- “To the extent that states figure into national histories, they often appear as one-dimensional foils for national state-builders or vehicles for parochialism and bigotry.” (pdf)
- How black America fell out of love with Africa Alden Young, Noema
- The contradictions of classical liberalism Gene Callahan, Modern Age
- Revisiting the collapse of the Soviet Union Christopher Caldwell, American Affairs
Also lingo. And beards.
Why Cuba is having an economic crisis (Noahpinion)
The Language of Totalitarian Dehumanization (Quillette)
On the Cuba events. Governments and protests, now that’s a strained relationship. Talking about the so-called “Second World” countries, Nikita Khrushchev did not even know what booing is, until he encountered it in his visit to London in 1956.
Few years later, during a massive strike in the Russian city of Novocherkassk, a crowd stormed the central police station. Whether it was a genuine assault, or a naive display of defiance from a people inexperienced in protesting, the government’s fearful puzzlement turned to cold, brutal aggression. Unarmed protesters at the center of the city, mistakenly thinking that those days were over, remained steadfast at the face of warnings to disperse. That is, until security forces opened direct fire against them. The ensuing massacre was covered-up for three decades. Since this was an à la Orwell un-event, no high-ranking officials’ records were stained.
Khrushchev’s aloof ignorance strikes a nerve, contrasted with the people’s heartbreaking one. Both glimpses are captured in the brilliant (though somewhat uneven) Red Plenty, by Francis Spufford.
The Greek government, like its French counterpart, is escalating the push for vaccinations. As constitutional scholars argue the limits of state power regarding personal freedom and the public good, historical precedents are brought forth (for the US, c. early 1900s), involving mandatory vaccinations, quarantines and discrimination. The discussion draws from equal protection of the laws jurisprudence and smoothly led me to Yick Wo v. Hopkins (1886):
The decision set a milestone and has been cited some 150 times.
The backdrop of the case is rich. As it turns out,
An 1880 ordinance of the city of San Francisco required all laundries in wooden buildings to hold a permit issued by the city’s Board of Supervisors. The board had total discretion over who would be issued a permit. Although workers of Chinese descent operated 89 percent of the city’s laundry businesses, not a single Chinese owner was granted a permit.Oyez
The regulation was one in a series of many that reflected the anti-immigrant (especially anti-Chinese) sentiment, following the influx due to the Gold Rush (1849).
A particularly badass line, from the unanimous opinion authored by Justice Stanley Matthews, shows that the Court did not hold back:
Though the law itself be fair on its face and impartial in appearance, yet, if it is applied and administered by public authority with an evil eye and an unequal hand, so as practically to make unjust and illegal discriminations between persons in similar circumstances, material to their rights, the denial of equal justice is still within the prohibition of the Constitution.
- Biden turns up the heat on America’s cold wars Connor Freeman, Libertarian Institute
- Anarchy, security, and changing material contexts (pdf) Daniel Deudney, Security Studies
- Leningrad’s rock scene was pretty damn cool Coilin O’Connor, Radio Free Europe
- Nations within states and the future of history (pdf) Anthony Reid, ARI WP
- Behind the Iron Curtain: Soviet space art (gallery) Kadish Morris, Guardian
- The year I left the Soviet Union Alex Halberstadt, New Yorker
- Free speech, libel, and privacy rights Mark Hemmingway, RealClearPolitics
- 8 out of 10 Texans already live in cities and metropolitan areas Steven Pedigo, Dallas Morning News
- Pride, prejudice, and Pushkin Donald Rayfield, Literary Review
- A century ago America saved millions of Russians from starvation Economist
- “Nature or nurture?” Yes. Dorsa Amir, Aeon
- When America and Russia were friends RealClearHistory
- When the Soviet Union freed the Arctic from capitalist slavery Bathsheba Demuth, New Yorker
- The East India Company and corporate excess Maya Jasanoff, Guardian
- The relentless rise of the East India Company Jason Burke, Guardian
- The legacy of communism in the Russian Empire’s “-stans” Samuel Goff, Calvert Journal