Scrap the Myth of Panic

If there is one lesson the world should learn from the great pandemic of 2020, it is this: we must discard the myth of panic.

Or at least this is the case I make in an essay I have just published in Palladium. Fear of mass panic was key to delayed action against the epidemic in the PRC:

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The Framers and the Framed: Notes On the Slate Star Codex Controversy

Let’s talk about the grand Slate Star Codex brouhaha. A lot of people have already written about this. Here is the original New York Times piece that started the controversy. [1] Against the Grey Lady we have Cathy Young, Robby Soave, Micah Meadowcroft, Matthew Yglesias, Freddie DeBoer, Scott Aaronson, Noah Smith, and Dan Drezner, as […]

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Political and Practical Implications of the Wuhan Virus

Image Source Several months ago I was twittering back and forth with Matt Watson, one of John Hopkins’ biosecurity gurus. Watson was trying to convince me to sign up for their newsletter; I, a man irrationally disturbed by poisons, pandemics, and all other means of non-kinetic mass death, demurred. I knew if I read too […]

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Do Not Trust Journalists (A Mormon Example)

Do not trust journalists. This is a hard thing for me to write: I am a journalist. I regularly write dispatches from abroad for various media outlets, and the occasional opinion commentary to boot. Yet I have trouble trusting journalists. Especially those who are not transparent about how they developed their understanding of the issues […]

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Secure Communications Strategies for China and Elsewhere

Image Source The New York Times had an interesting piece out this week about the lengths their reporters in China go to try and protect their sources and their data from the digital surveillance state. To quote a bit from the piece: I use an iPhone because Apple tends to be more secure than Android. […]

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The Election We All Saw Coming

Image source. Now that the heat of the election season has passed, it is possible to examine the heat itself.  The election’s aftermath was a grand spectacle. Some convulsed in desperation and despair. Others surrendered to frenzied, twitter-fueled fits of rapture. In the midst of all this noise, a pattern arose. In simplest terms: there is a […]

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Winning the Popular Vote While Losing Grip on Reality

Graphic source: Kevin Urmarcher, Kevin Schaul, and Dan Keating, “These Former Obama Strongholds Sealed the Election for Trump,” Washington Post (9 November 2016). There has been a bit of push back to my last post. A lot of it revolves around this fact: Donald Trump did not win the popular vote. Others point out that […]

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The Time Has Come to Give The Lie

Go, Soul, the body’s guest, Upon a thankless errand; Fear not to touch the best; The truth shall be thy warrant: Go, since I needs must die, And give the world the lie.            —Sir Walter Raleigh, β€œThe Lie,” (c. 1592) A question many of us should be asking: do I […]

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Vox Will Never Understand Islam… Or Any Religion, Really

Image Source. I wish I could say that this Vox hot-take by Max Fisher is the most foolish piece Vox has published and Fisher has written. Alas, this is not the case. It is a rather run-of-the-mill effort from Vox‘s foreign policy team, no more vapid than their usual fare. What distinguishes this piece from it peers is […]

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Chinese Journalism and Chinese Soft Power

I was inspired to write this post by a recent episode of Sea Control (the Center For International and Maritime Security’s podcast) that focused on the future of Chinese journalism and the role Xinhua News Agency plays in promoting Chinese soft power. Dean Cheng, senior research fellow for Asia policy at the Heritage Foundation, was […]

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