Selections from the archives
Thanks to Substack viewer data, I’ve found that new subscribers almost never read the archives from before they joined. I assume this is because you all want the thrill of the new. I understand; the new is hot. That’s how we end up with the constant change we all know and love. But, you know, if you read old things that you’ve never read before, they can still be pretty hot. Unlike leftovers, no re-heating is required!
So, while I work on finishing the next new essay, why not check out some of the quality content from the Upheaval archive? Here’s a selection of some older material from the vault that you may not have seen but which could be of interest:
Before there was the year of rampant inflation, and before today’s renewed agonizing over the colossal U.S. national debt, there was this Upheaval review of Ray Dalio’s interesting 2021 book on historical debt cycles and the vast scope of their consequences. Subsequently Dalio got himself pushed out of the leadership of his hedge fund for being too pro-China – but what can I say: his predictions seem to have held up pretty well so far. Which, if you read this, won’t bode well.
Speaking of China: the world may always be changing, yet China remains. You should know about China, since China knows about you (no, don’t look up, the balloon is always watching). This early essay set out to begin a series explaining China, and its role in the world. My views on China have shifted a bit since then, but this should still hold up – plus you’ll be all caught up for Part 3 in 2023…
You may have heard certain zealous modern political movements described as new religions (such as by me), or maybe as religious heresies. But what does that mean? How might changes in how religious belief manifests itself cause cultural and political upheaval? Has what we’re seeing today happened before – indeed many times – in history? This early essay of mine explores that question through the lens of Christianity and a somewhat odd book, The Great Emergence, by the late Phyllis Tickle.
Like debt, China, or religion, there is apparently a cycle of demand for Mary Harrington. When I recently polled the Substack Chat thread (which you should join!) for suggestions of people to interview, she was a top choice. Well guess what: I already interviewed Mary. This is why you should all read the archive instead of missing out. So enjoy this, and maybe we’ll have Mary back another time.
The American right, and the broader “anti-woke” conservative-liberal coalition, seems to currently be fracturing. You can read all about it on the internet if you want. And it seems to be fracturing, at least in part, right along the lines I laid out in this 2021 essay on the fissures present in the “counter-revolution.” So this may be worth reading if that’s a subject of interest to you.
If you liked my essay on Tolkien and Lewis, you may find this essay on Liberalism and Conservatism and their influence (reviewing recent books on the topics by Francis Fukuyama and Yoram Hazony, respectively) to be of related interest. Make sure you subscribe to read the second half and not just the first.
Not too many people were around to read this short post responding to a reader with my view of the consolation of philosophy, but more than one person has since told me it remains their favorite. So consider giving it a read.
This short piece on the enduring power and value of humor may, meanwhile, be my own low-key favorite.
So there you go: some weekend reading material, should you want it. And if you enjoy any of these older posts, please do consider sharing them with others who might as well. Thank you everyone for your continued support, and I’ll be back in your inbox with the new stuff soon!
Will do, thanks! Maybe I'll print a few and give them a read with my morning coffee this Saturday.
I suspect that you may be missing the fact that not all of us are speed readers and that there are only so many hours in the day. I like history, but my reviews are more involved with location and individual history, not so much topic history. And yes, I am perhaps more of a reader than a listener, but both methods of learning are important. Have a great day!