Quote of the day

"All knowledge degenerates into probability"
— David Hume

Test Drive Of A Petrol Car

“So we sat in the car and pressed the start button. The car’s gasoline engine coughed to life and started to operate. The car’s whole body vibrated as if something was broken, but the seller assured us that everything was as it should. We asked if the constant sound of the engine — that frankly disturbed us from being able to listen to the radio — could be turned off. But it couldn’t. Very distracting” (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 to jobs at the Financial Times, Time and Tide, the Spectator, and the Daily Telegraph. His reputation was made by his book, Unity Mitford: An Enquiry into Her Life and the Frivolity of Evil, which “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)

The King Of Bullshit News

Internet news travels fast and loose. Websites are desperate for “too good to check” stories which send page-views spiking. The current king of clickbait is a small outfit in south-east England called Central European News which confects 500 stories a month about two-headed goats and human tapeworms. “If you’ve read a story about someone in a strange country cutting off their own penis, the chances are it came from CEN” (6,856 words)

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