Bernie Sanders’ campaign has come under fire for not paying staffers the $15 minimum wage he promotes—and for using the private health-care system he often criticizes as immoral. Similar scorn is being hurled at environmentalist-minded celebrities who recently traveled to a Google climate-change conference via private jets, and even yachts. I am far from being ideologically aligned with Sanders or most Hollywood stars. But I will use the occasion to make a broader point about those who insist we all practice what we preach politically. Simply put: It’s petty to weaponize the spectacle of political hypocrisy to score points and avoid taking the other side seriously. As George Orwell put it in his essay about Rudyard Kipling, “a humanitarian is always a hypocrite”—since his or her standard of living is dependent on practices that he or she deems criminal. But that doesn’t mean we can simply ignore their arguments. The first and most obvious problem with targeting a political opponent’s hypocrisy is that the practice always is applied selectively. Libertarians—and I’m including myself—sometimes scoff casually …
In 1909, a wealthy man from Pennsylvania bought a brick building on a steep street just south of the Brooklyn Bridge, across the river from Manhattan. Blocks away from where Walt Whitman had set to type the first editions of Leaves of Grass, a small, relatively unknown group that called themselves the “Bible Students” was regrouping, with this building as their hub. Their leader was feeling discouraged after another failed prediction that the world would end. But he was not deterred. Spending his days overlooking the same East River that had inspired Whitman to write verse, he rewrote his own inspired prose that warned of the world’s imminent, violent end and urged all to join him so that they, too, could live forever in paradise on Earth. Russell had always been interested in religion and as a young man had painted fire and brimstone Bible verses on fences around his hometown as a pastime. He met a man named William Miller, who had founded a religious movement, Millerism, which was the precursor to the Seventh-day …
Greg Ellis reads The Children of the Revolution, James David Banker’s essay about China’s cultural revolution. It was published in Quillette on 18th December 2018.
Let me lead you through a portal created in the basement of some secretive and sinister government laboratory and into the Educational Upside Down. The Educational Upside Down is a parallel dimension where elementary school children are captivated by street signs and bored rigid by myths and tales of heroes. It is a dimension where early readers work out the relationships between the sounds of English and the letters that represent these sounds largely by being immersed in anodyne, specially written story books. Yet, weirdly, it is also a dimension where children have to be explicitly taught ‘comprehension strategies’ to understand what they read, such as activating their prior knowledge or deciding which sentence is the most important, and then must practice these strategies for the greater part of the school day. This is a dimension where knowledge of the world—that same prior knowledge that needs activating—is the last thing that it would occur to anyone to actually teach children in schools. The Educational Upside Down is frightening and surreal, not merely because it denies …
Toby Young talks to Bruce Gilley, professor of political science at Portland State, about not being able to get his course on conservative political thought approved by his faculty, and his efforts to fight back against progressive authoritarianism on campus. He recently published a piece in Quillette about why he set up the Oregon chapter of the National Association of Scholars.
Greg Ellis reads Ideology and Facts Collide at Oberlin College, Daniel McGraw’s essay on the legal dispute between a bakery and the liberal arts college that ended with a $33 million payout to the small business. It was published in Quillette on June 20, 2019.
Jonathan Kay presents highlights from this year’s Heterodox Academy conference, featuring Steven Pinker, Karith Foster, Jennifer Collins Bloomquist, Dan Mogulof, Lara Schwartz, Brandon Calhoun and Coleman Hughes.
Toby Young reads Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Man, his profile of Boris Johnson, Britain’s new Prime Minister. The piece was published in Quillette on 23rd July.
Jonathan Kay talks to Quillette‘s associate editor Toby Young about Boris Johnson, Britain’s new Prime Minister whom Toby first met 36 years ago when they were students together at Oxford. Toby recently wrote a profile of Boris for Quillette.
Greg Ellis reads Immigration Policy and the Rise of Anti-Democratic Liberalism—the Case of Israel, Gadi Taub’s essay about how Israel is struggling to cope with a rising tide of illegal immigration. It was published in Quillette on 4th July 2019.