TLP Week in Review, 7/30-8/5
Your weekly summary of what we've been up to here at The Liberal Patriot
What We’re Reading (and Watching and Listening To…)
“On the Difference Between Techno and Technocratic Optimism”: Breakthrough Institute directors Ted Nordhaus and Alex Trembath detail the significant hurdles America faces as it implements the clean energy provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act, including over-optimistic economic models, potential over-investment in electric vehicle and clean hydrogen manufacturing capacity, and an excessive reliance on top-down regulation. These obstacles mean progress likely “won’t necessarily happen in the ways that many technocratic progressives imagine or on the timetable that the environmental community demands.”
“Western values are steadily diverging from the rest of the world’s”: The Economist reports on divergences in values between advanced industrial societies and fast-growing nations in Asia, Latin America, and elsewhere: “Traditional ways of thinking persist and the convergence of values widely expected to accompany economic growth is far from complete,” it writes. “Yet the impact of greater security on people’s values does not go away. Slowly, unsurely, religious and authoritarian values tend to lose some of their appeal; secular and liberal values tend to gain. And the battle over values plays out between the two poles.”
“Tony Blair: ‘If I was back in front-line politics…’”: Veteran U.K. political journalist Andrew Marr interviews former Prime Minister Tony Blair about his ideas on what Keir Starmer and Labour should be doing on the EU, AI, and China. Blair has loads of thoughts but acknowledges the differences between his time in power and what Starmer might face should Labour win, particularly on the issue of spending: “The truth is—and this is a measure of the failure of the government—we are spending more than ever before. Except in crisis or war, we have basically got, under a Conservative government, the largest state spending that we have had.”
Gorbachev: His Life and Times: Everyone of a certain age has heard of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev but remarkably few know much about him and his career. But Gorbachev was a towering figure in 20th century history who changed our world in a multiplicity of ways—ways we're still living with today. A deep and complex man, Gorbachev well deserves this impeccably researched biography by William Taubman, author of the definitive biography of 1960s-era Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.
“See the heartbreaking destruction of Cairo’s iconic gardens”: Cairo-based writer Yasmine El Rashidi outlines the tragic ways Egypt’s military junta is steamrolling Cairo’s public gardens, green spaces, and historical heritage to make way for overpasses, strip malls, and gas stations—all supposedly in the name of development. “The most charming flourishes in this ancient city are being replaced by bland markers of contemporary capitalism, including near the once-untouched Giza Plateau—now being built out with retail and food outlets.”
Oppenheimer (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack): Ludwig Göransson’s stellar score to Christopher Nolan’s epic biopic captures the wonder of scientific discovery, builds tension ahead of the world’s first nuclear test, and conveys the horror inherent in nuclear war. For a lighter but no less exhilarating listen, check out Kiwi pop greats The Beths’ ace track, “Silence is Golden”—they’re on tour now across the U.S.
What We’ve Posted
“Culture Matters: Cultural issues involve the deepest human emotions. They cannot be avoided,” by long-time journalist and Primary Colors author Joe Klein.
“The Democrats’ Nonwhite Working-Class Problem Re-Emerges: Those Margins Just Keep Dropping” by TLP politics editor Ruy Teixeira.
“The Two American Lefts,” by Georgetown University history professor Michael Kazin.
“The Biden Effect: Biden outperforms Democrats on every key indicator in TLP’s ‘Patriot Index.’ He needs to put a clear stamp on his party ahead of 2024,” by TLP editor-in-chief John Halpin.
“The Destroyer of Worlds: A review of director Christopher Nolan's magnum opus ‘Oppenheimer,’” by TLP senior managing editor Peter Juul.
“Sleepwalking through War Crimes and Genocides: The globalization of indifference and empty political posturing prevents America from having a strategic debate about the role of moral values in U.S. foreign policy,” by TLP editor-at-large Brian Katulis.
Ruy’s Science-Fiction Pulp Cover of the Week
Just one more thing…
Move over, blue whales: at a possible 200 tons, an enormous extinct manatee called Perucetus may now weigh in as the heaviest animal known to science after paleontologists discovered what they call “a weird and stupendous fossil.”