Some stuff I wrote and some stuff other people wrote
I have a few pieces published this week that I want to share:
For Tablet Magazine, I reported on the American version of Canada’s Freedom Convoy, and how it’s a working class movement, even if the media will never admit it.
Also for Tablet, I traced the cultural origins of the radical split in the way Americans view individual freedom and government authority, a divide we’ve seen manifested over the last year in the political wars over vaccine mandates. Behind this deep fissure in American public life are the diametrically opposed political philosophies of the Puritan settlers of New England and the American Scotch-Irish who populated the Appalachians in the colonial era.
For Unherd, I reported on why American cities have failed so miserably at managing drug addiction and untreated mental illness. It’s not because we’ve overpoliced these problems, as progressives believe. It’s because the police have no legal ability to do anything about it.
More for paying subscribers below…
Ruy Tuxeira on ‘POC’ slippage from the Democratic Party
Democrats have long been hemorrhaging white working class voters, not so much because they’re white as because the party has simply been losing working class voters altogether, and the majority of them happen to be Caucasian.
To make up the loss, Dems have had to rely on the strategy of driving up the margins of non-white voters. But unfortunately, they’re losing a lot of those voters, too, for all the same reasons they’re losing the white ones.
As anyone who actually interacts with working people on a regular basis is intuitively aware, non-white workers, it turns out, aren’t myopically fixated on racial justice issues. Nor are Latino voters obsessed with immigration. Here’s Ruy Tuxeira in a post that’s worth your time to read:
The assumption seemed to be that all nonwhites as “people of color” share a perception of America as a fundamentally racist society and are committed enough to transformative progressive programs to overlook their everyday difficulties.
That has turned out not to be the case. Nonwhite voters are far more pragmatic and far less ideological than that view implied. This is particularly true of working class nonwhites who persistently show less support for Democrats and standard liberal positions than their college-educated counterparts.
What nonwhite voters want is effective governance, safe communities, improved living standards and a normally-functioning society. Those take precedence over ideological commitments.
None of this will be news to most people who subscribe to this Substack, but Tuxeira consistently puts the data behind what’s obvious to many but apparently completely lost on Democratic politicians and activists.
Michael Shellenberger on the one culprit behind Russian geopolitical dominance we’re not talking about: Treehuggers
My friend and collaborator Mike Shellenberger wrote this outstanding piece for Bari Weiss on how decades of Green Party fanaticism in Europe has achieved the opposite of all of its stated goals: it has increased fossil fuel reliance, made electricity more expensive, and diminished energy independence. How did environmentalists fail so spectacularly? By targeting European nuclear power plants for closure.
Germany, in particular, has exchanged its domestic nuclear capacity for increased dependency on Russian oil, since renewables are simply too feeble to make up the difference. That has helped strengthen Putin while making the continent less prepared to retaliate against his aggression (though through some truly impressive EU resolve, European leaders have managed to push past that problem).
I just finished reading Michael’s book Apocalypse Never, and am now nuke-pilled. The solution to climate change is nuclear. The remedy for American embroilment in the Middle East is nuclear. The way to cripple the Putin regime is for the world to re-embrace nuclear. And yet for generations, the environmental movement has been done everything it can to demonize and destroy the nuclear energy option, for entirely specious reasons.
Mike’s Substack is well worth subscribing to if you don’t already.
Don’t sleep on Twitter Spaces
For the better part of last night and today, I was glued to something I’ve never seen any use for before: Twitter Spaces. Or one Twitter Space in particular.
For almost 13 hours, a fascinating and freewheeling discussion unfolded on the invasion of Ukraine, with genuine experts (not pundits) speaking extemporaneously and in minute detail about the situation as it unfolded in real time. When Russian forces attacked the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, nuclear engineers from countries all over the world analyzed the situation and debunked the Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minister’s reckless tweet claiming that if the plant “blows up” it would be “10 times larger than Chornobyl!”
The amount of blatant propaganda and disinformation being spread by every party to this war has made it almost impossible to distinguish between reality and hype. This Twitter Space, with the authentic expertise it was somehow able to bring in, and with the format’s inherent transparency and ability for people to fact check each other in real time, provided listeners with an unmediated information stream that they could actually trust.
It made me wonder what other kinds of unfiltered discourse could be generated through Twitter Spaces that can no longer find a home in our increasingly warped, cynical, partisan, ideologically-freighted mass media.
The recording is still up if you want to listen to it. I’m hoping this wasn’t a fluke and that many other Spaces will arise to take on this vital role.