A new issue of Studies of Transition States and Societies is out. Simeon Mitropolitski (Montreal): Bounded Generalizations Revisited: Is the Post-Communist Area a World in Reverse? M.D. Aeschliman on how the Poles saved civilization (and part 2). A central European powerhouse: Poland has become the most astonishing success story in Eastern Europe. Francis Tapon on six enviable traits from Eastern Europe (and more). The price of reunification is $3.5 billion: Is the choice for Moldova to let go of Transdniester or pay off the region’s huge debt to Gazprom? Diana Toma on the appalling situation of Romania’s institutionalized children, from Ceausescu to today. Is there a dictatorship in the EU? Andrew Arato wonders. As Albanians deal with the more-than-700,000 bunkers built by Enver Hoxha, for some it’s a squaring of accounts with communism; for others it’s the deal of a lifetime. Unlike the Slovaks, the Czechs' easy ride since the Velvet Divorce has led to hubris before Europe. What comes to mind when you think of Croatia? You may not think of it at first, but Zagreb is on its way to being considered an important alternative cultural hub.
A new issue of Regulation is out. Simon Springer (Victoria): War and Pieces. Jason Kunen (Haverford): Understanding Zen Through Martial Practice: Spiritual Attainment in the Martial Arts. From The New Atlantis, Robert Zubrin on the population control holocaust: An excerpt from Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism; love, Yiddish, and the problem of bioethics: Darren J. Beattie on science and our erotic longing for knowledge; and psychotherapy and the pursuit of happiness: Ronald W. Dworkin on the fraught path from Freud to friendship. Justice Neal Boortz? Just what the Georgia Supreme Court needs — a draft-dodging, race-baiting dissembler who wants to do away with trials and have summary executions on Atlanta streets. Was Napoleon Bonaparte a Frenchman, Corsican, Italian, or Moor?
Ezra Rosser (American): Poverty Offsetting. From The American Prospect, a special issue on poverty. Dylan Matthews on poverty in the 50 years since The Other America, in five charts. The sharp, sudden decline of America's middle class: They had good, stable jobs until the recession hit — now they're living out of their cars in parking lots. From Alternet, job insecurity: It's the disease of the 21st century — and it's killing us. From Boston Review, a symposium on the impact of wealth on government, with contributions by Larry Bartels, Matthew Yglesias, Mark Schmitt, Nancy Rosenblum, Archon Fung, and more. The ideological attack on job creation: Marty Wolfson on responding to anti-government arguments. The great disparity: William Julius Wilson reviews The Great Divergence by Timothy Noah and Coming Apart by Charles Murray. Erik Loomis on eight ways America's headed back to the robber-baron era. An interview with Joseph Stiglitz on the fallacy that the top 1 percent drives innovation, and why the Reagan Administration was America’s inequality turning point. Robert Putnam says class now trumps race as the great divide in America.
A new issue of Numeracy is out. Donald J. Kochan (Chapman): You Say You Want a (Nonviolent) Revolution, Well Then What? Translating Western Thought, Strategic Ideological Cooptation, and Institution Building for Freedom for Governments Emerging Out of Peaceful Chaos. The first chapter from The Politics of Precaution: Regulating Health, Safety, and Environmental Risks in Europe and the United States by David Vogel. From The American Conservative, Ron Unz on race, IQ, and wealth: What the facts tell us about a taboo subject. Classic Gopnik: Why he aspires to be the “rococo, Jewish, city-bound, Canadian E.B. White”. From Big Questions Online, what is it to be intellectually humble? There are three executive-branch departments whose constitutionality is dubious at best. A review of Mercenaries, Pirates, Bandits, and Empires: Private Violence in Historical Context.
From Smithsonian, a series of articles on futurism. From New Scientist, a series of articles on 100,000 AD: Living in the deep future; and the more optimistic we are about the future of our species the better we can focus on today's challenges. If there's a common trope about "futurism," it's that it gets everything wrong. What kinds of developmental thresholds would any planet of sentient beings pass through? Kevin Kelly on the next transitions in the Technium. Time goes inside the mind of futurist Ray Kurzweil. From io9, Lauren Davis on how our predictions for the Year 2000 changed throughout the 20th Century. Spotting the future is an art — Wired asks eight of their favorite visionaries for their techniques. Are we creating the future by predicting it? Rachel Marone wonders. Jeffrey Israel on the morality of the future. Welcome to the future: Will tomorrow's technology help or hurt us? Welcome to the Future Nauseous: We live in a continuous state of manufactured normalcy. Was Bertrand Russell a futurist? Ben Goertzel on radical futurism for newbies: A brief reading list.
A new issue of OnEarth is out. SpearIt (SLU): Why Obama is Black: Language, Law and Structures of Power. From Infoshop, Chris Knight on Noam Chomsky: Politics or science? The Drowning Child: Jeremy Stangroom has put together a new interactive activity that’s based on Peter Singer’s “Famine, Affluence & Morality”. The pathos of the plutocrat: The very rich don’t just have more money — they expect a level of deference the Average Joe never experiences, and that has become a major factor in America’s politics. The answer a lot of philosophers give to “You didn’t build that!” is, “All right, so what?” — which is perhaps why, in general, politicians don’t spend a lot of time listening to philosophers. Cultural struggles: Duncan McEachern Yoon is for an alternative modernity based on transnational solidarity and an affirmation of a non-exploitative global consciousness.
From H-Net, a review of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in the Course of History: Exchange and Conflicts. Must civilizations clash? Barry Gewen reviews Just and Unjust Peace: An Ethic of Political Reconciliation by Daniel Philpott. From National Catholic Register, “true Christianity is a persecuted Christianity”: An interview with Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda of the Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese of Erbil in northern Iraq. From Christian Century, the clash that wasn’t: Somehow, newspapers never publish banner headlines announcing "World's Largest Muslim State Fails to Persecute Christians"; and whose holy ground? If a given sacred site was once pagan, then Christian, then Muslim, then again Christian, the most painless solution would seem to be to accept present realities. From Changing Lenses, an article on Muslims in a “Judeo-Christian culture”. An interview with Robert F. Shedinger, author of Was Jesus a Muslim?: Questioning Categories in the Study of Religion. Entitled Christian Syndrome: Singing “Our God Is Greater” might make God seem less great.
A new issue of Google’s Think Quarterly is out. Richard L. Kaplan (Illinois): Top Ten Myths of Medicare. Vanilla = boring? No way: Real vanilla is the second most expensive spice after saffron — its flavor is as delicate as its story is fascinating. Okay, but this is going to hurt: It's veep-vetting season, and it's the most invasive process in politics. From Not So Reviews, Andreas Kirkinis on why Hollywood romance is cancer for the soul; Naomi Upton on why weak female characters have to go; and Todd Lam on why video game films are always bad; and what do you get when society runs out of ideas? Courtney Greatrex wonders. A review of Beauty Will Save the World: Recovering the Human in an Ideological Age by Gregory Wolfe. Economist Kimberly Clausing finds herself in the political cross hairs. You can download How to Predict the Future and WIN!!! by Eric Garland.
Robert Leider (Yale): Our Non-Originalist Right to Bear Arms: How Public Opinion Has Shaped the Second Amendment. Reid Golden (Minnesota): Loaded Questions: A Suggested Constitutional Framework for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Clayton E. Cramer (Western Idaho) and Joseph Olson (Hamline): Knives and the Second Amendment. David B. Kopel (Denver): The Great Gun Control War of the 20th Century — And its Lessons for Gun Laws Today. The deadly shooting in Aurora, Colorado is a tragedy — so why don’t we want anything good to come out of it? We’re sorry that 12 people had to die — but we aren’t sorry enough to lift a finger to prevent it from happening again. Where US gun culture meets segregation: Gated communities for the lower middle classes as well as the rich are little frontier towns with their own sheriffs, suspicious of every outsider. Do the suburbs make you selfish? Urban areas have begun to outpace the growth of suburbs — could that be good for America's social ecology? The loneliness scare: Claude Fischer why isolation isn’t a growing problem.