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Month: July 2021

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Artificial Intelligence Can’t Solve the Knowledge Problem

The only reliable method we have found to aggregate preferences, abilities, and efforts is the free market. Through the price system, it aligns incentives with information revelation. This method is not perfect, and its outcomes are often unsatisfactory. Nevertheless, like democracy, all the other alternatives, including “digital socialism,” are worse.

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How to Build Your Own Renaissance

The historical parallels between fourteenth-century Europe and our own times can be useful in our current civilizational crisis. Petrarch aimed to create a new synthesis between classical and Christian civilization, to use the resources of antiquity to heal the spiritual diseases of his own time. What he and his followers created over the next century and a half is known to historians as the Renaissance, the rebirth of antiquity. It followed a formula that can still work today.

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In Defense of Common Good Originalism

Many key constitutional clauses were drafted as compromise provisions intended to win over the members of intensely warring intellectual and political tribes. This ought to cut strongly in favor of a dispositional humility about an interpreter’s ability to definitively discern the most accurate original meanings of these clauses. In these situations, statesmen ought to err on the side of certain substantive ideals of natural justice, human flourishing, and the common good.

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The Bad History of Common Good Originalism

Common-good originalism’s historical understanding of the Constitution’s adoption is perhaps its weakest link. The Constitution emerged from a negotiated consensus of a complex popular sovereign—a fact that ought to reinforce a judge’s commitment to the written text.

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Common Sense Conservatism: An Interview with Tennessee Governor Bill Lee

Used to be the Democrats called themselves the “Party of the Little Guy.” Today, I think that’s us. As the Democrats move farther and farther to the left, I think they’re scaring normal people. If their party keeps acting crazy, scaring regular people, and we don’t—if we just act on principle with a smile on our face, articulating a vision that allows Americans to thrive, while they keep pushing the latest idea from the Harvard Faculty Lounge—well, I think our vision will win out.

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The Decadence of Economics

Economics today is a decadent discipline, with a rich legacy but atrophied creativity. Uncredentialed economists and maverick academics offer the best hope for reviving worthwhile economics.

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How NOT to Read: Learning from A Confederacy of Dunces

The trick of John Kennedy Toole’s novel is that it draws you into the story with its comedy without requiring you to consciously assess the disjointedness of the protagonist’s way of reading the world. Even without stepping back and intellectualizing the problem, you learn how not to read by experiencing Reilly’s inept ways of reading and living.

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Feminism’s Last Battle

We are witnessing a kind of last battle, a feminist Armageddon that will determine whether feminism, as a movement centered upon the wellbeing of women and girls, will endure into the future or self-immolate. Only a return to realism can provide a stable definition of woman, the requisite ground for effective feminism.

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Big Tech and the Battle for Republican Liberty

Control of public deliberation and political action in America is quickly passing into the hands of an unelected oligarchy. To truly break the tyranny of Big Tech, Josh Hawley and his allies may need to drop the Jeffersonian fig leaf and forthrightly embrace a contemporary revival of Hamiltonian republicanism.

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What the French Can Teach Americans About the Electoral College

Pitting as it does two different conceptions of popular sovereignty against each other, the debate over the Electoral College is a proxy for a more fundamental debate over what kind of regime should govern America. The history of French republicanism teaches that the closer Americans come to changing the way they elect their president, the closer they come to regime change.

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The Art of the Question

A seminar should lead students into exploring a great work, rather than presuming to master it. This may reawaken the intention of contemplation. In the end, happiness is species of contemplation, and—as Aristotle shockingly reveals—everyone wants to be happy.

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The Bookshelf: Summer Experiments and Attempts

Summer—a time of lounging in a shaded hammock between two trees, or under a beach umbrella—is a great time for bite-sized nonfiction. With Public Discourse taking a publishing hiatus for the week following Independence Day, now is a perfect time to stretch out with some small provocation of thought.

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Are Chinese Apps Just Trojan Horses?

The future of warfare will rely heavily on technology, and apps provide the perfect avenues for acts of espionage and targeted disinformation campaigns against the American people. Since the Chinese Communist Party has access to the copious amounts of biometrics, location tracking, conversations, and other personal data collected by apps like TikTok and WeChat, the Biden administration should take action against this serious security threat.

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