For the Weekend: Recessional—Appropriate for the Trumpist End of the American Century...

Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (December 2, 2018)

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  1. An Unfinished Note: The Vexed Question of Prussia in World History...
  2. Weekend Reading: The Royal Proclamation of 1763
  3. For the Weekend:: Recessional—Appropriate for the Trumpist End of the American Century...

  1. The first point here seems to be largely wrong: millennials may believe that America is hardly better than other countries—but they more strongly believe that America ought to be by far the best place on earth. Their view is not a rejection of American exceptionalism, but a doubling down on it. The second is also wrong—Trumpists think America needs to be exceptional, but exceptionally bad—call this "fascist exceptionalism". As for the third... Foreign-policy beltway bandits may talk about "containing China's global reach", but the failure to prioritize full recovery from the Great Recession and the election of the erratic Trump mean that that ship has sailed. China now confronts America as an equal, and cannot be "contained". And this end of the American century is due not to China's successes—mighty as they are—but to America's failures: Ivan Krastev: A European Goes to Trump’s Washington: "With his administration, Americans have lost confidence in their exceptionalism.... Millennials believe that America is hardly better than other countries, while Mr. Trump believes that if America wants to defend its global leadership, it has to be nastier than others.... Rivalry with China has become the organizing principle of American foreign policy.... If America fails to contain China’s geopolitical reach now, tomorrow it will be impossible to do so. America’s anxiety about China is in my view a realization of the fact that China’s market-friendly, big-data authoritarianism is a much more dangerous adversary for liberal democracies than Soviet Communism ever was... #strategy #Americanexceptioalism #oranagehairedbaboons

  2. Fintan O'Toole: The Paranoid Fantasy Behind Brexit: "In the dark imagination of English reactionaries, Britain is always a defeated nation–and the EU is the imaginary invader...

  3. Jane Coaston: How California Conservatives Became the Intellectual Engine of Trumpism: "The California GOP got wiped out in the midterms. But the heart of California-style conservatism is stronger than ever.... 'They keep coming': The story of conservative fears over demographic change in California began long before Trump. Take Proposition 187, a ballot initiative passed by voters in November 1994 that would have cut off undocumented Californians from public education and health care services and require teachers and health care providers to turn over the names of undocumented people to authorities (it was known as the “Save Our State” initiative), and to efforts to end bilingual education and establish “three strikes” laws. (A court ultimately found the initiative un-Constitutional.)...

  4. Possibly the finest thing I have read this year: Frank Wilhoit: The Travesty of Liberalism: "There is only conservatism. No other political philosophy actually exists; by the political analogue of Gresham’s Law, conservatism has driven every other idea out of circulation. There might be, and should be, anti-conservatism; but it does not yet exist. What would it be? In order to answer that question, it is necessary and sufficient to characterize conservatism. Fortunately, this can be done very concisely. Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit: There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect... #moralphilosophy #moralresponsibility

  5. Sarita Gupta, Stephen Lerner, and Joseph A. McCartin: It’s Not the 'Future of Work,' It’s the Future of Workers That’s in Doubt: "Nearly every discussion of labor’s future in mainstream media quickly becomes mired in a group of elite-defined concerns called 'The Future of Work'.... Rarely has a phrase been so ubiquitous in discussions of the economy or social policy.... [But] it is the concentration of wealth and power in this new economy, not computerization or artificial intelligence, that represents the gravest threat to our future... #riseoftherobots #labormarket #equitablegrowth

  6. Paul Krugman (November 1, 2018): A Party Defined by Its Lies: "Selling racial fear was easier in the 1980s and early 1990s, when America really was suffering from high levels of inner-city crime. Since then, violent crime has plunged. What’s a fearmonger to do? The answer is: lie. The lies have come nonstop since Trump’s inauguration address, which conveyed a false vision of 'American carnage'... #orangehairedbaboons

  7. This is remarkably nihilistic from Bob Solow. The fact is that over my career academic macroeconomics, at least as it has been read why journalists and politicians, has been of little or no or negative help to fiscal authorities and central bankers trying to manage economic prosperity. The reception and influence of Friedman's "The Role o Monetary Policy" has been a big part of that process. In so doing, economics failed of its promise. Figuring out why is really important: not just something to muse about while toasting marshmallows: Robert Solow: A Theory Is a Sometime Thing: "One can speculate. Maybe a patchwork of ideas like eclectic American Keynesianism, held together partly by duct tape, is always at a disadvantage compared with a monolithic doctrine that has an answer for everything, and the same answer for every thing. Maybe that same monolithic doctrine reinforced and was reinforced by the general shift of political and social preferences to the right that was taking place at about the same time. Maybe this bit of intellectual history was mainly an accidental concatenation of events, personalities, and dispositions. And maybe this is the sort of question that is better discussed while toasting marshmallows around a dying campfire. #economicsgonewrong

  8. Peter Spiegel: On Twitter: "This @BuzzFeedNews story from May appears to be the issue that Michael Cohen is admitting to today: that he worked for @realDonaldTrump on a Trump Tower Moscow into May-June...just before Republican Nat'l Convention. https://t.co/7b2bqO9tDb": "This @BuzzFeedNews story from May appears to be the issue that Michael Cohen is admitting to today: that he worked for @realDonaldTrump on a Trump Tower Moscow into May-June... just before Republican Nat'l Convention... #orangehairedbaboons

  9. Réka Juhász: Réka Juhász and Claudia Steinwender: Spinning the Web: Codifiability, Information Frictions and Trade: "Information frictions matter for trade in differentiated goods.... We estimate the effect of a reduction in communication time on imports of three product categories in 19th century cotton textile trade; yarn, plain cloth, and finished cloth...

  10. John Holbo: Abusive Legalism: "Andrew McCarthy... objects to Mueller’s investigation.... 'There are many wrongs that are not crimes... wrongs should be made right. But prosecutors do not operate in a cosmic-justice system..... The only wrongs they are authorized to address—the only wrongs it is appropriate for them to address—are crimes'.... If awful stuff comes to light in l’affaire Russe... anyone who is upset about corruption is just some kooky, wild-eyed cosmic justice warrior. The position is self-undermining within the scope of the piece itself. McCarthy is indignant that Mueller is violating prosecutorial norms–not breaking laws. But McCarthy doesn’t, therefore, chalk Mueller’s wrongdoing up to the cosmos’ injustice tab and shrug it off... #orangehariedbaboons

  11. Daily Kos Elections: "#KS03 Rep. Kevin Yoder argued Dem foe wouldn't stand up to Trump because... she'd worked in the Department of Transportation as a White House fellow, and her program continued into the first year of Trump’s presidency. We had a LOT of competition for the John Mica award for most clueless incumbent this year. Here are the finalists... #orangehairedbaboons #politics

  12. Worth more than all the rest of the Washington Post opinion section put together. The Queen of Prose and Snark" Alexandra Petri: I’m Fine with Women in Power, Just Not This One Specific Woman Currently in Power: "What I want is not impossible! I want someone who is not tainted by polarizing choices in the past, but who also has experience, who is knowledgeable but doesn’t sound like she is lecturing, someone vibrant but not green, someone dignified but not dowdy, passionate but not a yeller, precise but not mechanical, someone lacking in off-putting ambition but capable of asking for what she wants, not accompanied but not alone, in a day but not in a month or a year, when the moon is neither waxing nor waning, carrying a sieve full of water and a hen’s tooth. Easy! That’s why I’m so worried about our current slate of choices. A woman, sure, but — Kamala Harris? Elizabeth Warren? Kirsten Gillibrand? There are specific problems with each of them, entirely personal to each of them, all insurmountable. We need someone fresh. Someone without baggage. Joe Biden, maybe. But female!...

  13. You see the problem here? What used to be the Republican base—the upper middle class in prosperous states—are now excluded from "everyone" in steve Moore's mind: Stephen Moore (2017): Tax Plan Is a Cut for Everyone: "Whenever I'm asked if the Trump tax cut is for the rich, I say yes. It is a tax cut for the rich. It is a tax cut for the middle class. It is a tax cut for small businesses. It is a tax cut for the Fortune 100. If you pay federal income taxes, you will, in almost all cases, be getting more take-home pay come Jan. 1. One of the ironies of the left's 'these are tax cuts for the rich' mantra is that many upper-income people I know in states such as California, New Jersey and New York complain to me they are getting a sizable tax increase... #orangehairedbaboons #fiscalpolicy #politics

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