Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wenesday Long Reads

The most important thing to read this week comes from Virally Suppressed, who calls out the unsustainability of refrigerated cities in the desert:
Take so much as a cursory glance at the landscape on which Las Vegas rests and it should be pretty clear that people were simply not meant to live there. How could they? Las Vegas’s very existence is an affront to the immutable order of the natural world. It is a city built on silt and sandstone—a metropolis nestled in the caustic furnace of the earth. When viewed from space, the greater Las Vegas area looks like some sort of ill-advised Martian colony; nothing but a vast sea of barren valleys and skeletal ridges with all of the chromatic variation of a box of Crayola multicultural crayons. When experienced at ground level in the middle of the summer, it’s like walking into the moisture free maw of hell. 

Ezra Klein looks at a difference between the parties that's deeper than even issues:
While voters tend to agree with Republicans on the philosophical questions in American politics (should government be smaller?) they tend to agree with Democrats on the policy questions in American politics (like should Social Security be smaller?).
The Republican Party, in other words, has a very good reason to base itself around philosophical conservatism, while the Democratic Party has a very good reason to base itself around policy deliverables. And so the Republican Party bases itself around philosophical conservatism and the Democratic Party bases itself around policy deliverables.

"these are differences in degrees that are based on a difference in kind between the party coalitions."

But they're a reminder that American politics is fundamentally rational. Republicans are uncompromising because compromise tends to expand the scope of government. Democrats are willing to make deep concessions because policy moves in a generally liberal direction. Republicans have a clearer message about government because their message about government is fundamentally popular. Democrats talk more about policy because what they have to say about policy is fundamentally popular.
Similarly, Richard Tofel argues that McGovern won. Well, he beat Goldwater anyway:
The fact, of course, is that the drift of American politics since the rise of urbanization, the turn of the twentieth century, and the accession to the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt has been to the left.

It has not always been a steady drift, it has not been without moments where the “arc of history” seemed to bend back the other way (1921, 1947, 1981, and 1995 come to mind), but those have been, in retrospect, moments.
And how digital rights management is an assault on the nature of the computer itself


No comments: