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Out of the many interesting things that have come out of the pandemic, one issue that I think is going to become increasingly relevant is how people treat the concept of money. More than a few people noticed how the Federal Reserve was able to conjure up trillions of dollars in liquidity seemingly out of thin air at a time when many were and still are agonizing over finding jobs, paying rent, and affording basic necessities. I have noticed heterodox ideas like Modern Monetary Theory, which essentially recommends governments print as much money as they need to pay for social programs, are gaining more traction especially among young people. I am not remotely qualified to discuss such theories, but I don’t think the theory itself is even what appeals to people. …


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I have heard a few people point out an apparent hypocrisy in the doctrine of the legendary warriors of the Social Justice realm. While I am not an anthropologist and do not know of this people, I have heard that they constantly talk about race and gender while at the same time profusely denying the existence of such categories. A phrase that comes up often is “social construct”. I cannot speak for this polity of which I know nothing, but I am not so sure if such a contradiction in their belief system does exist.

I think for a lot of people, the phrase “social construct” is essentially synonymous with “false”. If gender is a social construct, that means it’s not real, and if it’s not real, then it teaching a class on “gender studies” makes about as much sense as teaching a class on unicorn studies. If we went around addressing every societal issue in terms of unicorns, that would be extremely delusional and possibly dangerous. Therefore, leftists are insane and we all need to stop talking about race so it’ll go away on its own. Quod erat demonstrandum. …


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We are very lucky that Trump was so incredibly incompetent. If someone with his attitude but the intelligence of say, Putin, had won instead, there’s a small possibility we would be living in a fascist dictatorship right now. Even when being led by the least capable person imaginable, there is a large faction of American society willing to overthrow the government at the behest of a cult of personality. His supporters were ready to stage a coup on his behalf, and if their delusional belief that the military would support them were correct, they would have succeeded.

Of course, the military did not support them. Every member in the US Military is indoctrinated in the idea that their role is to defend the constitution of the United States, and generals have an institutional respect for the ideal of civilian control. The founding fathers of the United States were heavily influenced by the Roman Republic, and they made sure to implement safeguards against popular military leaders like Julius Caesar taking authoritarian control. Our government was tested and the political class received a pretty severe wake up call, but our institutions held and Trump has been left friendless with no political clout to speak of. …


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Taken from the thumbnail of this video

Monolingualism, or speaking only one language, is kind of a freak occurrence in human history. Before the advent of sprawling nation states, it wasn’t unusual for one to live in the vicinity of a number of ethnic groups who spoke languages completely unrelated to your own. Over hundreds of years, as people continue to communicate across disparate languages within a close proximity, they begin to influence each other and a “Sprachbund” forms. A “Sprachbund” is essentially a group of languages that share structural features because of contact and influence rather than inheritance. Although English is completely unrelated to Hungarian, the two languages share a number of core features in common. Articles like “a” and “the” are absent from Hindi, Latin, and Icelandic, which are related to English, and also absent from Finnish, which is related to Hungarian. …


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Apparently there’s some controversy over the famous line “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24). There’s a story that’s been going around since the 15th century that eye of a needle is a gate in Jerusalem that was too small for an encumbered camel to pass through, therefore requiring merchants to remove their baggage before entering the city. This rationalization is apparently quite common, but has no evidence to support it. There’s another interesting theory that “camel” is actually a misprint of the Greek word “kamilos”, which means rope. This explanation is unnecessary given the parallels to an “elephant passing through the eye of a needle”, another common metaphor at the time. …


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This article is a sneaky trojan horse for social justice warrior politics, just like the last one I wrote on this topic. That’s not how I personally see my own work, but it’s how a lot of other people saw it. To be perfectly honest, considering the amount of time I spent carefully thinking out and researching an article meant to expose a new audience to a niche community that left me open to challenges towards my masculinity only to have said community accuse me of being a disingenuous “social justice man” was a pretty painful experience. I am by far not the first person to experience something like this, most of the results that come up after a search for “journalism quotes” have to do with dealing with controversy. …


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Recently, I came across an article here on Medium talking about slang terms white people need to stop using. Normally, this sort of stuff wouldn’t bother me, but every time I look at my medium digest some article pops up belonging to a genre I can only really describe as “let’s get upset at shit white people do”. Let me start out by pointing out the pachyderm. I am white. I am so white, I offend mayonnaise. I’m so white, snow blindness was originally called Sam blindness. I cannot leave the house without instantly getting four types of skin cancer. I invented Tay-Sachs disease. I am so white, my skin tone is used competitively to color business cards like that scene from American Psycho. When I try to dance, it becomes a personal tragedy and my reputation is destroyed like Elaine from Seinfeld. …


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Anti-lockdown protest at the Ohio Statehouse in April 2020

America Failed at COVID-19, but the Economy’s Okay. Why? is the title of an article that was recommended to me by Firefox’s Pocket feature. The actual content of the article wasn’t particularly interesting. For the most part it felt like a survey class of a handful of countries’ macroeconomic policies with some positive publicity for the Democratic Party sprinkled on top. I came up with the title and premise for my own article immediately after seeing that reference to “America’s economy”. Although the write-up itself gives some lip service to inequality and unemployment, it didn’t change much regarding how I feel about the premises it’s implicitly based on. …


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Nine in 10 registered voters consider food supply chain workers “essential” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Covid-19 didn’t really hit home for me until a few days ago, when I had a talk with one of my old coworkers at the local Safeway. She was normally the most talkative person in the whole store, always wearing a bright smile overflowing with bubbly spirt. Waiting my turn at checkout, I noticed right away something was off. Her visage was grim and she looked absolutely haggard. She was trying to be friendly with the customer in front of me, but it was clear her mind was elsewhere. When I got my chance to speak with her, it became obvious why. Her father had died recently, and she had been staying up crying every night. He had contracted Covid-19 here during his brief visit from Bosnia, and he didn’t make it. I tried talking to her as long as possible, hoping there might be something I could do or say, but another one of my old coworkers started bagging my groceries and aggressively ushering me through the line. …


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It’s easy to take food for granted. It’s not just the abundance many in the industrialized world now have ready access to that’s so amazing; the astounding variety of food available is an impressive achievement in itself. Our crops and livestock are not something we encountered by chance, it took thousands of years of cultivation to reach the point where an inedible grass could become a fat cob covered in hundreds of juicy, berry-like kernels. Peoples all over the world have developed their own independent cultivation practices.

When new cultures come into contact with each other, it has often led to a revolution not just in food but society as well. One of the most radical transformations in the history of humanity was the so-called Columbian Exchange, the result of Europeans extracting resources from the Americas which were then distributed throughout Eurasia and Africa. Many of the food staples we take for granted today were developed by the indigenous people of the Americas long before Europeans arrived. Without American horticulture, the Italians would have no tomato sauce for their pizza, the Russians would be without vodka, and South Asia would be deprived of spicy curries. The introduction of corn to Africa supported expansive empires and facilitated the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The potato motivated a population explosion throughout Europe, while the medicine quinine allowed colonists to finally penetrate the “white man’s grave” of Africa. The native Amazonians discovered a way to stabilize rubber, which facilitated the revolutions in electricity and transportation that characterized the 19th century. …

About

Sam Young

Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.

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