As the new year begins, be sure to revisit our top five essays and reviews from the print magazine, as selected by editor Adam Garfinkle. If the holiday season has left you feeling the need to reinvigorate your brain, these are a great place to start.
Joshua Mitchell, “Age of Exhaustion“
How the triumphalist mutation of liberalism and the anti-liberal politics of identity have together brought us to the age of exhaustion.
Stephen Sestanovich, “Could It Have Been Otherwise?“
Russian-American relations are in ruins. A look back at decisions made after the Cold War can help us understand what went wrong—and whether the United States had other options.
R. Jay Magill, Jr., “The Problem with Political Intimacy“
Why American politicians so enthusiastically reveal their personal lives to us—and why they should knock it off.
Jerry Z. Muller, “The Costs of Accountability“
The ballooning demand for misplaced and misunderstood metrics, benchmarks, and performance indicators is costing us big.
Rasha Al Aqeedi, “Caliphatalism?“
An Iraqi exile eavesdrops on life in her old hometown of Mosul.
Steven Teles, “Nudge, or Shove?“
Cass Sunstein’s “libertarian paternalism” doesn’t just sound oxymoronic; it actually is. Liberalism deserves more forthright advocacy.
Harold James, “Capitalism Da Capo“
Authors tapping into the renewed interest in the history and nature of capitalism are stumbling over an unexpected problem: There’s no agreement on what capitalism is.
Robert D. Kaplan, “Wat in the World“
Aleksander Wat’s life and work stand as warning that the totalitarian temptations of the 20th century have yet to run their course.
Jeremy Mayer, “Reading Coates, Thinking Obama“
Ta-Nehisi Coates has managed to write a book on America’s racial dilemmas without involving either Barack Obama or Martin Luther King, Jr. Or has he?
Francis Fukuyama, “Waltzing with (Leo) Strauss“
A new book arguing for the ubiquity of esoteric writing in pre-modern times redeems Leo Strauss from his many detractors.