowed to call things from one day to the next. (I’m old enough now that I’m simply refusing to play along anymore.) To find out what this has in common with the geology of the Hawaiian Islands, you’ll […]

Crickets

Speaking of the New York Times: still no mention in our “newspaper of record” about the murder of young, white Brendan Tevlin by a black jihadist. Just a local crime story, I guess. Not fit to print.

The Endarkenment

There’s a fine, gloomy piece by Roger Cohen in the Times today: The Great Unraveling. The fabric of society frayed. Democracy looked quaint or outmoded beside new authoritarianisms. …Nobody connected the dots or read Kipling on life’s few certainties: “The Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire / And the […]

Mr. President, We Are Not Imbeciles

This from Jerry Coyne: If ISIS Is Not Islamic, then the Inquisition Was Not Catholic.

Ice, Ice, Baby

This just in: Antarctic sea ice is at its greatest extent ever recorded.

Choose Up

Here.

Tweet of the Day

can someone give this man an advil? pic.twitter.com/fvwOsoOzV0 — The Friendly Asshole (@FriendlyAssh0le) April 9, 2014

ISIS

In trying to catch up on all the stories we missed during our August break, I’d be remiss not to comment on the malevolent Muslim entity calling itself the Islamic State, and what we should do about it. My view is not, in many respects, a mainstream one. That said, I’ll hasten to align myself […]

Q.E.D.

Among the topics I passed by during our August hiatus was the story about Rotherham, England, in which it was revealed that groups of Muslim men had been using young white girls as sex slaves. This had been going on for many years, over which time there had been at least 1,400 victims, some of […]

Rut-Roh

What’s up with Takimag? The site’s been down all day. It’s worrisome.

Veritas

Today we present a fine piece by Steven Pinker on the state of our elite universities. Pinker’s essay is a response to a New Republic article, by William Deresiewicz, entitled Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League. Pinker, writing with his usual clarity and brio, defends the Ivies, and makes the case for standardized […]

Gie It Laldy!

Over at Outside In, Nick Land offers a neoreactionary’s perspective on the coming ‘exit’ referendum in Scotland. My Scottish mum would have approved.

Male Plumage

                                               

A Fields First

For the first time, a woman has been awarded the coveted Fields Medal, which is generally regarded as the the mathematician’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize. Her name is Maryam Mirzakhani, and you can read about her here. This is of course a proud day for female mathematicians. Congratulations to Dr. Mirzakhani.   Maryam Mirzakhani […]

Varsity vs. Jayvee

Once again, Vladimir Putin has snaffled the U.S. and her quondam allies: the acceptance by Ukraine of a proffered cease-fire on what, for Russia, are very comfortable terms, will douse any ardor in the West for aggressive confrontation. In last night’s NightWatch bulletin, John McCreary wrote: While NATO plans to fight Russia, Putin’s peace plan […]

Mencken Speaks

Here’s a real find: what purports to be the only extant recording of the Sage of Baltimore. It’s a long interview, with good audio quality.

But A Walking Shadow

We note with sadness the deaths of Joan Rivers and Glenn Cornick. Gather those rosebuds, folks…

Libya

Let’s review the results of our adventure in Libya, for which President Obama and the presumptive Democratic heir, Hillary Clinton, can fairly be assigned complete responsibility. ‣   After a successful, decades-long effort to bring Muammar Qaddafi to heel, and after feting our new North African ally at the highest levels of government, we betrayed […]

Links, etc.

It’s been a refreshing break, beginning with a splendid mountaintop wedding in New Hampshire back in late July. I don’t often post such things, but here is a shot of your humble correspondent at that happy occasion:   After that it was just a lot of this sort of thing:     Anyway, that’s done: […]

September!

All right, then. August is over. Did I miss anything? Just kidding. Back soon, with a spleenful.

Service Notice

It’s August once again, and things will be quieter than usual here for the next couple of weeks — maybe a post or two here and there, but nothing much, probably, till after Labor Day. As always, please feel free to browse our ever-expanding archives, and to try the “Random Post” link at upper right.

Mugged By Reality

Here.

NaCl

In a recent column, Thomas Sowell asked: Is thinking now obsolete? Perhaps it is. Read this label:   This is the sort of blithe and cheery obliviousness that carries me to the brink of despair.

Ethics, Engineering, And Driverless Cars

There’s a great deal of buzz lately about self-driving cars. They were the focus of a couple of sessions when I was at Singularity University a couple of years ago, and Google sent one over so we could get a look at it. The consensus at SU was that they confer so many public benefits […]

Habitat For Humanity

With a hat-tip to Bryce Laliberte, here’s an excellent photographic essay on the appeal of “traditional cities”: cities that are built not for cars or transit systems, but for people.

Loaded For Bear

This bill just passed in Missouri: SCS/SJR 36 – This proposed constitutional amendment, if approved by voters, modifies provisions regarding the right to keep and bear arms. This amendment provides that a citizen has the right to keep and bear arms, ammunition, and accessories typical to the normal function of such arms, in defense of […]

Tweet Of The Day

  Ukrainian lawmakers: a renaissance masterpiece (Cloth is pure Veronese, but for subject matter id go with Caravaggio) pic.twitter.com/yFEKTJw4VV — Sam Jones (@samgadjones) August 6, 2014  

Whoops!

This just in: $619 billion missing from federal transparency site That’s billion with a B. Don’t forget, folks: tax day is April 15th. File early to make sure you avoid penalties and late fees.

Motte And Bailey

I’ve just run across (hat-tip to Nick Land) an excellent, and apparently oft-cited, essay by Scott Alexander on the unique terminological characteristics of the various “social-justice” movements. The essay describes a splendid metaphor: the “motte-and-bailey” style of argument. Here’s Section II of Mr. Alexander’s post: I started this post by saying I recently learned there […]

We Find Your Lack Of Faith Disturbing

Following on our item the other day about cultlike birthday messages from the President, I should mention that just after publishing that post, I got this: Malcolm — I don’t want to make this awkward, but… It looks like you haven’t signed OFA’s birthday card for President Obama yet. Today’s the big day — I […]

Further Reading

In response to our quoting Chang Ch’ao the other day, our reader Alex Leibowitz, a scholar of Chinese literature, has kindly provided further translation of the piece from which our excerpt was taken. 少年读书,如隙中窥月;中年读书,如庭中望月;老年读书,如台上玩月。皆以阅 之浅深,为所得之浅深耳。 Shao3 nian2 du2 shu1, ru2 xi4 zhong1 kui1 yue4; zhong1 nian2 du2 shu1, ru2 ting2 zhong1 wang4 yue4; lao3 nian2 […]

Simple Things

“All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom; justice; honour; duty; mercy; hope.” – Churchill

Aflame

Saw this startling item this morning in last night’s NightWatch: Iraq: Fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) inflicted a significant defeat on Kurdish militia forces on Saturday. They killed 27 Kurds and routed them from three towns and claim to have taken control of the Mosul Dam, which supplies water […]

Reading

From the 2nd-3rd-century Chinese scholar Chang Ch’ao: Reading books in one’s youth is like looking at the moon through a crevice; reading books in one’s middle age is like looking at the moon in one’s courtyard; and reading books in one’s old age is like looking at the moon on an open terrace. This is […]

Ugh

The world is aflame with war and pestilence. The nation’s borders are dissolving. Our ancient and implacable enemies are ascendant in every quarter. Yesterday I received this email from OFA, Barack Obama’s Ministry of Propaganda: Malcolm — Here’s something you might not know about President Obama: The man really loves pie. And for as long […]

The Womaniferous Aether

I’ve just read an outstanding essay on the paucity of women in high-tech jobs, and the stubbornly persistent (and demonstrably counterfactual) belief that it is caused, not by natural differences between the sexes, but by an invisible fog of sexism. I’d sum up its arguments for you, but it’s so good you should go and […]

Auto-Goal

Ripples continue in the wake of the Halbig decision, over which Obamacare enthusiasts have been getting their knickers in a knot since the ruling came down. In today’s Washington Post, blogger Greg Sargent wrote a detailed item explaining, or so he thought, that the intent of the law was always to provide subsidies to people […]

Going Viral

In case you haven’t heard, the Ebola virus — the same one that gave readers the willies in the 1994 book The Hot Zone — is now out of control, and spreading rapidly, in West Africa. Ebola kills you in horrible ways, and there isn’t any cure. If you catch it, you will almost certainly […]

TERF War

As I wrote some time ago, to observe the culture wars is to realize that grievance is fractal: There’s no limiting principle. And if you watch for a while, you begin to realize that “social injustice” is not only infinite, but fractal. It’s a Julia set of grievances. Zoom in all you like; new affronts […]

Gracián

Every so often one is asked: If you could assemble a dinner party with anyone who ever lived, whom would you invite? For me, the list would have to include Baltasar Gracián y Morales, a Jesuit writer, philosopher, and courtier who lived in seventeenth-century Spain. He’s hardly a household name, but he has always struck […]

The Neoliberal Capitalist Endgame

As Michael Anissimov explains in an excellent essay about class and the history of labor, that endgame culminates in: 70 hours of work a week, no children, no family. We read: The capitalist system pushes us to work as hard as possible to increase our wealth and therefore our social status. In a world with […]

Bullshit-O

The Obamacare Federal-exchange-subsidies plot just thickened a bit, with the discovery online of video of one of the Affordable Care Act’s architects, Jonathan Gruber, explaining in 2012, that the exclusion of Federal health-care exchanges from eligibility for IRS subsidies was no bug, but a feature. Its purpose, Gruber explained, was to pressure the states to […]

Cui Bono?

My late sifu, William Chung, used to quote an old Chinese saying: “Where there is confusion, there is profit.” Here’s an example.

The Seven Gambit

With a hat tip to Bill Vallicella, here’s a dark and piercing essay by Richard Fernandez. The gist: the Devil has the power to make you do evil yourself in order to defeat him — and so you cannot really defeat him at all.

Law And Disorder

Shortly after yesterday’s post, a different circuit court — a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, based in Richmond — ruled on a similar case about the legality of IRS subsidies for health-care plans sold on Federal exchanges. (The language of the Affordable Care Act is absolutely unambiguous about this: […]

The Court? How Many Divisions Does It Have?

When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was about to become law, Nancy Pelosi famously scoffed at its critics, many of whom had said the proposed legislation was an incomprehensible dog’s breakfast of a bill, far too complicated for anyone in Congress to understand. “[W]e have to pass the bill so that you can […]

Service Notice

The lovely Nina and I are off to a wedding this weekend up in New Hampshire. There will be much feasting and merriment, but likely very little blogging. Back next week.

July 18, 1969

It was 45 years ago today that the philandering, corpulent drunkard Teddy Kennedy drove his car off a bridge in Chappaquiddick, got himself to safety, and abandoned the young Mary Jo Kopechne to drown in the wreckage. The affair likely cost him the Presidency, but little else. If there is any justice in the hereafter, […]

Divertimento

The world is on fire today. At the moment I have nothing to add, other than to express my sorrow at the death of the great Johnny Winter. I did, however, just have a splendid evening, and I’d rather talk briefly about that. A couple of years ago my lovely wife Nina made the acquaintance, […]