Interesting articles from 2016
This is a list of articles from 2016 that I found interesting. In no particular order. (Note: I don’t agree with all of them).
Hillary Clinton and the Populist Revolt — by George Packer. Probably the best piece I’ve read this year. Simply outstanding.
Vanishing — by John Sutter. Extremely well-made and very important look at the existential crisis facing a lot of the natural world. For example, the population of Elephants in Africa decreased by 30% from 2007 to 2014. Many more facts in the link.
The movie that doesn’t exist and the Redditors who think it does — by Amelia Tait. Some people vividly remember watching a movie in the mid-90s. But the movie doesn’t actually exist.
I’m a neoliberal. Maybe you are too — by Sam Bowman. Persuasive and very clear defence of neoliberalism.
Eat, drink and be merry but only after work — by Janan Ganesh. I could have picked any of his columns from this year. I picked this one because it’s so quirky and original. I can’t wait for Janan Ganesh’s collection of columns to come out in book form in, say, 20 or so years.
Citizen Khan — by Kathryn Schulz. An extremely fascinating essay on Zarif Khan, a Muslim migrant to the rural, western state of Wyoming. He moved there in the early 20th century and became popular by cooking and selling a Mexican dish called tamales. (Random fact: in 1890, when Wyoming became a US state, it became the first state in America where women could vote. Another fact: Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by 46% in the election, the largest margin of victory out of all the states Trump won and the largest margin of victory by any presidential candidate in Wyoming’s history.)
I’m with The Banned — by Laurie Penny. Very well-written and insightful piece on one of the more colourful characters of 2016.
The Holocaust, the Left, and the Return of Hate — by Jamie Palmer. Excellent and comprehensive piece on the Left’s anti-Semitism problem.
AA Gill’s fearless journalism was an inspiration — so why didn’t I tell him that? — by Hadley Freeman. Tell the writers you appreciate that you appreciate them before it’s too late.
The Jewish Godfather of the alt-right — by Jacob Siegel. This excellent and insightful piece offers the best definition of the alt-right I’ve ever read.
Donald Trump’s Ghostwriter reveals all — by Jane Mayer. Extremely fascinating insight into the next president of The United States.
Neoliberalism, Social Justice and Barbie’s New Hair — by Rory Ellwood. Very fascinating and worthwhile piece on the link between modern day social justice and neoliberalism. My favourite line: “Neoliberalism is pretty great, and it will succeed no matter what you do, so stop complaining and enjoy the ride”. (Adolph Reed and Freddie DeBoer have written about this issue — both of them are quite left-wing).
Black lies matter — by Heather Mac Donald. I’d really love to see a supporter of the “Black Lives Matter” movement write a response to this piece.
Autism and the Thomas Sowell you haven’t read — by Paula Lynn Johnson. Lovely piece on a little known aspect of Mr Sowell.
The Conservative Case for Voting For Clinton — by David Frum. I have a lot of time for David Frum.
Porn: Our colour blind spot when it comes to racism — by Yomi Adegoke. This is a very interesting and stimulating piece on porn and racism. I have some strong quibbles with it, though, which are too long to go into here. (If you’re curious about them, message me).
All the East is Moving — by Tom Holland. Immigration, Christianity, Islam and integration — all the interesting stuff.
The Crisis for Liberalism — by Ross Douthat. The emergence of Liberal identity politics is a consequence of a decline in religion and patriotism. Extremely fascinating hypothesis.
My President was Black — by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Always worth reading, even if you disagree with his assumptions and conclusions. Beautifully written examination on Obama’s relationship with his black identity.
The Problem with Obama’s faith in White America — by Tressie McMillan Cottom. A response to Ta-Nehisi Coates’ that manages to be even more pessimistic and cynical. This piece, funnily enough, clarified in my mind why I have a lot of respect for Barack Obama.
Gender is not a spectrum — by Rebecca Reilly-Cooper. Rigorously argued, very well-written critique of gender identity politics.
The White Death — by Andrew Sabisky. Very profound and interesting piece on the problems afflicting middle and low income white Americans.
The Obama Doctrine — by Jeffrey Goldberg. If you’re interested in Obama’s foreign policy, read this. Wide-ranging and interesting.
Crisis of the Conservative Intellectual — by Matthew Continetti. Great essay on the splits in the American intellectual right.
No, it wasn’t about race — by Adam Garfinkle. The piece argues that Trump’s victory wasn’t about race. I have some disagreements with it, but I think it’s powerfully argued and very much worth reading.
Book Review: Albion’s Seed — by Scott Alexander. If you’re interested in different American cultures, then read this. Gloriously informative.
What the story about of the niqab-wearing Welsh speaker tells us about what we want to hear — by Sarah Ditum. This is Garibaldi’s favourite piece of the year. Garibaldi is my precocious, 4 year old welsh-speaking son.
The Empirics of the Places We Go Part 1: Economic Effects of Immigration — by Anonymous Mugwump. If you’re interested in immigration, then you have to read this excellent piece.
Andrea Leadsom is the leader of an am-dram peasant revolt — by Marina Hyde. Very funny and entertaining piece.
The Olympics Issue — by New York Times Magazine.
Last Taboo — by Wesley Morris. Interesting and extremely well-written essay on black male sexuality.
Leonard Cohen makes it darker — by David Remnick. This is a marvellous profile of Leonard Cohen.
The Evidence for ‘Born This Way’ — by Robert Verbruggen. Very fascinating piece on homosexuality and transgenderism. If you’re interested on those topics, I think it’s an essential read. The piece also provides stimulating links.
The Condorcet Paradox— by Jonathan Portes. One of the best things I’ve read on Brexit.
You can be against the elite and still be rich and privileged — by Ed West. Being materially wealthy doesn’t necessarily make you part of the elite. Elite’s also have certain norms and values and status. Trump has crass, vulgar qualities and the resentments of a nouveau-riche. Ian Buruma describes Trump as a “Gatsby gone sour”.
The US really is a nation of immigrants — by Hansjorg Walther. If Immigration to the US completely stopped after 1790, the population of the US in 1990 would probably be about 63 million people; this is 25% of what it actually was that year — 249 million. Fascinating.
Crony Beliefs — by Kevin Simler. Super interesting on the link between beliefs an incentives.
On genetics Oliver James is on a different plant to the rest of us — by Stuart Ritchie. Scathing, excoriating and sharp.
The smug style in American Liberalism — by Emmett Rensin. Has the feel and texture of a classic essay.
Redux — by Twlldun the Great. Superb piece on the dire state of the Labour Party.
Jeremy Corbyn may prevail, but he has no monopoly on virtue — by Rafael Behr. Another piece on why Labour is fucked.
Behind the Burkini — by Benjamin Haddad. A very good piece on why the French decided to ban the Burkini.
The Non-Non-Libertarian FAQ — by Jose Ricon. If you’re interested in libertarianism, this is excellent and extremely informative.
US life expectancy is below naive expectations mostly because it economically outperforms — by RandomCriticalAnalysis. If you’re interested in US health policy, then you have to read this. Extremely detailed, insightful and data-heavy.
The Defense of Liberty can’t do without Identity Politics — by Jacob Levy. The best defence of identity politics I’ve ever read.
Liberalism and Islam — by Edward Feser. A very thought-provoking critique of liberalism.
Springtime for Demagogues — an extremely intelligent and thoughtful piece by a wanker called David Paxton.
The American Leader in the Islamic State — by Graeme Wood. Extremely compelling.
An excruciating story of American addiction — by Eli Saslow. Harrowing, brutal and heartbreaking.
Profiles of Islamic State leaders — by Kyle Orton. Typically excellent report by Kyle.
The lesson we should learn from clock boy — never believe the early reports — by Ben Southwood. This was published in December of last year but I feel its message is so important that it should be included for this year. I think this is one of those pieces that’s going to prove extremely relevant every single year for the foreseeable future.
A history of global living conditions in 5 charts — by Max Roser. 200 years ago, 45% of children born in the world didn't make it past 5 years old. Now, that’s 4.5%. 200 years ago, 92% of the world lived in extreme poverty. Now, that’s around 10%. 200 years ago, 88% of the world was illiterate. Now, that’s about 15%. Humanity is getting richer, healthier, freer and more educated. Merry Christmas.
A special mention to Marginal Revolution, the blog run by Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok. I get a lot of interesting articles through there.