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“We’re Going to Face This Virus for Some Time”

An Interview with Amesh Adalja Transcript RWT: This is Salon of the Refused, I’m Rob Tracinski. My guest today is Amesh Adalja, and he’s a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, and I’m talking to him about the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the first big question, the sort of overarching question people […]

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Trump’s Self-Induced “Authoritarian Blindness”

Donald Trump’s position heading into November’s presidential election is surprisingly strong. He remains personally unpopular, of course, but he heads toward re-election with—for now—a strong economy and—for now—no major foreign policy crisis. Notice that I keep saying “for now.” There’s one glaring weakness that could bring Trump down hard, and we’re seeing it on full […]

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Ayn Rand’s Answer to the “Social Contract”

As part of the research for my new book in defense of individualism, I’ve been reading several key books from the newly strident illiberal “nationalist” conservatives. I’ve noticed that they have mixed feelings about the “social contract.” Patrick Deneen rejects it because it’s too individualist: it assumes that “the individual ‘creates’ the state,” while he […]

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Have You Accepted the Free Market as Your Personal Savior?

Hello, friend. I’m knocking on your door today to ask whether you have accepted the free market as your personal savior. If you haven’t, I’m here to share the good news. I am, obviously, riffing on the latest talking point from the nationalist conservatives, who have formed a new think tank based on the complaint […]

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The First Extremely Online President

William Barr’s kayfabe denunciation of Trump’s tweets is the latest installment in a genre: the Trump supporter who says, “I wish he’d quit tweeting.” They don’t object to what Trump does, they just wish he wouldn’t shoot his mouth off about it on Twitter all the time. But Trump and his spokesmen take a very […]

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In What Style Should We Build?

Everyone in the political world has suddenly decided that they have very strong opinions about architecture now that the Trump administration is floating an executive order to mandate “classical” architecture in federal buildings. The draft executive order, reported last week by Architectural Record, “would require rewriting the Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture, issued in 1962, […]

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It Depends On Where You Stop the Story

An Atheist Reads the Bible, Part 6 At the end of the Pentateuch—the first five books of the Bible—we saw two big developments: the creation of a religious dictatorship under the rule of Moses, and the development of the idea of a covenant in which God promises the Hebrews victory over their enemies in exchange […]

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#NeverSMOD

The Iowa caucuses, the first electoral contest of the 2020 presidential election cycle, happen today, so it’s a good time to look at how the contest is shaping up, what we can expect from it—and what, if anything, to hope for. I take as my starting point that none of the major candidates—from either party—will […]

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The Blue Dots of Outrage

As I pointed out recently, we have just lived through the best decade ever. So why don’t we believe it? First, for those who don’t believe it, let me briefly recap the evidence. Matt Ridley recently proclaimed the 2010s to be the “best decade in human history.” We are living through the greatest improvement in […]

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The New York Times Can’t Decide Whether to Endorse America

I don’t think a lot of us were expecting the New York Times to take its much-hyped endorsement in the Democratic primary and use it to recommend Amy Klobuchar for vice-president. Strangely, that’s exactly what they did. Yes, I know. Supposedly they offered a split endorsement for president, giving a nod both to Klobuchar and […]

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