Best Of The Web
“To some critics, America’s founding generation adhered to a profound misconception of human nature. The Enlightenment’s attachment to secular rationality rejected mankind’s fundamental hunger for religion. Human beings need a faith, and the secular world will never truly divorce itself from dogma. There is an essential truth in that, and it may be most evident today in the forms that environmental activism takes.
It must be said at the outset that climate change is real and observable, and the consensus that human activity contributes to that change (though to what degree has not yet firmly been established) is all but unassailable. But for a certain set of activists, there is only one acceptable response to the challenge: privation. The technological innovations attributable to market forces—innovations that have led to the dramatic reduction of American carbon emissions—are dismissed, not because their contributions are not observable, but because they undermine the notion that a simpler, monastic life is the only real source of collective absolution.
Critics of the activist class’s evolving policy prescriptions are attacked as “deniers.” Those who predict catastrophic, near civilization-ending disasters resulting from unchecked climate change are deemed “prophets.” Oracles forecast “the end of the world” within our lifetimes absent the adoption of their preferred paradigm. And any critical reflections on this new eschatology, the portents of which have often proved irreparably flawed, is dismissed with fervent passion.
A faith requires its pieties, and the so-called “Green New Deal” amounts to a sacrament. To true believers, its implausibility and impracticality is not a mark against it. Just the opposite; it is an expression of zeal, an acknowledgment of the righteousness and urgency of the cause it seeks to address. Its efficacy is measured in the number willing to genuflect before it.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"Political leaders from all French parties, including former presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, joined Jews and non-Jews in Paris’s Place de la Republique to condemn antisemitic acts."
"Eighty years ago tonight, thousands of Americans gathered in New York to rally behind the Nazi Party and its ideals. An Oscar-nominated short documentary retrieves footage of the event, but leaves out the context that gives it meaning."
"The PM has persuaded the religious-Zionist Jewish Home to partner with the Kahanists of Otzma Yehudit. It makes cynical political sense for his interests, but what of Israel’s?"
"IFC’s series Documentary Now! began as an affectionately parodic tribute to the classics of nonfiction cinema. Its first episode, “Sandy Passage,” was a note-perfect evocation of the Maysles brothers’ Grey Gardens..."
"Making our choices count is, however, far from straightforward, and this is the subject of Martin Hägglund’s book This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom."
"Teens in the United States are coming of age at a time when digital technology is truly ubiquitous, where smartphones are all of our “constant companions.”"
"...the Smollett story, if the “trajectory” leads to evidence of fakery, would actually reveal something else modern America is about: victimhood chic."
"Cool in the humanities isn’t that different from cool in other areas of cultural life, like planking, hotdog-legs photography, mason jar rehabilitation, and novels whose main character is a city."
"It’s true that high-octane, hardworking child-rearing has some pointless excesses, and it doesn’t spark joy for parents. But done right, it works for kids..."
"Cape Town in South Africa is a foodie destination. Some people in its renowned restaurant industry are trying to spread the food wealth citywide."
"...for many “space expansionists,” escaping Earth is about much more than dodging the bullet of extinction: it’s about realizing astronomical amounts of value by exploiting the universe’s vast resources to create something resembling utopia. "
"After facing persecution in the former Soviet Union and a new wave of antisemitism in the United States, Marya Zilberberg decides to put her Jewishness on display."