What Kind of Country Do We Want?

America as a whole has embraced, under the name of conservatism and also patriotism, a radical departure from its own history. This richest country has been overtaken with a deep and general conviction of scarcity, a conviction that has become an expectation, then a kind of discipline, even an ethic. The sense of scarcity instantiates itself. It reinforces an anxiety that makes scarcity feel real and encroaching, and generosity, even investment, an imprudent risk.
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Horace’s How-To

In 476 lines of dactylic hexameter, one of the great Roman poets tells us, if not how he wrote his songs, at any rate how we should go about writing ours. The advice is not all his own; an ancient commentator notes that the poet drew some of it from a third-century BC Greek critic called Neoptolemus of Parium. But it is Horace’s version that has lasted. The Ars lays down literary laws observed by writers for centuries: modern editions divide Shakespeare’s plays into five acts, for instance, because that’s how many Horace said a play should have. It canonized critical ideas, like the concept of artistic unity, that we now take as self-evident.
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Vector in Chief
To understand Trump’s incoherence, we have to take into account two contradictory impulses within the right-wing mindset: paranoia and risk.
The Master of Unknowing
Gerhard Richter is contemporary art’s great poet of uncertainty; his work sets the will to believe and the obligation to doubt in perfect oscillation.
Other Voices, Other Rooms
People told me motherhood would feel like deprivation—losing time, losing sleep, losing freedom—but in the beginning it felt more like sudden and exhausting plenitude.

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As Clean as Rage
There’s a war going on, Virginie Despentes’s books insist, not so much between men and women as on men and women, waged through the constructs of gender.

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Bigger Brother
Once your behavior is known, to the extent that it can be predicted, it—you—can also be manipulated.
Stuck
The occupation gnaws at the nation’s moral and democratic fiber. Still, Israelis believe that withdrawal would be even more dangerous.

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Left Behind
While poverty in America is all too real, it’s not the only reason for the epidemic of deaths of despair.

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