Politics and government


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Essay/
Information and communication
The new mind control

The internet has spawned subtle forms of influence that can flip elections and manipulate everything we say, think and do

Robert Epstein

The Bray family reading bedtime stories at the Family of the Mystic Arts Commune. Photo by John Olson/LIFE Picture Collection/Getty
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Subcultures
Utopia Inc

Most utopian communities are, like most start-ups, short-lived. What makes the difference between failure and success?

Alexa Clay

A woodcut of Nuremberg from the Nuremberg Chronicle 1493. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

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Cities
Return of the city-state

Nation-states came late to history, and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest they won’t make it to the end of the century

Jamie Bartlett

Islamist fighters walk through the streets of Al Raqqah. The town is now the capital for the so-called Islamic State. Photo by David Rose/Panos
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Values and beliefs
ISIS is a revolution

All world-altering revolutions are born in danger and death, brotherhood and joy. How can this one be stopped?

Scott Atran

A fresco inside the catacomb of Priscilla in Rome, November 2013. The catacomb was used for Christian burials from the late 2nd through the 4th century CE. Photo by Reuters/Max Rossi

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Religion
Christians were strangers

How an obscure oriental cult in a corner of Roman Palestine grew to become the dominant religion of the Western world

Michael Kulikowski

Connecting the USSR; at the Cybernetics Institute of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in Kiev in 1968.
Essay/
History of technology
The Soviet InterNyet

Soviet scientists tried for decades to network their nation. What stalemated them is now fracturing the global internet

Benjamin Peters

Francis Fukuyama photographed in Paris. Photo by Stephane Grangier/Corbis/Getty

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Political philosophy
The last hollow laugh

Since Francis Fukuyama proclaimed ‘The End of History’ 25 years ago, he has been much maligned. His work now seems prophetic

Paul Sagar

Illustration by Tim McDonagh/Handsome Frank

Essay/
Knowledge
How to choose?

When your reasons are worse than useless, sometimes the most rational choice is a random stab in the dark

Michael Schulson

Prince Aurangzeb, 1653-1655, gouache with gold on paper. Image © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

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Global history
A much-maligned Mughal

The great king Aurangzeb is among the most hated men in Indian history. A historian claims he’s been unjustly demonised

Audrey Truschke

Photo by Jan Banning/Panos
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Politics and government
Anti-anti-communism

Millions of Russians and eastern Europeans now believe that they were better off under communism. What does this signify?

Kristen R Ghodsee & Scott Sehon

Bamangwato chief Seretse Khama addresses a tribal council meeting in March 1950. Under his leadership, between 1966 and 1980 Botswana had the fastest-growing economy in the world. Photo by Margarte Bourke-White/Time Life/Getty

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Nations and empires
How nations come together

Nations come with a vast array of peoples, languages and histories, but the strong ones share three simple things

Andreas Wimmer

A Banksy graffiti work in London. Photo by Cate Gillon/Getty Images

Essay/
Political philosophy
Life in the fishbowl

In the future, most people will live in a total surveillance state – and some of us might even like it

Stuart Armstrong

Don't step on me; the porcupine has become the symbol of the Free State Project. Detail from a 1929 motivational poster. Photo by David Pollack/Corbis
Essay/
Demography and migration
A libertarian utopia

Libertarians are united by opposition to government, but when it comes to planning a new society they are deeply divided

Livia Gershon

Storm clouds gather above ships waiting to dock in Singapore. Photo by Edgar Su/Reuters

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Global history
What is global history now?

Historians cheered globalism with work about cosmopolitans and border-crossing, but the power of place never went away

Jeremy Adelman

Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir having lunch at the "La Coupole" Brasserie, December 1973. Photo by Guy Le Querrec/Magnum

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Cosmopolitanism
The dimming of the light

With its revolutionary heat and rational cool, French thought once dazzled the world. Where did it all go wrong?

Sudhir Hazareesingh

New York, 1982. Photo by Harry Gruyaert/Magnum Photos
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Economics
The small business myth

Small businesses enjoy an iconic status in modern capitalism, but what do they really contribute to the economy?

Benjamin C Waterhouse

The Haitian Revolutionary leader Toussaint L'Ouverture painted on the body of a bus operating in Port-au-Prince, July 2008. Photo by Jan Sochor/Latincontent/Getty Images

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Global history
Atlantic freedoms

Haiti, not the US or France, was where the assertion of human rights reached its defining climax in the Age of Revolution

Laurent Dubois

Daoist power: Herding Horses by Han Gan, Tang dynasty, China. Photo courtesy the National Palace Museum, Taipei/Wikipedia
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Fairness and equality
In defence of hierarchy

As a society we have forgotten how to talk about the benefits of hierarchy, expertise and excellence. It’s time we remembered

Stephen C Angle, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Julian Baggini and others

Sintesi Fascista (1935) by Alessandro Bruschetti. Photo courtesy the Wolfsonian-Florida International University, Miami Beach, Florida, The Mitchell Wolfson, Jr Collection
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Politics and government
Fire, hatred and speed!

The glamour, bullying and violence of the libertarian alt-Right has a direct political ancestor, and it’s not Nazi Germany

Jay Griffiths