Category: Quillette

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The Case Against Galileo: A Book Excerpt

Galileo’s Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems, Ptolemaic and Copernican was published in Florence in February, 1632. It was well received in scientific circles. But a number of rumors and complaints began emerging and circulating among clergymen and officials, especially in Rome. The most serious complaint was that the

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Why UBI Ought to Appeal to Conservatives

Republicans are traditionally hostile to what they call government “hand-outs.” This is not because they believe people shouldn’t get what they need. Rather, conservatives believe that people should get what they need in the most efficient way possible. Which, to the Republican mind, is almost certainly never going to be

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Religious Progressivism

Almost 40 years ago I read Nikolai Berdyaev’s The Russian Revolution, in which he makes the case that Soviet Communism was essentially a religion in the mould of Christianity, with its concept of original sin (expropriation of labour), priestly class (the Communist Party), The Final Judgement (The Revolution), purification through

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Bereft of Impartial Arbiters

The proximate cause of the US House of Representatives’ decision to invoke articles of impeachment is the president’s decision to make Congressionally authorized military aid for Ukraine conditional on a commitment from Kyiv to pursue investigations into his chief political rival. Trump, in short, has sought (unsuccessfully, thanks to the

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The Art of Mind Control

Everyone by a supreme law of nature is master of his own thoughts.1~Baruch Spinoza It’s the one thing they can’t do. They can make you say anything—anything—but they can’t make you believe it. They can’t get inside you.2~Julia, Nineteen Eighty-Four Those who have read Nineteen Eighty-Four will remember that Julia

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Gates Derangement Syndrome

Is it immoral to be a billionaire? That was the motion before the Oxford Union in a debate held last September, emphatically proposed by the journalist Anand Giridharadas. Billionaires, Giridharadas argued: …find clever new ways to pay people as little as possible and as precariously as possible. They avoid

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The Price of Sex

Working as a photographer for a charity a few years back, I was travelling through Malawi and stopped overnight in a mining town. It was a Wednesday, and I headed out to a bar. Other than a woman serving, everyone else there was male. Some were playing pool. Some were

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