"Absent clarity about how to use decentralization to solve some of America's problems, conservative policymakers often find themselves a bit lost. When progressive legislators offer ideas, conservatives either join the centralizing bandwagon in the name of compassion, or demur and appear cold-hearted. When given the chance to advance proposals of their own, they often come up empty, appearing indolent or indifferent. Conservatives need a small-government agenda that consists of more than the promise to roll back federal initiatives and regulations, coupled with the hope that local authorities will step up.
Bringing an energetic, productive form of decentralization to life will entail combining lessons from two extraordinary resources: the scholarship of Nobel laureate Friedrich Hayek and the concept of subsidiarity. Though the former emanates from the classical and Austrian schools of economics and the latter from a branch of communitarian Catholic social thought, both speak to the distribution of authority. Their complementarity is unexpected but illuminating."
"Because of Kenner and Davenport’s shared sense of trust, these letters show both scholars working out their thoughts, unafraid to express ideas that are incomplete, messy, even downright wrong. After Kenner outlined some ideas he wanted to include in one of the books they worked on together, he admitted, “Many of these mutually incompatible, I know. Just stabs in the dark.”
The dashed-off quality of a letter invites such stabs in the dark. In comparison to an essay—which needs a thesis and some sort of structure, and is written over hours, days, weeks, sometimes years—a letter is a half-formed thing, made in the warm lamplight of a moment, and describing nothing definitively except its moment. Whereas an essay is an expression of pride—those of us who write and publish them are either explicitly or implicitly saying, “Here are my thoughts, laid out in a crystallized argument, which I deign to offer up for public consumption”—a letter is a thing of shame, often betraying a writer’s insecurities, uncertainties, eccentricities, contradictions, imperfections, antipathies, and prejudices, unadorned with the normal niceties and lacking any softened edges. “Sorry for all the acid I manage to spill into letters,” Davenport wrote."
asolo altarpiece, main panel: scene of the assumption with st. anthony the abbot and st. louis of toulouse - lorenzo lotto - 1506
"The 2,000-foot-long boom, which arrived at the garbage patch after a voyage of about 1,400 miles, was designed to trap the trash so that it could be returned to shore. The Ocean Cleanup’s goals were ambitious: 150,000 pounds of plastic in Year 1, with more booms to follow. Within five years, the group hoped, half the debris would be collected.
But on Monday, the organization said that in a routine inspection over the weekend, it found that an end-section of the boom almost 60 feet long — 18 meters — had detached. The boom will be taken back to shore as soon as weather allows, the group said."
"One wouldn’t expect Dalrymple to be mentioned alongside the Marxist mystic Walter Benjamin, but I believe that Benjamin’s essay “The Storyteller” can help us to better understand the value of Dalrymple’s book. In the essay, Benjamin writes that “The storyteller takes what he tells from experience—his own or that reported by others. And he in turn makes it the experience of those who are listening to his tale. The novelist has isolated himself. The birthplace of the novel is the solitary individual, who is no longer able to express himself by giving examples of his most important concerns, is himself uncounseled, and cannot counsel others.”
Which of course takes us back to Dalrymple’s experiences as a doctor and how he uses them. He’s a storyteller, and so his fictions brush up against the hard edge of a lived reality, striking a still pose halfway between fairy tale and morality play. They orient us towards something fundamental that Dalrymple has experienced in his own life. They create communion, then, in a shared core element of human life."
"Archaeologists in Mexico say they have found the first temple dedicated to a deity called the Flayed Lord, an important god in the Aztec Empire whose worshipers were said to wear the skin of sacrificial victims.
Artifacts related to the god were found in the central state of Puebla, at a site built by the Popoloca people, Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History said in a statement on Wednesday. The Popolocas built in the area over several centuries, beginning around A.D. 900, and were assimilated into the sprawling Aztec kingdom."
"For all the iconoclastic destruction of symbolic representations of the past, such as Yale changing the name of its residential dorms or Princeton students demanding the removal of Woodrow Wilson’s name from various buildings, the question always remains: why stop there? Isn’t the school itself—its organizational structure as much as its architecture—tainted by its legacy? Indeed, aren’t most university campuses memorials writ large for oppressors past? Why not demand an entirely new school? Or no school at all?
The most interesting aspect of campus faux radicalism isn’t the charge that they’ve “gone too far” but interpreting what it means that they stop where they do. Objects are destroyed. Demands are leveled. But the institution itself rolls along, usually metastasizing. What this suggests is that the drama of these protests unfolds along a predetermined course and the ends it serves are radical in name only. In tying the logic of the campus protest so tightly to the university system itself—making demands that only the university can answer to, usually granting the administration with even more power in order to arbitrate the problems of the day and meet the demands of the students—what this campus unrests serves to actually do is expand the authority and power of the university itself."