Larry Summers, William Empson, Assisted Dying, Dog Ownership, Letters, Tribalism

Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

Trump’s Rise

Larry Summers | 1st March 2016

"The possible election of Donald Trump as President is the greatest present threat to the prosperity and security of the United States. I have had a strong point of view on each of the last ten presidential elections, but never before had I feared that the wrong outcome would risk grave damage to the American project ... The United States has always been governed by the authority of ideas, rather than the idea of authority" (970 words)

In Praise Of Asymmetry

Kevin Jackson | Literary Review | 1st March 2016

To be reading William Empson's book on Buddhist art, Face of The Buddha, is "not far short of a miracle", since the manuscript was long thought lost in the Blitz. It was, in fact, mislaid in Soho by a drunken friend of the author's who was too embarrassed to confess his error. It turned up in a dead critic's papers in the British Library, and now it is published. As generally with Empson, the thesis is fanciful, but the argument is interesting (1,240 words)

By The Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead

John Hofsess | Toronto Life | 1st March 2016

In which the author explains how he helped eight people die. "I created an underground assisted death service that offered innovative non-medical methods of dying to Society members. Following Jack Kevorkian’s example, we didn’t require clients to pay for our services. We operated on the Robin Hood principle: members who could afford to cover the costs of our illegal operations helped compensate for those who couldn’t" (4,100 words)

Dog Ownership Is Optional

Peter Adeney | Mr Money Mustache | 7th September 2015

"I’m not denying the benefits of dogs. But I think the downsides and costs are vastly underestimated. When you’re a young and otherwise unencumbered adult and you adopt a dog, a huge chunk of your freedom is gone. Instantly, just like that. Did you meet somebody special and want to spend a few days with them? Sorry, you’re already out past your curfew and the dog is lonely at home" (2,770 words)

The Daily Telegraph Through The Eyes Of Its Readers

Christopher Howse | Telegraph | 25th March 2016

Highlights from 160 years of Letters to the Editor, including an argument between Bertrand Russell and T.S. Eliot about split infinitives, and a call from Oscar Wilde — whose brother worked as a sub-editor on the paper — for the British government to require men to wear coloured capes and waistcoats: "The imagination will concentrate itself on the waistcoat. Waistcoats will show whether a man can admire poetry or not" (8,500 words)

The Three Party System

John Quiggin | Crooked Timber | 29th February 2016

"There are three major political forces: tribalism, neoliberalism and leftism. Until recently, the party system involved competition between different versions of neoliberalism. Since the Global Financial Crisis, neoliberals have remained in power almost everywhere, but no longer command the electoral support to marginalise both tribalists and leftists. So we are seeing the emergence of a three-party system which is inherently unstable" (720 words)

Video of the day: Count to 1000 On 10 Fingers

What to expect: Get more out of your fingers. A lesson in binary. Count to 1000 on two hands (2'30")

Thought for the day

It is the curse of the competent not to be called upon
Robert Priest

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