Reading old books has many benefits. One can avoid the progressive framework that restricts modern books. There is the opportunity to view problems from a point of view where democracy is not seen as a good or even as a logical endpoint. One of the underappreciated things is finding books referenced within old books.
The rabbit hole gets deeper when you read a book alluded to within your old book because you may be already reading a rarely read old book. The reference can be even more obscure. There may be a reason our modern censors have cut it out. Whether active censorship or editorial is one thing but the publishing trick of just not reprinting them is the other indirect censorship process. It is amazing how expensive some old books are on Amazon.
When reading the Bow of Ulysses by Froude, I saw his reference a first person account of Haiti prior to his visit to Haiti. The book was scandalous. To show you how the egalitarians were already at work censoring discussions, Froude carefully talked of how he did not believe reports but would see for himself. He visits the island, confirms the reports and moves on, which means even then it was impolite to be brutally honest about the black republic.
I found that referenced book online. It is in a bad format but available. The author even uses the ‘I’m not prejudiced, I had many Haitians eat at my table‘ defense. It is a pretty interesting read. The extent of cannibalism was something he wrote about that the Europeans could not believe and that Haiti’s authorities did their best to deny. He found even more proof and did not back down. If anything, his notes mention that it is worse than even he reported. The section on voodoo worship is particularly vivid.
Definitely read old books. If not for the knowledge within them, read them for the lessons they can provide. History is not linear and nor is it a straight line. On to the links…
Tax farming the poor – NY Times comes with a decent assessment of the way our system fines the peasants to keep things running. Buried within the examples are people who have broken lives that they themselves create like the pervasive problem of illegitimacy that is destroying us.
The Approaching Pension Crisis – ZIRP really destroyed asset management. If they couldn’t get the target X%, they were underfunded. The chase for yield, and in pension’s case chasing say 7% returns, sent them into riskier assets. They are bag-holders on terrible assets right now. Who wants to bail out Illinois?
Best explanation of the Trump Populist moment – The new foreign minister of Brazil reads like BAP. This is better than any American thinker has written about the moment. Doubt him in this essay? Read this other one. It further pushes the idea that those on the periphery of the empire are allowed to write and say these things while the imperial center is on much stricter control.
The childless lament – A female surgeon laments the choice she made and stares into the void of four more decades of childless living. These essays are growing in number so something must be up with the ruling class. It might be that they worked their anti-natalist magic too well and now understand what is facing them from a human capital point of view.
National divorce talk– It is just the Washington Times but the splitsville talk spreads. No one is quite pitching why it would work for elites. Controlling the empire is the main pitch, and our elites are a self-contained rent seeking club. One could create a campaign for this and there are economic interests that could see a better future. The other group to pitch to are the elites in our overproduced elite cadre who are going to be frozen out of the bioleninist constructed pipeline soon.