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  1. William McNeill on material abundance

    Historian William McNeill, concluding The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community (1962):

    ... The secularist hopes and theories of the West which have won partial hold over men's minds all round the globe are remarkably generous ones. Like the ideals of earlier religions, they may yet demonstrate …

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  2. Canadian politics ELI5

    Someone on /r/canadapolitics asked for an introduction to Canadian politics, at the ELI5 (explain like I'm five) level.

    1. Taxation and public spending as collective shopping - Scarry

    Okay, I'm going to start by taking you literally: The best explanation I've seen for five-year-olds is the story "Building a new …

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  3. Machiavelli on foresight

    In The Prince, Machiavelli writes:

    ... the Romans did in these instances what all prudent princes ought to do, who have to regard not only present troubles, but also future ones, for which they must prepare with every energy, because, when foreseen, it is easy to remedy them; but if you …

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  4. American security and the balance of power

    American security depends on the balance of power in Europe and Asia. If a single power were able to dominate the continent (France under Napoleon, Germany under Wilhelm II or Hitler, the Soviet Union), it would also be strong enough to threaten the US.

    As Jefferson put it: the enduring …

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  5. Conservation of energy

    A few days after my latest post, John Robson hadn't responded, so I asked on Twitter whether I'd persuaded him that CO2 traps heat. He replied:

    In a jar, sure. Have I persuaded you the climate is a lot more complicated than a jar?

    I was hoping for a little …

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