Category Archives: Politics

Post-liberalism in the FT

WhatI’m reading: David Goodhart explaining his movement away from the left-liberal consensus.

http://app.ft.com/content/39a0867a-0974-11e7-ac5a-903b21361b43

If you’re interested in the changing rules for politics and persuasion, try my book.

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Filed under Politics, What I'm Reading

Today’s Quote: 18 March 2017

Today’s quote is from from Michael Novak’s fantastic Free Persons and the Common Good, which I’m reading on a long weekend in Oslo in between watching the world biathlon championships. Someone really needs to issue a new edition of this book, and hopefully Novak’s recent passing into eternity will focus minds. This quote isn’t from him but de Tocqueville.

“If men are to remain civilised or to become civilised, the art of association must develop and improve among them at the same speed as equality of conditions spread.”

Books like this are hard work but worth it. If you’re in the mood for something funny, wise and short instead, why not try my latest book.

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Filed under Freedom, Human nature, Politics, Today's Quote, What I'm Reading

What I’m Reading: The Biology of Politics

I’m still making up my mind about this long, intriguing essay which seeks a high-level analysis of political dynamics via biological imperatives. It certainly explains the interest of a left-wing thinker like Cory Doctorow in the possibility of a post-scarcity economics in our technological future.

“To my eye, it is inherently clear that this r/K divergence is the origin of our political divide. Indeed, while policy proposals from Conservatives are predicated upon the premise that resources are inherently limited, and individuals should have to work and demonstrate merit to acquire them, Liberals advocate on behalf of policy proposals which seem to be predicated upon an assumption that there are always more than sufficient resources to let everyone live lives of equal leisure. To a Liberal, any scarcity must clearly arise due to some individual’s personal greed and evil altering a natural state of perpetual plenty.”

Read the whole thing.

If you’re interested in making sense of our strange new political world, you might like my book.

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Filed under Economics, Human nature, Politics

The Case For Revolution

Douglas Carswell’s new book isn’t pulling any punches. The sole Ukip MP is apparently calling for a revolution to remake and sustain the liberal order.

“When I first stood for Parliament, I believed that all we needed were the right kind of ministers, pursuing the right kind of plans. Now I believe we need a revolution.”

Interesting… Pre-order here.

While you are waiting, why not try my book, full of tips for would-be rebels who want to win.

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Filed under Freedom, Politics

Newt Gingrich on Trump

Scott Adams is still the most entertaining guide to why Trump keeps winning. But former House speaker Newt Gingrich has started carving out his own niche, offering a more conventional style plus the promise of better access.

Gingrich was vetted by team Trump as a potential veep and cabinet pick, but he is staying outside government, focusing on long-term Republican strategy — and  his self-appointed role as Trump’s explainer-in-chief.

His book Understanding Trump isn’t out until the 25th of May. But there’s an ebook collection of his election commentary available for Kindle.

Here’s a few quotes from Gingrich’s new interview this week with Spiegel.

“[T]his is the most fascinating presidency of my lifetime. I think it has the potential to be very, very good or to be very disappointing, and I’m doing everything I can to make it very good.”

“[Trump] has a grand direction. He doesn’t have a grand strategy. He wants to re-establish American authority and power and to relaunch the American economy.”

“[T]he incompetence of the government is so massive that even a moderately good executive could regain much ground pretty rapidly. Donald Trump is a very good executive.”

Read the whole thing.

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Trump’s FDA Pick Could Be Inspired

Trump’s willingness to surprise continues with the people he is considering to head America’s medical watchdog, the FDA.

Yesterday Trump met with two contenders. One was Balaji Srinivasan, a brilliant and thoughtful man with deep ties to Silicon Valley and Peter Thiel, a key Trump backer.

Thiel’s justified frustration with the FDA is longstanding. When I interviewed him six years ago, he told me that if the tech industry was regulated that way, it wouldn’t exist.

As he said to me, “Imagine if Twitter had to go through the FDA drug approval — how efficacious, how does it affect the brain, phase II, phase III trials.”

And Srinivasan is of a similar mind, publishing a tweetstorm in March last year criticising the FDA’s chilling effect on innovation.

One example:

“New tech allows far better regulation than the FDA.”

Which means that Srinivasan even being considered for the role is a sign that priorities at the FDA are set to change. Fantastic. Because freeing things up will save thousands of lives.

Srinivasan is an experienced, successful biotech entrepreneur and venture capitalist. But more than that, he is incredibly thoughtful and original in general. His tweetstorm on “the cloud versus the land”
is one of my favourite reads on the year so far.

Trump’s first 100 days just got even more interesting.

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Filed under Business, Innovation, Politics, Trump

Trump makes an unlikely new friend

When you’ve got Glenn Greenwald arguing Trump’s corner, it may be a sign that your attack is not working.

“Cheering for the CIA and its shadowy allies to unilaterally subvert the U.S. election and impose its own policy dictates on the elected president is both warped and self-destructive.”

Trump has also noticed the value of this moment. He’s not just waiting for figures like Greenwald to protest on his behalf. Trump has also started using this witchhunt against him by the deep state to break the frame of himself as the dangerous fascist. Scott Adams, who has been arguing for Trump’s tactical nous since well before the election, captures it well in a new blogpost, “The Master Persuader Scrambles the Frame”.

Read the whole thing.

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