The Big Story of the Week is Gabon, but Why? A military coup in Gabon removed a dynastic family that had ruled this small oil-producing state since the 1960s, when nominal independence from France was obtained. Gabon is on the Atlantic Coast of Central Africa, bordered by Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon to the north, the… Continue reading Dynasty, Democracy and Decolonization in Gabon
If such fundamental deceptions, such as the USA President is 'a Russian agent' or Ukraine is 'the beacon of democracy', becloud the voting public, how secure are our political institutions, our halls of public reason, or our means of public choice?
Victoria, like many post-democratic societies of the so-called West, is not a victim of Stockholm Syndrome. It is trapped in a Stanford Prison Experiment.
Descent into post-democratic crisis. John Ionnadis on saving democracy from the pandemic. Canada leaves the democratic nations - an Open Letter to the Prime Minister of Australia. Security crisis in Ukraine and the end of the Cold War - who really wants to invade Europe? The Russian Anxiety and our responsibility to refuse it
Journalists draft history? The public sphere, Habermas and the post-democratic society. Emmanuel Todd on the tasks ahead for advanced societies. History as a moral art that encounters the living past in an infinite conversation.
Beowulf, polyphony and Mikhail Bakhtin. RussiaGate indictments approach the spider. Peter Frankopan and Fiona Hill. Jordan B Peterson. Elena Shvarts. Jonathon Sumption on how fear has undone democracy.
Wallace Stevens. COVID zero fanatics. The Novel is dead. Saint Galgano. Louise Glück. How democracies die. Solzhenitsyn.
The latest episode of The Burning Archive Podcast is out and available on all the usual platforms, including Apple and Spotify. When faced with cultural decay and ruined institutions, what is a podcaster to do? In this episode, Jeff Rich turns for hope to the traditions of the Eastern European dissidents of 1960-90 Eastern Europe.… Continue reading The Burning Archive Podcast #10 – The Parallel Polis and the Power of the Powerless
The post-democratic society has arrived. We need to turn away from the old priests and performers who are muttering grand concepts of democracy as a prelude to another circus performance in the decaying coliseum. We need to find our own new way in the feral cities of our distressed republics.
The final forced impeachment of Donald Trump has ended in the result that should never happen in a show trial. The sacrificial victim of the authorities' spite was acquitted. Jonathan Turley is a reasoned and moderate legal scholar who writes widely on constitutional issues in the United States of America. He has yet to post… Continue reading The impeachment curse
2020 has taught us through bitter experience that our societies are not vaccinated against totalitarianism, and certainly not the mutant strain of "soft totalitarianism" described in Rod Dreher's Live Not by Lies: a Manual for Christian Dissidents (2020). The last year has seen lockdowns, curfews and bans on the most fundamental human relationships (attendance at… Continue reading On living not by lies
Today after the distressing events and death in the Capitol building of Washington DC that interrupted the process of confirming electoral college votes, I am reposting this piece from five months ago. It may be more relevant today than then. I would place my bets on fragmentation or collapse at this stage *** Original Post… Continue reading America’s fate: civil war, fragmentation or collapse?
Events threaten to overwhelm my mind. The world stands on the brink of a crisis, and I cannot tell whether the world will drown me, or whether a disordered mind is drowning out the world. Everywhere the crisis is held at a point of tension, and so much seems to hang on how events will… Continue reading Waiting for the crisis to unveil
Yuval Levin argues that the institutions of contemporary society, primarily America in his account, have become degraded. There is a good discussion with Yuval Levin on this topic over at the Hoover Institution Youtube channel. We have lost trust in these institutions, he argues, because simply they have become less trustworthy. Their performance has been… Continue reading The failure of institutions in the pandemic crisis
Over the last week I have read the K.T. (Kathleen Troia) McFarland's Revolution: Trump, Washington and 'We the People' (2020). I was led to this book by the remarkable case of injustice perpetrated on General Michael Flynn. K.T. McFarland was Michael Flynn's deputy, Deputy National Security Adviser in the first months of Trump's presidency, and… Continue reading K.T. McFarland’s Revolution in Tamerlane’s Shadow
I found on my bookshelf by chance yesterday the 2018 jeremiad by two Harvard University professors (of government and the "science of government" no less!), Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, How Democracies Die: What History Reveals about our Future. It was a book that created something of a sensation at the time as the ruling… Continue reading How democracies really die
To the citizens, office-holders and advocates of the United States of America, Your republic is breaking. Yet your empire holds on. And the conceit of manifest destiny as the primal democracy, the greatest country on earth, and the envy of the world collapses. Indeed, the stubborn protagonists of your empire - whether John Bolton or… Continue reading An open letter to America
"Never have human groups of such a size been so rich, so old, so educated, so devoid of collective beliefs."Emmanuel Todd, Lineages of Modernity, p 21 I picked up from the local library Emmanuel Todd's Lineages of Modernity: a history of humanity from the Stone Age to Homo Americanus. It is a sweeping reconception of… Continue reading Emmanuel Todd’s Lineages of Modernity
The third impeachment of an American President in my living memory is now drawing to a close: Nixon in 1973-74, Clinton in 1998-99, and Trump in 2019-20. Nixon used government agents to break into the offices of his political opponents and install bugs to spy on them, and then covered up the crime. Clinton's rampant… Continue reading The impeachment curse
Today I am posting the last (for now) of my reposts from earlier, retired blogs. This post comes from 2010 and is a reflection on Vaclav Havel's thought, then still alive, and comment on the defeat of the masters of the universe in the global financial crisis. As it happens I read Havel's famous long… Continue reading On the virtue of not knowing (WordPress anniversary repost)