Weekly Roundup
Weekly Roundup, Wednesday October 3rd, 2021

Weekly Roundup

Claire Lehmann
Claire Lehmann
6 min read

Dear Quilletters,

Welcome to the 1341 new subscribers who signed up over the past week!

I'm delighted to be able to bring you an excerpt of Michael Shellenberger's new book: San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities this week. The excerpt chosen discusses the history of the anti-psychiatry movement in the United States, and how it has contributed to the homelessness crisis that California experiences today.

In this newsletter, we also have a confronting piece from Aaron Sarin about historical and contemporary oppression in Tibet.

And for a change of gears, Quillette senior editor Jamie Palmer wrote about one of his favourite horror films for Halloween.

Below you will find that a comment from the Quillette Circle has been selected as "comment of the week." If you aren't already a subscriber, subscriptions to the Quillette Circle cost $US5 per month, and are separate from subscriptions to the Quillette newsletter. This allows us to maintain the software that the forum runs on, and respond to queries and requests when they come through. Members of the Quillette Circle are also able to post their own threads and ideas for group discussion. If you would like to join, you can do so here.

I trust you will enjoy this week's roundup.


Weekly Roundup

Politics and World Affairs  

Madness for Decivilization
For much of human history, people with mental illness were thought to be possessed by gods or devils. Madness, as it was called, was believed to be supernatural, not natural. Some Greeks, including Plato, viewed mental illness as a kind of spiritual gift, a portal into new ways of seeing.
Tibet’s Long Fight for Freedom
In the eyes of Tibetan Buddhists, Tenzin Gyatso is the flesh-and-blood reincarnation of Avalokiteśvara, the thousand-armed bodhisattva of compassion. In the eyes of the Chinese Communist Party, he is “a wolf in monk’s clothing, a devil with a human face but the heart of a beast.” Tibet’s 14th


‘It works! It works! It works!’: Jonas Salk and the Vaccine that Conquered Polio
Jonas Salk was born on October 28th, 1914, in a tenement in East Harlem, New York—the first son of Russian immigrants and the eldest of three brothers. After finishing four years of high school in three, Salk entered the City College of New York and later won a scholarship
Tales From the Gulag
A couple of weeks ago I published an article in the Wall Street Journal describing the tyranny that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) bureaucracies are imposing on universities and scientific institutions. This includes excluding talented scientists who are not effective enough in displaying th…

Media and Journalism

The Vox Formula: Telling Privileged People What They Already Believe
In 2014, Ezra Klein, a 29-year-old journalist known for his Washington Post articles breaking down the thorny ins and outs of complex government policy, left the Washington Post for Vox, a website whose “mission is simple: Explain the news.” Vox would soon become famous for a style of journalism kno…


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the Meaning of Human Suffering
There is only one thing that I dread: Not to be worthy of my sufferings. ~Fyodor Dostoevsky I mean, I got one life, right? Mine. But fuck, I want somebody else’s sometimes. Sometimes I just feel like I’m fighting for a life I just ain’t got time to live. I


Does Christine Brown Deserve to Burn in Hell?
NOTE: To mark Halloween, Quillette editor Jamie Palmer writes about one of his favourite modern horror films. Please be aware that this essay discusses the plot in its entirety and contains spoilers from the start. A clever modern parable of guilt and retribution, Sam Raimi’s 2009 horror carnival Dr…

Quillette Circle Comment of the Week

Facebook selectively censors conservatives - WSJ
I think the issue here is one of values, and whether social media should have “global” values (whatever those are), or the dominant values of the host country. Ideas which are in considered relatively innocuous in one country would be considered radical and inciting violence in another. And vice ve…


I think the issue here is one of values, and whether social media should have “global” values (whatever those are), or the dominant values of the host country.

Ideas which are in considered relatively innocuous in one country would be considered radical and inciting violence in another. And vice versa. Let us imagine for example a young woman posting that she could not decide between a humanities and science degree; in Australia this would not occasion any indignation whatsoever, but if she were posting from some northern part of Pakistan, this would be considered provocative. Likewise Falun Gong, and so on.
And so, if social media is to censor what is inoffensive in one country, but provocative in another, it will be considered to impinge on free speech by one country, and keeping things peaceful in the other. And if it decides not to censor, it will be promoting free speech in one, and inciting insurrection in another.
Thus, a global social media can only really work if there are global values. And of course we do not have global values. If each country or region is to retain its own values, it must have its own social media. If social media is global, then there will inevitably be censorship and clashes online, which can only end in one region’s values becoming global, or in violent insurrections in various regions.
Facebook and other Western social media in the 2000-2015 period promoted global values, thus their leading place in the Arab Spring and so on. Which is to say, people like Mark Zuckerberg had a role in causing conflicts which have killed and displaced millions of people. But when from 2016 onwards social media started to have a role in creating conflicts in the home countries of the controllers of the social media, all of a sudden they became concerned, and not so fond of globalising values of free speech etc.

Join the discussion on the Quillette Circle here.

Haidt and Lukianoff: The Polarization Spiral
How the right’s monomania and the left’s Great Awokening feed each other
Liberals Read, Conservatives Watch TV
Explaining why Trump emerged on the right, why only liberals debate filibuster reform, how anti-vax became a partisan issue, how David Shor is half right, “Dems are the real racists” and much else.
Why Ending Tenure Is Only a Start
It would be a step in the right direction. But more is needed to replace America’s antiquated academic sweatshops with a modern enterprise.

Claire Lehmann

Claire Lehmann is the founding editor of Quillette.