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The Recent Unpleasantness: Understanding the Cycles of Constitutional Time by Jack M. Balkin :: SSRN
"This article, originally given as the 2017 Addison C. Harris Lecture at Indiana University, analyzes recent events in terms of three great cycles of change in American constitutional history. The first is the cycle of the rise and fall of political regimes. The second is the cycle of polarization and depolarization. The third is the cycle of the decay and renewal of republican government--the cycle of constitutional rot. Each of these cycles operates on a different time scale. Their interaction generates "constitutional time." Many commentators worry that the United States is in a period of constitutional crisis, or that American democracy is doomed. These fears, although understandable, are overstated. America is not in a constitutional crisis, although it is suffering from a fairly severe case of constitutional rot, connected to rising polarization and economic inequality. Our current difficulties are a temporary condition. They stem from the fact that the Reagan regime that has structured American politics since the 1980s is dying, but a new regime has yet to be born. This is a difficult, agonizing, and humbling transition; and its difficulty is enhanced by the fact that, unlike the last transition, it occurs at the peak of a cycle of polarization and at the low point of a cycle of constitutional rot. For that reason, the transition to a new political regime is likely to be especially difficult. But we will get through it. And when we get through it, about five to ten years from now, American politics will look quite different. Political renewal is hardly foreordained: it will require persistence and political effort. The point of this lecture is to offer a bit of hope in difficult times. If people misunderstand our situation, and conclude that American decline is inevitable, they may unwittingly help to make that fate a reality; but if they understand the cycles of constitutional time, they may come to believe that their democracy can be redeemed, and do their part to realize that worthy goal. "
political-science  law  constitution  history  american-studies 
31 minutes ago by tsuomela
How Millennials Killed Mayonnaise – Philadelphia Magazine
The inexorable rise of identity condiments has led to hard times for the most American of foodstuffs. And that’s a shame.
mayonnaise  food  trends  Hellmanns  history  PhiladelphiaMagazine  2018 
2 hours ago by inspiral
Can we hope to understand how the Greeks saw their world? | Aeon Essays
"The Greek colour experience was made of movement and shimmer. Can we ever glimpse what they saw when gazing out to sea?"
color  history  language  mariamichelasassi  ancientgreece  perception  2017  at  culture 
2 hours ago by robertogreco
A Museum in Amritsar Highlights the Lesser Known Players Behind Partition
Seventy years after the partition of India, a museum finally memorialises the event and its aftermath in the subcontinent. It was long overdue and the Amritsar Partition Museum (APM), housed in the right wing of the Town Hall of Amritsar, deserves credit for this initiative.It is spread over 17,000 square feet on two floors and has 14 galleries. It has done amazing work within a very short time.Of all the galleries, I found Gallery 7 – that deals with the Punjab Boundary Commission – to be most intriguing. The museum’s attempt for a detached/neutral narrative is best exemplified here through its depiction of Sir Cyril Radcliffe...there were no way that the border could have been uncontroversial, no way that it would not have gone against the interests of some, one way or the other. But he had the blood of so many people in his hands that he did not accept his paycheck.
history  museums 
2 hours ago by thomas.kochi
Perhaps we should see the post-1945 United Kingdom as itself one of the new nations which emerged from the British empire, alongside Canada, Australia, Ireland and India.
nationalism  history  britain  socialdemocracy  labour  to_blog 
3 hours ago by yorksranter
Mechanical calculators: computing without electricity - LOW-TECH MAGAZINE
Fast and complicated calculations are a product of fossil fuels. Multiplying and dividing numbers was not always that easy. Before the arrival of cheap electronic pocket calculators and computers in the 1970s, people relied on an array of low-tech means and machines to calculate taxes, profits or the properties of engineering parts. Being an obsolete technology now, some of these 19th and 20th century calculators are surprisingly sophisticated and fashionable. Moreover, most are powered by a crank, which makes these gadgets "green". Today's pocket calculators are no power hogs, either. The thing is that computers took over most calculating jobs from calculators, and a large supercomputer consumes as much energy as a convoy of trucks. What do we do with...
calculator  history  technology 
3 hours ago by lena

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