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It is human nature to wish to ease pain and to stimulate ebbing vitality. There is no normal adult who, experiencing severe pain or sorrow or fatigue, and thoroughly appreciating the immediate action of an easily accessible opiate, is not likely in a moment of least resistance to take it.  (More…)

It ought to be a positive. To have their situation constantly referred to as “the worst crisis since World War II,” today’s refugees ideally ought to be shown the courtesy accorded to persons engulfed in a similar disaster. Why not invoke that era? Aside from the scale of the crisis, it should be an immediate guarantee of empathy, because Europeans all know what the last global conflict was like. (More…)

The refugees are right. Europe is a place to escape to. Never mind the populists and the neo-Nazis. They’re nothing compared to getting shelled every day by artillery, or losing your home to Russian missiles. No matter how hard the journey is, nothing could be worse than remaining in Syria, and Iraq. The Middle East is death. (More…)

The electoral process in the United States fulfills the same sort of morbid curiosity as watching Russian car wreck footage on YouTube. You know there’s no point, but it’s so strange that it’s difficult to look away. (More…)

Even now, long after Donald Trump has ascended to Republican frontrunner for the presidency, people are still talking about him the way they did a year ago, when his candidacy seemed more of a sideshow than a serious threat to politics-as-usual. It’s a state of affairs the man himself seems eager to perpetuate, promoting his brand at the expense of traditional propriety. (More…)

Patriotism was once defined as “the last refuge of a scoundrel”; and somebody has recently remarked that when Dr. Johnson gave this definition he was ignorant of the infinite possibilities contained in the word “reform.” Of course both gibes were quite justifiable, in so far as they were aimed at people who use noble names to cloak base purposes.  (More…)

The 1990s were a drag. In every newspaper and magazine, on radio, and TV, the death of communism was repeatedly proclaimed, as though it were an alien force that had been successfully repulsed by human nature. (More…)

If it wasn’t already clear, Donald Trump’s results in last week’s Super Tuesday primaries illustrates the degree to which he has insinuated himself in American politics. The public sphere in this country is currently brimming over with analyses of what exactly this portends. (More…)

Sometimes, when you get distracted from your distraction, it can all seem like a cruel joke. You have paid a lot of money and will no doubt be paying more, once you factor in souvenirs and sustenance, to pass most of your time standing in line. And you are supposed to be celebrating this purgatory, because this is Disneyland, the self-proclaimed “happiest place on Earth.” (More…)

The power to become habituated to his surroundings is a marked characteristic of mankind. Very few of us realise with conviction the intensely unusual, unstable, complicated, unreliable, temporary nature of the economic organisation by which Western Europe has lived for the last half century.  (More…)

Blame it on the Baby Boomers. No matter where you go, whether it’s Europe or the United States, there will always be a hippie presence on the left. Partially due to generational mass, partially a consequence of the liberal consensus of the 1960s, their imprimatur on progressive politics is inescapable. (More…)

Many people may know the name Boko Haram, but few understand where the group came from. The group originates in Borno state, Nigeria, where its insurgency began in 2009. The Muslim North is home to the poorest of Nigerians, where illiteracy is at its highest, while most of the wealth is concentrated in the Christian South. (More…)