The MyPillow Guy Really Could Destroy Democracy

When you contemplate the end of democracy in America, what kind of person do you think will bring it about? Maybe you picture a sinister billionaire in a bespoke suit, slipping brown envelopes to politicians. Maybe your nightmare is a rogue general, hijacking the nuclear football. Maybe you think of a jackbooted thug leading a …

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What Marxism and ‘Critical Race Theory’ Have in Common

“I’ve read Karl Marx. I’ve read Lenin. That doesn’t make me a Communist.” — General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaking to the House Armed Services Committee last Thursday “He’s not just a pig—he’s stupid.” — Tucker Carlson, Fox News television host, describing Milley Back in the 1980s, comparative-literature majors at …

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The Oligarchs Who Turn Democracy Into Something Else

In 2015, Daniel Obajtek was the county commissioner of Pcim, a tiny district south of Kraków and north of the Polish-Slovak border. “County commissioner” is perhaps a grand-sounding title, but I can’t find a better one. In Polish, the term for the job he held is wójt, an old-fashioned word that means something like “village …

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If Belarus Gets Away With It, Other Dictators Will Follow

Even when our most basic civilizational values are in dispute, there are a few sets of rules and regulations that we nevertheless manage to share. The laws of the sea, for example, or the norms governing the conduct of air-traffic controllers. Pilots of any nationality, even when flying to Caracas, Havana, or Pyongyang, have no …

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What America’s Vaccination Campaign Proves to the World

Mass Vaccination Is a Show of American Might

Every so often, an emerging technology changes the global balance of power, alters alliances, and shifts the relationships among nations. After World War II, nuclear weapons overthrew all of the existing geopolitical paradigms. The countries that got the bomb were considered global powers; countries that did not have it sought it, so that they could …

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The Science of Making Americans Hurt Their Own Country

How Russia Got Americans to Do Its Dirty Work

The National Intelligence Council has released an unclassified report assessing, retrospectively, foreign threats to the 2020 election. It has a few twists and turns: The Iranian government attempted to run some kind of online influence campaign; the Chinese government considered doing the same but then dropped the idea. But most of the report is about …

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How to Put Out Democracy’s Dumpster Fire

The Internet Doesn’t Have to Be Awful

Illustrations by Yoshi Sodeoka This article was published online on March 8, 2021. To read the diary of Gustave de Beaumont, the traveling companion of Alexis de Tocqueville, is to understand just how primitive the American wilderness once seemed to visiting Frenchmen. In a single month, December 1831, Tocqueville and Beaumont were on a steamship …

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