Creating a Parallel Society

One of the key contributions of the Polish opposition movement was its concept of living “as if.” At a certain point in the 1970s, dissidents like Adam Michnik and Jacek Kuron proposed to create a parallel society in which people acted as if they were already living in a democratic society. They would act openly, not covertly, and try to gradually expand the sphere of democratic action. If...
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NSA and TMI

To: John Brennan, Langley HQ From: Operative 650, undisclosed location Re: Memo XP1476 Greetings from the tropics! I apologize for not writing to you earlier. As you probably know, if you have my file in front of you, I wrote to your predecessors with various modest proposals:outsourcing targeted killings to the Chinese, turning our drone program into a reality TV show, and imposing an Empire...
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Following the Magic

In the early 1990s, Eastern Europe entered the list of expatriate wonderlands, like the Left Bank of Paris in the 1920s or Tokyo of the 1980s. Prague was the most powerful magnet: Czechoslovakia after the Velvet Revolution was relatively cheap, jobs teaching English were plentiful, and the city was full of beautiful buildings and creative energy. Caleb Crain’s new novel Necessary Errors...
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YU-Rock!

The intellectual revolutionaries of the Age of Enlightenment created a community through the exchange of letters. In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, this “republic of letters” created a common intellectual language across countries and, indeed, across the Atlantic between Europe and the United States. This non-territorial republic played a role in various scientific revolutions, not...
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The World Without U.S.

In his 2007 bestseller, The World Without Us, journalist Alan Weisman describes a planet that regenerates itself after the disappearance of human beings. Skyscrapers crumble and bridges collapse into rivers, but the primeval forests take over and the buffalo return to roam. It’s an optimistic vision of the future—if you’re a buffalo or a dolphin or a cockroach. No more ranchers. No more...
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