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I read Marriott's article and found it fascinating, if not surprising.

I read too much 19th century social history to be surprised by the new belief in superior moralization. The Victorian middle classes saw themselves staunchly superior in every sense to the poor. There is a natural human tendency to this outlook, if you are doing well in life, therefore you must somehow be a superior person. This thinking is more naturally ingrained than any such inconvenient modern newfangled notions like, you know, equality and respecting other people's views.

But a major difference between the 1850s and 2024 can be summarized in a wonderful transcript of the exchange between Matt Taibbi and Walter Kirn when they talk about Shirley Jackson's The Lottery: https://www.racket.news/p/transcript-america-this-week-episode-7f0 (buried at the end). Matt observed that American literature used to be dominated by the concept that human beings have been telling the same stories forever because there are eternal truths in them. Among them is evil is present in all of us. When we try to escape our fate or rewrite the way the universe works, we get punished for it. But somehow this has been replaced by a new faith that we can rewrite the universe and change who we are and have the ability to make our own destiny. Such beliefs would have been warned against, but now seem normal and even encouraged and it is tempting to think what disastrous roads it may lead us down. As the old saying goes, pride goes before fall.

I talk about this to some extent in my Quest for Justice, which I wrote partly because this human struggle between perfection and imperfection is a fascinating topic for me.

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Re the radical old - the internet has robbed them of their status and function as holders of knowledge and wisdom. The young now can just Google everything meaning old people are pretty much useless beyond child care. So it makes sense they would find new purpose in a movement where they can save the world etc.

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Having entered the ranks of the officially elderly, I observe the shenanigans of former friends and associates who have remained radicals (ie leftists), I must confess, with some distaste.

They don't have too much time on their hands, there are plenty of competing demands: family, gardening, visiting our unmatched heritage, reading the 'Oxford History of England' from cover to cover(s) etc, etc.

The simple fact is that they are stiff-necked idiots who have forgotten nothing and learned nothing.

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Proof positive that the wrong side of history is as hard to pin down as the right side.

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founding

"this is my most-read piece on Substack"

Yeah did that one go viral or something? I ask because still occasionally get new notifications for people liking some random comment I wrote on it quite a while ago.

Anyway I think a lot of the radical old are 60s/70s counterculture leftovers having one last hurrah. They're often about the right age. The Boomers are the "don't know when to quit" generation in general.

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Excellent content, Mr. West.

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I've read with suspicion that state subsidies for childcare don't seem to move fertility, but the grandmother effect seems to indicate the opposite. Really interesting. Thanks for these valuable roundups.

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I think there is something to be said for traditional match making. If you don't use an app. You are probably most likely to be approached in a noisy dark enviroment. You are not going to get all the information. Also if you don't want people shouting ``Excellent Buttocks'' at you in the street. You have to shut down all in person advances

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You may like this article on how comedian/host Bill Maher defied the Great Awokening:

https://reason.com/2024/01/29/the-last-liberal/

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I think the radical old have always been there. Just so few young people these days.

Think of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Maguire The last legtimate member of the Government of Ireland. Being feted into his 80s. You go to a protests. You get out. You meet young people, who might be flushed with admiration...

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I think the "radical old" is a combination of them having time and money on their hands, getting old and wanting to leave some sort of legacy before they die, and having access to the Internet but not being Internet literate so they're very susceptible to taking what they read very seriously when other, younger people would dismiss it.

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