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I am wont, in these days of political turmoil, to find myself lying awake in the empty hours of the night. At such times I often read and reread the columns of Lewis Lapham. This is not only because of his consummate skill as a writer of short essays, but also because his writing from the 1980s, through the early noughties, functions like a sort of core sample of American culture. (More…)

As 2016 comes to an end, we’re hearing a lot of talk about the end of liberal politics, and even democracy itself, after the UK voted for Brexit and Donald Trump won the US election. These two events seem to capture the year. (More…)

At the first glance, and even when longer survey has been made, both Paris and Berlin — and these may stand as the representative Continental cities — seem to offer every possible facility for the work of women. (More…)

France is lost. Or so it would appear if you read the country’s newspapers regularly. Marine Le Pen will be the next president. The Socialists can only give in to the banks. Racism is the new norm. Emergency powers have become permanent. The only alternative is fascism. (More…)

Rebel-held Aleppo was the first casualty of President-elect Donald Trump’s emerging world order. Annia Ciezadlo explains what to expect next in Syria. (More…)

If Mecca is the most holy site in Islam, Germany assumes a similar significance for fascists. So ferocious were the talkbacks on right-wing websites following Monday’s attack on a Berlin Christmas market, it was as though a pig had been set loose in a mosque. (More…)

The 2016 presidential race left America more polarized than ever. Also affected were US Jews, not least by an unnerving resurgence of anti-Semitism in the wake of the Trump campaign, which was stoked, many claim, by senior advisor Steve Bannon and the extremist right-wing ideologues of his alt-right base. (More…)

For certain crimes mankind has ordained penalties of exceptional severity, in order to emphasise a general abhorrence. In Rome, for example, a parricide, or the murderer of any near relation, was thrown into deep water, tied up in a sack together with a dog, a cock, a viper, and a monkey, which were probably symbols of his wickedness, and must have given him a lively time before death supervened. (More…)

For moderate, unarmed rebels, as well as anyone wanted by the government, the rapid and brutal offensive to retake east Aleppo is a sign of what’s to come elsewhere in Syria. (More…)

I have, from time to time, been wont to quote the opening passage of Horkheimer and Adorno’s Dialectic of Enlightenment. It is perhaps the most compelling statement of the deeply unsettling character of the modern world. “Enlightenment, understood in the widest sense as the advance of thought, has always aimed at liberating human beings from fear and installing them as masters.” (More…)

The Russian government may or may not have been the source of the Wikileaks revelations that hurt Clinton electorally to an unknown degree. Some sources in the CIA think so, or want us to think so. The Obama Administration, Clinton’s supporters, and large parts of the press concur. Other sources disagree in varying ways. (More…)

Nationalist parties are funny things. As convention would have it, they’re platforms for narcissism. Vote for us because we’re about your superiority, is their message. Particularly when it comes to ethnicity, and class. (More…)