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by Ed West
Tuesday, 21
September 2021

Why wokeism won’t rule the world

Tyler Cowen thinks it will be America's next great export — I disagree

Will wokeism rule the world? That’s an interesting (i.e. terrifying) question asked by “the decidedly un-woke” Tyler Cowen.

Writing in Bloomberg, Cowen asks “whether the U.S. will be able to deploy this new intellectual tool for exporting American cultural influence. Put another way: if there is going to be an international progressive class, why not Americanize it?” He continues:

Wokeism is an idea that can be adapted to virtually every country: Identify a major form of oppression in a given region or nation, argue that people should be more sensitive to it, add some rhetorical flourishes, purge some wrongdoers (and a few innocents) and voila — you have created another woke movement.
- Tyler Cowen, Bloomberg
 ...  Continue reading

by Ed West
Thursday, 9
September 2021

Will the Amish take over America?

Historically persecuted religious sects are winning the demographic war
Most Amish communities don’t allow phones in their homes, but it’s not because they think phones are inherently evil and ban them completely. They often have shared phone booths at the end of the street to use when necessary and at their places of work. They just don’t have phones in the home because they believe it will take away from the purposes of a home — things like family bonding, chores, and recreation.
- David Larson

So writes David Larson in Crisis magazine, examining the rapid growth of a community which has doubled in size in just 20 years. There are now 350,000 Amish in the United States, and their demographic growth shows no real sign of letting up.

The Amish are notorious for their restrictive lifestyles, with their communities essentially functioning ‘off the grid’. Having two tweenage daughters and becoming increasingly aware of the sheer evil that is TikTok, this all sounds pretty sensible to me. If only they’d change their rules about booze I might sign up.

Groups like the Amish are notable for their continued growth as a sect, even as wider America has seen a sharp drop in church attendance, particularly amongst the younger cohort. This change has almost certainly played a part in radicalisation both on Left and Right: socially isolated Republicans as well as self-identified liberals are far more likely to find meaning in politics than religion. ...  Continue reading

by Ed West
Monday, 6
September 2021

Why I’m not renewing my Irish passport

Hilary Mantel may want to become European again, but I don't

As children my mother insisted that we have Irish passports. This was not so much to gain a small victory over my English father but out of a neurotic belief that, if the plane we were on was hijacked, we’d be released early as neutrals.

This was the 1970s, and obviously by the 21st century the dynamics of terrorism had changed. Now, if your plane was hijacked an Irish passport probably isn’t going to be of much use either way.

But having a green passport (as they were once were) can still be extremely useful, because around the world the Irish are loved as warm, charming and banterous folk while the English are viewed as cold-blooded Charles Dance types who at some point probably invaded your country. ...  Continue reading

by Ed West
Tuesday, 17
August 2021

How high fertility rates drove Afghanistan’s tragedy

State stability can depend on how many young men are in a population

One of the most poignant things about visiting the war memorials that dot rural France is the frequent bracketed (II) or even (III) after a surname, indicating that more than one son died defending their homeland against German aggression. France lost a staggering 1.3-1.4 million men in the conflict but perhaps its trauma was worsened by the country’s low fertility: half that of Britain’s in the late 19th century and 50% lower than Prussia’s. Many lost two or three sons but many more French mothers and fathers would have lost their only boy.

In his work on demography, Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?, Eric Kaufmann suggested that Soviet defeat in Afghanistan may have tangentially been related to the country’s very low fertility; Russian mothers became a vocal voice against the conflict, unwilling to sacrifice their only son for this dubious adventure. The average Afghan family in contrast had seven or eight children, and Kaufmann argued that lower fertility makes societies far more war-weary. ...  Continue reading

by Ed West
Tuesday, 10
August 2021

Proof: The progressive revolution arrived before Trump

The proliferation of prejudice words in the media began years earlier

The 2010s were the decade of social media-led revolution. In the Arab world, Facebook helped to spread uprisings which overturned the old order, leading to success in Tunisia, failure in Egypt and tragedy in Syria.

In the US, social media has had almost as big an impact, with American progressive opinion undergoing a rapid shift from about 2013 – whereas the average conservative has changed very little.

It means that Americans on the Left now have self-declared views on race that are more pro-black and pro-immigrant than actual black Americans or immigrants, despite having generally quite ill-informed ideas about race. ...  Continue reading

by Ed West
Monday, 2
August 2021

It’s the Reformation all over again

Today's culture wars pit factions of post-1968 progressives against each other

Back in the olden days of football, Celtic manager Jock Stein said that, if he was offered the choice of two players, one Protestant and one Catholic, he would sign the Protestant “because I know Rangers would never sign the Catholic.” The city’s Protestant club held faster to the tradition of refusing to sign Catholic players, not broken until 1989 with Mo Johnstone.

We call such thinking bigotry today, from the Norman French bigot, an excessively religious person, but during the great religious divide that split Europe for centuries people would have viewed rival interpretations of the faith as genuinely dangerous. If we allowed their faith to proliferate, if we allowed it to be normalised, it would cause genuine harm; we must stop the hate it causes. But in some cases, as with Scotland and Ireland, one side was clearly more fired up by the evils of the other. ...  Continue reading

by Ed West
Monday, 26
July 2021

Nigel Farage is a model ex-politician

The former Ukip leader hasn't disgraced himself, unlike many former PMs

My least populist political opinion is that we should pay MPs £1m a year. Saying that, it would be impossible to raise their salaries because numerous hugely-popular online MPs would wail about nurses and teachers being the real heroes, and get 36,000 retweets.

Money doesn’t solve all problems — but it solves a lot of them, and if you want to raise the prestige or status of a career, paying more is a simple way to do it. Singapore has by the far the best-paid lawmakers in the world, and so Singaporean politics attracts the very brightest people, and the city-state is extremely well run. Intelligence doesn’t bestow honesty or humanity, but on average a group of very intelligent people will make better decisions than a team of men on the street. ...  Continue reading

by Ed West
Tuesday, 13
July 2021

What would victory have meant for England? Very little

Sporting wins rarely — if at all — portend a golden age

If you’re still feeling sad, it’s probably because your testosterone level dropped by up to 20% following Sunday’s defeat.

Oh well. If there’s any consolation to be had, at least we have been spared The Discourse that tends to greet sporting victory. How this will change everything.

Back in 1998 there was huge amount of such commentary after France won the World Cup at home. Les Bleus were the first great multi-racial national team in Europe, and the World Cup winning side had players from a variety of backgrounds, from the Norman Emmanuel Petit, clearly a descendent of Rollo, to stars of Caribbean, Maghrebi and black African descent, the team of Thierry Henry, Zinedine Zidane, Patrick Vieira and Marcel Desailly. ...  Continue reading

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