Best Articles 2021
The Dozen Best of 2021
- (1) "America's New Class System," Time, Nicholas Lemann (June 24, 2001):
There are three main paths in the U.S. today: Talent, Lifer and Mandarin. It's possible to think of American politics as an epic power struggle among the three paths; in this year's presidential campaign, Buchanan is the Talent path's candidate, Dole is the Lifer path's, and Clinton is the Mandarin path's.
- (2) "My IRB Nightmare," Scott Alexander, SlateStarCodex blog (Sept. 2014):
“I want to do a study,” I said.
She looked skeptical. “Have you done the Pre-Study Training?”
I had to admit I hadn’t, so off I went. The training was several hours of videos about how the Nazis had done unethical human experiments. Then after World War II, everybody met up and decided to only do ethical human experiments from then on. And the most important part of being ethical was to have all experiments monitored by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) made of important people who could check whether experiments were ethical or not. I dutifully parroted all this back on the post-test (“Blindly trusting authority to make our ethical decisions for us is the best way to separate ourselves from the Nazis!”) and received my Study Investigator Certification.
- (3) "January 6 Cases Being Treated More Harshly by DOJ," RedState.com, Leslie McAdoo Gordon (June 29, 2021):
Just as in the January 6 cases, ABC News reported that those arrested in the Kavanaugh protests engaged in protest behavior in the Rotunda of the Capitol and outside the offices of Senators, they targeted specific Senators with whom they were unhappy, and they even invaded the offices of some Senators.
- (4) "America’s Ruling Class: And the Perils of Revolution," Angelo Codevilla, The American Spectator (July 16, 2010):
Never has there been so little diversity within America’s upper crust. Always, in America as elsewhere, some people have been wealthier and more powerful than others. But until our own time America’s upper crust was a mixture of people who had gained prominence in a variety of ways, who drew their money and status from different sources and were not predictably of one mind on any given matter. The Boston Brahmins, the New York financiers, the land barons of California, Texas, and Florida, the industrialists of Pittsburgh, the Southern aristocracy, and the hardscrabble politicians who made it big in Chicago or Memphis had little contact with one another. Few had much contact with government, and “bureaucrat” was a dirty word for all. So was “social engineering.” Nor had the schools and universities that formed yesterday’s upper crust imposed a single orthodoxy about the origins of man, about American history, and about how America should be governed. All that has changed.
- (5) Canadian Politics: A Craven Political Culture sSwung the Election for Canada's PM , Yuanyi Zhu, Unherd.com (September 20, 2021):
It’s hard to say when Mr Trudeau went from international golden boy to punch-line to an unfunny joke: was it the novelty socks? Was it his fancy dress-wearing and terrorist-hosting trip to India? Was it the blackface? Was it his groping of a woman? Was it him dressing down a woman who had said “mankind” instead of “peoplekind”?
And those are only the scandals the rest of the world cared about. For every instance of over-enthusiasm in the makeup and wardrobe department, there was a corresponding ethics scandal, or possible attempt to pervert the course of justice, or political prosecution of a senior military leader, or cover–up of sexual assault, or… you get the idea. Mr Trudeau might come across as a naïf on the international stage, but he is the heir to a Liberal Party whose ruthlessness and ability to distribute the right amount of patronage and pork barrel to the right provinces has made it into one of the Western world’s most successful political organisations.
- (6) "Federal Protection of 'Oath Keepers' Kingpin Stewart Rhodes Breaks the Entire Capitol 'Insurrection' Lie Wide Open," Revolver.news (June 30, 2021):
The Justice Department argues that Stewart Rhodes both substantially organized and activated an imputed plan to use violence, on 1/6, in real-time, through a series of encrypted Signal messages beginning at 1:38 p.m., as Trump concluded his rally speech on the National Mall, and 62 minutes before Oath Keepers lieutenants allegedly formed a “military stack” to rush the Capitol doors.
These facts alone, as alleged, are more than legally sufficient to secure an indictment of Stewart Rhodes. We will walk you through the mountains of direct and circumstantial evidence built on top of these allegations, but readers must understand this: the only reason Stewart Rhodes is not in jail *right now* is because of a deliberate decision by the Justice Department to protect him.
- (7) "We Should Ask the Modellers to Prove Their Models Can Accurately Predict the Future Before Following Their Advice Again," The Daily Skeptic, Dr. David Livermore: (24 October 2021):
Medics, nurses, physios, medical lab scientists, and clinical scientists all must demonstrate competency to be licensed. There is no such regulation for modellers. Yet their advice, adopted by the Government, affects millions whereas a bad doctor can only harm one patient at a time. ... Examine the graph. Then, USING ONLY DATA AVAILABLE UP TO JULY 1891 (i.e., as far into the 1889-94 pandemic as we presently are with COVID) devise a mathematical model (not a qualitative speculation) to account for the peaks up to that date and to predict the size, timing and duration of the two subsequent peaks. Explain why there were no further peaks after 1894. ... In the meantime, let us have no more talk of lockdowns until modellers can prove their skills and competency by showing how the death waves of a previous pandemic could have been predicted accurately. They will find numerous relevant pre-July 1891 articles in the BMJ and the Lancet among other sources.
- (8) "Memphis Center for Reproductive Health v. Slatery dissent," Judge Amul Roger Thapar, 6th Circuit (2021):
Let’s start with the common law. It is never good to find yourself disagreeing on the common law with Chief Justice Sir Edward Coke, Sir William Blackstone, Henry de Bracton, Sir Matthew Hale, and William Hawkins. And these preeminent jurists have all illuminated the common law’s unwavering view of abortion as the unlawful killing of a human being. Yet the Roe majority brushed each of them aside.
- (9) " Estate Planning: to My Vampire, if Any," by Steven M. Silva (May 25, 2011):
A vampire, as we are all aware, is a reanimated dead person (commonly referred to as undead). By operation of law, once a person has died they no longer own their property. The vampire who “wakes up” may be rudely surprised to learn that the house they have reanimated in does not belong to them. It belongs to the estate of their former human self. This poses a grave problem. A vampire may well consider himself to be the same person who died. It is manifestly problematic to say that such a person no longer owns their chattels and real property.
- (10) "Importing Enemies," Michael Anton, The American Mind (8.30.2021):
Does anyone really believe that America has, or ever had—even over the duration of two decades—200,000 “allies” in Afghanistan? That we ever employed even a fraction of that number as translators? The claim is risible on its face. The regime has in any case already admitted that, of the roughly 111,600 Afghans (as compared to 5,400 American citizens) already evacuated, it has no idea who the vast majority of them are.
- (11) "Rush Limbaugh: Simply the Best", Townhall.com, Larry O'Connor (Feb 17, 2021):
Rush's critics always... always misunderstood him. Maybe it was purposeful. Rush's critics always depicted him as an angry flame-thrower ranting into his microphone and giving marching orders to his army of ignorant, brainwashed minions. They couldn't be more wrong about all of that. Rush was always smiling... and he was always funny. And he wasn't giving us marching orders by telling us what to think. It was, in fact, the very opposite. Rush wasn't telling us what to think; he was articulating what we already believed. He was just the first to come along and respect us for our views, told us he shared them, and then he used his talents (on loan from God) to crystalize those ideas and articulate them in a clever, succinct, and entertaining way.
- (12) "Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left (Roger Scruton)," Charles Haywood, Worthy House blog (January 17, 2017):
Traditional liberalism was distinguished by, as James Burnham analyzed it, its view of the nature of man: “liberalism believes man’s nature to be not fixed but changing, with an unlimited or at any rate indefinitely large potential for positive development.” This is in contradiction to traditional, conservative views of the imperfection and imperfectability of man—and of society. But it does not imply the conclusions of the New Left, as we will see. Most importantly, the New Left rejects this incremental perfectibility, exchanging it for a doctrine of phase change, like water to ice, where utopia arises spontaneously and in an instant through the correct application of abstract principles cooked up in the writings of intellectuals.
- "England, Your England," Part I of "The Lion and the Unicorn" by George Orwell.
- "The Real War on Science: The Left has done far more than the Right to set back progress," John Tierney, City Journal (2016).
- "Woke Institutions is Just Civil Rights Law: Why Conservatives Won't (and Can't) Fight for Influence, and What to Do About It," Richard Hanania (2021). On how the radical left captured the corporations.
"Handy Statistical Lexicon" by Andrew Gelman.
- "The Foundationalist Manifesto: The Politics of Future Past," Charles Haywood.
- Charles Haywood review of Frieden's The Feminine Mystique. "It’s not just women, though—only a tiny segment of men have a job that offers real accomplishment, “the life of mind and spirit,” either. The job does not give them fulfillment; it is a means to their real method of fulfillment, providing for and protecting their family."
- "Secrets Of The Great Families," SlateStarCodex (2021).
- (2) "Counting on Counties: How the Creation of Three Thousand Counties Shaped Local Government Across America," William A. Fischel, Dartmouth College (April 2021):
The proliferation of counties that resulted concluded a century ago, and counties settled into three regional roles: near irrelevance in the North, default local governments in the West, and instruments of state control in the South.