“Exposed: China’s Operating Manuals for Mass Internment and Arrest by Algorithm.” Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian reports on China’s sophisticated system of surveillance and detention of Uighurs:
The classified intelligence briefings reveal the scope and ambition of the government’s artificial-intelligence-powered policing platform, which purports to predict crimes based on these computer-generated findings alone. Experts say the platform, which is used in both policing and military contexts, demonstrates the power of technology to help drive industrial-scale human rights abuses.
“Passing through the Gathering Dusk.” On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Sherwood Anderson’s classic Winesburg, Ohio, James E. Person Jr. reflects on its enduring aesthetic and cultural significance.
“Notes on Summer Camp.” Elizabeth C. Corey praises the traditions and hierarchies of summer camp and related communities:
The most important work takes place at camp and in places like it, with no mention of the word “tradition.” We do not need to tell anyone that we are conserving something valuable. We do not need to let slip that we are forming people, giving them a group, and saving them from alienation and loneliness. We can keep secret the idea that role models will benefit them as they grow older; that constraint, order, and judgment will not hurt them but help them to flourish. We must merely go about our business with confidence, secure in the knowledge that traditions remain living possibilities and may yet serve as restorers of culture.
“The Deep Roots of America’s Enchantment with Capitalism.” Philip Christman reviews Eugene McCarraher’s The Enchantments of Mammon and finds it ”more brilliant, more capacious, and more entertaining, page by page, than his most ardent fans dared hope.” Stay tuned for more discussion of this book at FPR.
“Josh Hawley’s Mission to Remake the GOP.” Emma Green profiles one of the more interesting US Senators: “He rails against income inequality, condemns the policy deference afforded to corporations, and speaks warmly about the civic value of labor unions. He often talks about the ‘great American middle’ being crushed by the decline of local communities, the winner-take-all concentration of wealth, and the inaccessibility of higher education.”
“The Real Class War.” Julius Krein, in a long essay for American Affairs, argues that the real class conflict today is not between the working class and the elites, but between the .1% and the rest of the top 10%: “Although better off than the working class, lower-level elites appear to be experiencing far more intense status anxiety.”
“America’s Drift toward Feudalism.” Also in American Affairs, Joel Kotkin focuses on how the tech industry and its concentration of wealth is reshaping our society: “Rather than epitomizing American ingenuity and competition, the tech oligarchy increasingly resembles the feudal lords of the Middle Ages. With the alacrity of the barbarian warriors who took control of territory after the fall of the Roman Empire, they have seized the strategic digital territory, and they ruthlessly defend their stake. Such concentrations of wealth naturally seek to concentrate power.” (Recommended by Mark Mitchell.)
“Everything We Do with Tax is Wrong.” Dominic Frisby sounds a lot like Philip Bess on Henry George’s land value tax: “We should tax land, not labour! If a politician really wants to get to the root of society’s ills, and make them good, then he or she should focus all their efforts on tax reform.”
“Social Media and the Populist Moment.” Ross Douthat tells liberal political analysts to stop imagining everyone is “extremely online”:
The evidence in the papers cited above hints at a different scenario — in which because educated liberalism is increasingly so very online itself, ensconced in its own self-reinforcing information bubble, liberals end up analyzing populism exclusively through their digital experience even when that analysis is obviously insufficient.