Category: Politics

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Old World Illiberalism: The Fall of Schengen

As Sweden introduces identity checks at the Danish border, the Schengen Area has come under threat, along with the liberalism at the heart of what is valuable within the European Union. Sweden isn’t the first. Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Hungary, Austria, Germany, and Denmark have added checks, controls, and fences to...

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When Museums Obscure History: Eastern Europe and WWII

FBI Director James Comey is taking heat for a speech he gave, reprinted in the Washington Post, that blamed Poland for the Holocaust as well as Germany. Polish officials condemned him and summoned the American ambassador to apologize. However, the scandal should be over the lack over the Polish officials’...

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Talkin’ Praha Blues: Czechoslovak Jazz Under Communism

  Jazz in Czechoslovakia was inspired, experimental, and popular. It was also subversive. The Nazis attempted to regulate jazz, and the communists suppressed it. Jazz threatened basic principles of the totalitarian powers: it was hyper-individualistic, improvisational, and innovative. Josef Skvorecky detailed this in “Red Music,” from Talkin’ Moscow Blues: When the lives...

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Useful Idiots and the Defense of Totalitarians

Why do smart people support dictators? Usually, they don’t defend a murderer, and probably oppose wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or drone strikes in Pakistan. Yet, when a foreign leader opposes “American imperialism” or upholds a socialist vision, all is forgiven. Who needs freedom of speech, a bourgeois virtue that...

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Your Ideology Makes You Lie to Yourself

As we descend into the cave of reality and search for truth, ideology guides our action. Yet, as the mystery in the cave deepens, the ideology we use as a flashlight catches our eyes and blinds us instead of lighting the path. Though I’m skeptical that we can escape the...