Sunday, July 03, 2016

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading:

- Ross Douthat (!) discusses the distinction between actual cosmopolitanism, and the global elitism that's instead come to dominate international power relations:
Genuine cosmopolitanism is a rare thing. It requires comfort with real difference, with forms of life that are truly exotic relative to one’s own. It takes its cue from a Roman playwright’s line that “nothing human is alien to me,” and goes outward ready to be transformed by what it finds.

The people who consider themselves “cosmopolitan” in today’s West, by contrast, are part of a meritocratic order that transforms difference into similarity, by plucking the best and brightest from everywhere and homogenizing them into the peculiar species that we call “global citizens.”

This species is racially diverse (within limits) and eager to assimilate the fun-seeming bits of foreign cultures — food, a touch of exotic spirituality. But no less than Brexit-voting Cornish villagers, our global citizens think and act as members of a tribe.
(I)t’s a problem that our tribe of self-styled cosmopolitans doesn’t see itself clearly as a tribe: because that means our leaders can’t see themselves the way the Brexiteers and Trumpistas and Marine Le Pen voters see them.

They can’t see that what feels diverse on the inside can still seem like an aristocracy to the excluded, who look at cities like London and see, as Peter Mandler wrote for Dissent after the Brexit vote, “a nearly hereditary professional caste of lawyers, journalists, publicists, and intellectuals, an increasingly hereditary caste of politicians, tight coteries of cultural movers-and-shakers richly sponsored by multinational corporations.”

They can’t see that paeans to multicultural openness can sound like self-serving cant coming from open-borders Londoners who love Afghan restaurants but would never live near an immigrant housing project, or American liberals who hail the end of whiteness while doing everything possible to keep their kids out of majority-minority schools.

They can’t see that their vision of history’s arc bending inexorably away from tribe and creed and nation-state looks to outsiders like something familiar from eras past: A powerful caste’s self-serving explanation for why it alone deserves to rule the world.
- Meanwhile, the Economist also recognizes the reasons for anger at a neoliberal economic model which has left far too many people worse off.

- Sean McElwee and Jason McDaniel highlight the connection between denial of race and gender discrimination, and the belief that inclusive language doesn't matter.

- Mike Soron comments on the need to fight back against "climate conservatism" which pays lip service to protecting our planet from man-made pollution while denying the possibility of actually doing anything. And Steven Poole points out how zombie ideas manage to continue spreading long after they've been disproven - with the pecuniary interests of people who profit from their acceptance looming as one of the most obvious explanations.

- Dean Beeby reports that contrary to their campaign promises, the Libs are encouraging the Canada Revenue Agency to continue pursuing charities politically targeted by the Cons for daring to pursue social justice.

- Finally, Shane Bauer offers a long-form look at a private prison from the perspective of a newly-hired correctional officer.

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