16 Comments
Jan 21Liked by Ed West

.....I began seeing ‘diversity is our strength’ signs in London around the mid-2000s, and it struck me as something that seemed obviously untrue;....

It is true. Robert Putnam, a now retired Harvard sociologist, found ethnic diversity led to more social isolation, less social capital. Not that it always must, just that so far it has. Also, watch out for news articles telling you studies find diversity leads to better outcomes. Those studies are diversity of knowledge and skills, not diversity of skin color, but they won't tell you that detail. NPR did such a report recently, never pointing out what kind of diversity.

The absurdity of "banned books" is a pet peeve of mine. Senator Kennedy, R Louisiana, recently read one of these banned books in committee. His reading could not be broadcast on network TV without being censored. Also, bookstores have profited by marketing "banned" books for sale. As a friend of mine often says, you can't make this stuff up.

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The Canon Club is massively inspiring and I hope it continues to flourish. If a repeat comment will be permitted, I would like to alert American readers that several vaguely similar programs are in place in various American cities (and online, worldwide of course), and which anyone reading this might very well find rewarding:

* https://catherineproject.org/offerings

* https://excellenceinhighered.org/network/

* https://www.goacta.org/initiatives/oases-of-excellence/

* https://thomisticinstitute.org/upcoming-events

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founding

Great Christopher Caldwell article, thank you. Does feel like the winds of change, and probably for the good? A lot of what he wrote was quite astonishing, but nothing more so than his ability to complete the piece without one reference to Houellebecq.

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"I love those genre of tweets where people make piles of all the ‘banned books’ in their state and it’s stuff like To Kill a Mockingbird or Nineteen Eighty-Four, which clearly aren’t being banned in any real sense."

Have you read or seen Fahrenheit 451 (book by Ray Bradbury; film by Francois Truffaut), about a future society in which all books are banned, and are burnt when found by so-called "firemen"? A clever touch that Truffaut added to the film: the villain goes into an old library, and pulls a book at random off the shelf as he declares: "We must burn the books - all the books!" He holds it out towards the camera as he delivers the line, and the viewer clearly sees that the book is Mein Kampf.

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I liked Ian Leslie's nine rules. "Choose your mistakes" was a good insight.

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On the Horizon scandal, outsourcing of software development is not the problem. Employing crap or lazy programmers is; plus their having managers who do not understand code but manage to bullshit their bosses and clients - as obviously happened with the Post Office debacle.

I worked as a technical author for many years (and happen to be a programmer). I was aghast at the variability, to put it mildly, of the quality of the software I documented. Unlike tradesmen who are personally liable for their work, programmers and their generally useless overlings (yes, it's in the OED), are never at serious threat of civil let alone criminal liability.

Time that changed.

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founding

"numerous studies which show that in small quantities alcohol can be beneficial to our health"

I've always half-suspected that those "alcohol are good for you" type studies were a kind of soft Lysenkoism where the researchers started out with a conclusion that alcohol is good for you and worked backwards from that to "prove" it to a grateful audience. Just a hunch!

"my French is improving"

I've put learning French on the backburner for now, in spite of the fact that Renaud Camus followed me on Twitter a few months ago, because you (yes, you, Substack's Ed West) got me interested in getting my Japanese back up to where it was when I was genuinely fluent with your enthusiasm over your recent trip. But I hope to go back to the French thing so I can better communicate with my new Twitter fan.

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Jan 21·edited Jan 21

EW: "My French is… improving."

Ed, you should write an update about your French studies sometime! :-) The language nerds want to know.

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Greetings from a sunny Nice! If your travels this winter or spring to France should bring you to this warmer refuge on the Mediterranean, please do get in touch. Would enjoy sharing a bottle, breaking bread and having a good chat...

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Thanks for the Canon Club Ed, looking forward to the video!

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