Author: anthony

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Appalachia Is a Place, Not Just a Backwater

I used to envy my friends with cultural connections to the country their families immigrated from. The traditions, cultural ties, and general identification for a way of life left behind but still valued enticed me. It continued a rare brand of conservatism that reflected Burke’s definition of society as a...

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Repression By Any Other Name

From “Repression By Any Other Name” by Ariel Dorfman in Guernica: Of course, the U.S. government will continue to spy, no matter what limited and cosmetic restrictions may henceforth be enacted, and of course the criminalization of journalists who question or inform about these activities and methods is bound to increase...

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An American Surveillance Story: Congressional Edition

Does the NSA spy on Congress? “Probably.” Is there a more American way to admit it? The surveillance apparatus has become so sprawling, so all-encompassing, that we can’t get a “yes,” but a “we collect so much data, it’s hard to believe we don’t.” The affirmation might cause the first...

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Lazy Thinking: Problems of Exceptionalism and the Threat of Nationalism

Western tradition gets upheld as a lone bastion of freedom, the shining city on a hill. To make that story plausible, we can argue that, among other things, Western countries uphold conceptions of nationalism that center around individual rights and intermediate institutions which preserved freedom and community. That story falters,...

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10 Essays That Will Improve Your Mind

The following, in no particular order, range across the political, literary, virtuous, and philosophical. They lack a thematic coherence, but capture something valuable in a process, thought, or method. Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson I do not wish to expiate, but to live. My life is for itself and not...

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The Cult of Economic Progress Isn’t Always Progress

I always dismissed “people before profits.” It sounds reactionary, an economically ignorant slogan rather than anything meaningful. Hippies or “artists” living in the city on trust funds from suburban parents shout it at rallies. However, it deserves more than flippant disregard. Uttered in a more nuanced light, it’s a commentary on progress....

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Walter Block and Vladimir Putin: When Reactionary Aversion Blinds Common Sense

In politics, Americans have a penchant for domestic cynicism and foreign naivete. Conservatives write, earnestly and unironically, that Barack Obama wants to destroy America, and liberals warn that the specter of the Koch Brothers threaten democracy in the United States. Such cynical attitudes feed conspiracy theories or comprehend different political...

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On My Visit to Auschwitz

When visiting Auschwitz, the weather should be extreme. Hot and beautiful during the summer, or snowy and miserable during the winter. The contrast should jar the visitor or misery should overwhelm and bring a brief rush of understanding. When I visited Dachau, it was sunny, but cold; not extreme enough....

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In Fusionism Lies Folly: The Tea Party Killed It (Again)

The alliance between conservatives and libertarians, defined as “fusionism” by Frank S. Meyer, gets praised or excoriated every six months (or whenever Rand Paul appears before a camera). Instead of repeating the brilliant writings of Meyer (or some recent entries), I propose a pseudo-empirical review since 2010 and the rise...

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Detroit: An Example of Midwestern Decline, A Reluctant Model for Pension Reform

As Detroit files for bankruptcy, the fate of its pension obligations should grab your attention, as it’ll probably set a precedent. Extraordinarily few governments (on all levels) adequately fund pensions and over-promise on benefits. Complicating that, most states constitutionally guarantee pensions (Michigan included), and how Detroit unites constitutional law with economic...