North Korea, Indian Railways, Ethnicity, Trauma, Populism

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

China First In North Korea

Bill Emmott | Project Syndicate | 4th September 2017

The least-bad military solution to the North Korean crisis would be a Chinese invasion. “Whereas a nuclear exchange with the US would mean devastation, submission to China would promise survival. No other action holds as much potential to make Chinese leadership within Asia seem credible and desirable. It is China’s best opportunity to achieve greater strategic parity with the US in the region, while removing a source of instability that threatens them both” (800 words)

Homicidal Railwaymen

Rajesh Ramachandran | Outlook | 7th September 2017

Pleasingly blunt editorial denouncing Indian Railways for its atrocious safety record — 586 accidents in the past five years. “Indian Railways is a symbol of everything that is wrong with this country’s administrative apparatus. It is a colonial relic, established by the British to suck resources out of this country. Indian Railways’ bureaucracy is bloated, and its losses are huge, but its technology is very basic. Most big accidents can be averted by simple, rudimentary inspection and maintenance” (595 words)

Genetics And Identity

Patrick Geary | Institute For Advanced Study | 8th September 2017

“No specific set of genetic similarities determines how an individual or group will be identified. What will be seen as essential in classifying members of a group is ultimately culturally determined. Cultural and political identities can trump genetic origins. Groups that are very similar genetically may hold vastly different and even hostile cultural identities, while people with divergent genetic origins can share a powerful sense of common identity that is the essence of ethnic consciousness” (1,700 words)

Victimhood And Trauma

Edgar Jones | Spiked Online | 5th September 2017

On the history of psychological trauma and PTSD, which gained acceptance as “real” injuries during the Vietnam War. “During the First and Second World War, you were expected to be resilient, you were expected to be well. And if you were traumatised, you were considered a bit unusual and potentially vulnerable. Today, we’ve almost gone full circle, and forgotten about the resilient side. Because, in actual fact, most people will not suffer from PTSD if exposed to a terrifying event” (4,400 words)

The Logic Of Populism

Will Wilkinson | Niskanen Centre | 7th September 2017

Populism consists of two basic drives: Anti-elitism and anti-pluralism. The second is more dangerous to democracy. “Not everyone who criticizes elites is a populist (any standard civic-education book will positively encourage us to be critical citizens). Rather, populists always claim that there is a homogeneous, morally pure people of which they are the only authentic representatives. For them, it follows that all other contenders for power are corrupt or in some other way immoral” (1,900 words)

Video of the day: Escher Cube

What to expect:

The opposite of an optical illusion. The cube in real life (0’28”)

Thought for the day

The point of marriage is repetition
Susan Sontag

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