Quote of the day

"I have yet to see a problem which, when looked at in the right way, did not become more complicated"
— Paul Alderson

Mass Incarceration: The Silence Of The Judges

“For too long, too many judges have been too quiet about an evil of which we are a part: mass incarceration. More than 2.2 million people are currently incarcerated in US jails and prisons. Most of the increase in imprisonment has been for nonviolent offenses, such as drug possession. If current rates hold, one-third of all black men will be imprisoned at some point in their lifetimes … Basically, we treat them like dirt” (3,460 words)

Test Drive Of A Petrol Car

Not only are they dirty and noisy, they are also extremely expensive to run: “How much does it cost to fill up at home, and how many free stations are there? The seller looked very puzzled at us and explained that it is not possible to refuel gasoline cars at home, and there are no free gas stations. Apparently you have to several times a month drive to the gas station to recharge your petrol car at extortionate prices” (1,860 words)

A Burnt-Out Fairground

Extracts from David Pryce-Jones’s memoir of a privileged early life taking him from Eton in 1948 through plum jobs in journalism to the book that made his name: Unity Mitford: An Enquiry into Her Life and the Frivolity of Evil. His account of pre-war fascist sympathies among the British upper classes “brought out into the open collaboration with Hitler and the outlines of a British Vichy regime in the event of a successful Nazi invasion” (5,400 words)

A Radical Conservative Agenda

If the Conservatives win the coming election they should replace Britain’s benefits system with a more libertarian form of redistribution. “Scrap all mainstream benefit payments – for example, child benefit, jobseeker’s allowance, housing benefit, even the state pension. Scrap the income tax allowance too. Give all long-term UK residents a taxable basic income of £8,000 a year and charge a flat 40 per cent income tax rate on every penny” (840 words)

The Liberal Arts vs Neoliberalism

A review of Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life by William Deresiewicz. We need, argues the reviewer, a defence of the humanities which claims more for the liberal arts than the promotion of “critical thinking” and “people skills”; which insists on the importance of the humanities for their own sake. Deresiewicz has written this defence, not before time (4,043 words)

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