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Archive for November 8th, 2010

Recommended Reading

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Have not done one of these in quite a while. Overdue.

Top Billing! Robert PatersonIs America Ruled by an Aristocracy Now? Of course it is!, Politics in America – It is not the Right vs the Left – It’s Them vs Us and The “Dunbar Science” Behind Twitter & Social Leverage

A trio of good posts from Paterson, an excerpt from the last

….All social systems are in effect “Biological Markets” we need other people to care about us to get things that we want.

This is, in effect, what Twitter does, allowing us to do this over time and space at a very low cost in time, effort and dollars.

This realization raised another “aha” for me: we have been here before… the prevailing ideas about how language itself began are rooted in humans finding a cheaper way of grooming. Language enabled us to groom at a distance and left our hands free and our eyes on the look out.


Robin Dunbar (
Dunbar Numbers etc) has a theory about the evolution of language that enables us to see tools like Twitter in a new light….

Thomas Ricks -Dueling historians: Lt. Col. Bob Bateman’s takedown of Victor Davis Hanson

Most ZP readers will enjoy this one as the debate between prolific scholar and pundit Victor Davis Hanson and the influential military officer and historian Robert Bateman manages to feature a clash of politics ( conservative vs. liberal), field ( classics vs. military history), historical epoch ( ancient vs. modern) and methodology.

The Glittering EyeFederal Chief Operating Officer?

Dave Schuler artfully dismantles a superficially clever proposal that is the domestic equivalent of George W. Bush’s “war czar”.

Lexington GreenBefore, During and After the Election

An interesting and thoughtful essay from Lex on his experience as the political analogy to the Maytag Repairman – a GOP poll watcher on the mean streets of Chicago’s West Side.

Steve HyndThe Rich Ate All The Pie – Whatcha Going To Do About It?

In a nod to our friends on the Left, here is Steve at Newshoggers.com en fuego about the exact same data as is Rob Paterson up top.

Thomas P. M. BarnettTrying to unwind this demonization trend  and Whither Russia: the latest tilt to the West

It seems that Tom’s move to join Wikistrat  has freed him to focus on what he does best – serious geopolitical strategic analysis. While I have always concurred with Dr. Barnett’s emphasis on geoeconomics as an analytical cornerstone, ever since Great Powers his thinking has steadily incorporated greater and deeper historical context. Economics gives the connections and universals, history the particulars and the exceptions. A snippet of Tom on Russian political schizophrenia:

It used to be that these tilts, one way or the other, went on for decades–centuries!  But since Cold War’s end, it seems, like everything else in this networked world, to come and go so much faster.

Yeltsin’s time was an age of aping the West, then Putin led the return back to Russian-ness.  Now Medvedev and others sound the age-old alarm about “falling behind the West/world” and needing to modernize once again.  It’s the same old Westernizers versus Slavophiles debate:  Russia is a failure in its isolation and backwardness and must adopt the ways of the West versus Russia is not a failure but unique and wonderful and the champion of Slavs everywhere and we must stand up to the West and protect our brothers . . . by sucking them into our empire and putting a big wall around them!

If the last bit sounds like some modern-day Islamic radical fundamentalist impulse, it’s because it is very similar.  It’s just an earlier version of rejecting the capitalist west.

That’s it.

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