David Barrowclough (Cambridge): The Wonderful Discovery of Witches' Unearthing the Occult: Necromancy and Magic in Seventeenth-Century England. A neo-Darwinian — yet apparently value-free — approach to studying English society: Krishan Kumar reviews Very Different, but Much the Same: The Evolution of English Society Since 1714 by W G Runciman. Is debt really that bad? Jaume Ventura and Hans-Joachim Voth on the towering debts, rapid tax hikes, and constant state of war that led to Britain’s Industrial Revolution, showing that the devil is in the detail when assessing sovereign debt. Tony Quinn on John Bull and its famous Bullets prize competitions. Harriet Ward (Sussex): “While the Unemployment of the 1930s was Still Regarded as a Tragedy, that of the 1980s was not”: How and Why did the Perception of Unemployment Change Under Thatcher? Fear in those blue eyes: David Runciman reviews Margaret Thatcher: The Authorised Biography Vol. II: Everything She Wants by Charles Moore.

Andrew Iliadis (Purdue): The Right to Nonparticipation for Global Digital Citizenship. Sara Lipton on the words that killed medieval Jews. Why can’t anyone agree on the definition of “domestic terrorism”? Americans attracted to ISIS find an “echo chamber” on social media. Should doctors operate on intersex babies? M.C. was born with ambiguous genitalia, a rare condition that doctors addressed with surgery; now, in a landmark lawsuit, M.C.’s parents are challenging the medical mainstream — why does a surgeon decide what sex a child should be? Paul Ryan’s beard triggers a style debate. Erik Malinowski on the funky little football phone that sold a million magazines: In the late ‘80s, a mid-level marketing guy at Sports Illustrated wondered, “Could you put a phone inside a football?”, and the answer was a resounding — and industry-changing — yes.

Yaacov Yadgar (Bar-Ilan): Traditionism. Xavier Marquez (Victoria): An Epistemic Argument for Conservatism. Aaron Edlin (Berkeley): Conservatism and Switcher’s Curse. They want America to fail: The Tea Party far Right hates the GOP — and their own country. Aram Bakshian Jr. reviews The Conservative Rebellion by Richard Bishirjian. Tony Sobrado on the paradox of conservative political philosophy in contemporary America. Peter Berkowitz on the right way forward for conservatism: Despite the rise of Donald Trump and big Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage and Obamacare, Republicans can get out of their funk if they unite around what’s best in the conservative tradition. Jonah Goldberg on fusionism, 60 years later. Cheerfully insane National Review music video is Oh Sweet Jesus!

James Hankins (Harvard): George of Trebizond, Renaissance Libertarian? The most misunderstood libertarian: Alberto Mingardi reviews Herbert Spencer: Legacies, ed. Mark Francis and Michael Taylor. An interview with David D. Friedman on his vision of the state and how he feels it can be pushed back. The hostile response to Paul Mason’s Postcapitalism raises a question: Why are rightists economic optimists? Chris Dillow on the sad death of free market pessimism. Jorg Spieker reviews Engaging Enemies: Hayek and the Left by Simon Griffiths. Can you sustain an economic philosophy solely by begging the question? Matt Bruenig wonders.

When it comes to foreign policy, the GOP’s candidates for president in 2016 are either ignorant or insane. Doug Ahler and David Broockman on how Donald Trump is a textbook example of an ideological moderate. Britney Summit-Gil on radicals, revolutionaries, and the Trumpization of the great American middle. GOP contenders prep for loud, ugly holiday season: Trump will “ruin Christmas for America”, says a Rubio consultant. Andrew Prokop asked 6 pollsters if Trump could win the general election — here’s what they said. Nate Cohn on how Donald Trump could win, and why he probably won’t. Adele Stan on the Chaos Party: If you find comfort in the notion of a Republican Party in disarray, you may wish to reconsider.

Sonia Silva (Skidmore): Political Evil: Witchcraft from the Perspective of the Bewitched. Bring back antitrust: Despite low inflation and some bargain prices, economic concentration and novel abuses of market power are pervasive in today's economy — harming consumers, workers, and innovators; we need a new antitrust for a new predatory era. Adam Johnson on how CNN’s debate on “terror” omitted the kind that kills the most Americans. Rebecca Traister on the election and the death throes of white male power. Jamie Raskin on Bush vs. Gore’s ironic legal legacy: “When the Supreme Court has intervened in the electoral process, it's been to subvert voting equality”. Jared Bernstein how facts don’t do what they want them to. Ben Yagoda on “shall”, “should”, and the fate of the Earth. Jim Kerstetter on why some start-ups are called tech companies and others are not.

From The Chronicle, scholars of gun violence describe their lonely battles: Two university researchers say they’re optimistic that their work will have long-term benefits — but the sometimes-vitriolic response they receive can be deeply frustrating; Eric Kelderman on how guns on campus became a live issue in Wisconsin; don’t make me part of your gun culture: Linda Van Ingen, a historian facing active-shooter defense training, resents how the burden of violence is being placed on educators; and Margaret Olin on how fear might affect grades: An instructor wonders whether the likelihood of concealed guns in her classroom would make her go easy on certain students (and more). College instructor apologizes after leaving a gun in his classroom. A committee at the University of Texas at Austin has recommended that the university allow people with concealed-handgun permits to carry their guns in classrooms (and more). A look at how states expanded gun rights after Sandy Hook school massacre. Thresholds of violence: Malcolm Gladwell on how school shootings spread. Ana Swanson on why violence is so contagious.