Jack Butler

Nuke the Internet From Orbit?

Review: Mary Aiken, 'The Cyber Effect: A Pioneering Cyberpsychologist Explains How Human Behavior Changes Online'

After reading Mary Aiken's The Cyber Effect, one is tempted to hope that an attack succeeds in bringing the whole Internet down.

A Visitor—From the Future

Review: James Gleick, 'Time Travel: A History'

When I started drafting this review of James Gleick's Time Travel: A History, I had a severe case of writer's block. I stared at my computer, at the keyboard, at the book itself. All in vain. No words came. So I walked away from my computer, hoping that doing something else would help. Suddenly, there was a brilliant flash of light. Shielding my eyes from the blinding beam, I saw a shadow emerge from a portal in front of me. When the portal disappeared, the light went with it, and I could make out the shadow. It was me. "What’s going on?" I asked myself, and... my self.

How America Became Great

Review: Robert Gordon, ‘The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War’

American flag ManhattanLast fall, Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio attempted to rebut “Make America Great Again,” the slogan of his rival, Donald Trump. America, Rubio said, is great right now. Trump responded thus: “You can’t be satisfied [with where the country is now]. You have to use the word ‘again.’ It’s very important, because if he’s saying that, then that means there’s no room for improvement...”

The Coming Regime Change in America

Review: James Piereson, ‘Shattered Consensus’

Permanence may be the illusion of every age, but predictions are hard, and so history is littered with Paul Ehrlichs and Harold Campings whose premonitions of apocalypse fail to come true. Yet one does also see the occasional Cassandra, whose warnings go unheeded until too late. It thus seems understandable that James Piereson, president of the William E. Simon Foundation and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, hedges his bets in Shattered Consensus: The Rise and Decline of America’s Postwar Political Order, his new book about the imminent collapse of the political order that has dominated America since World War II.

The Conservatarian Moment

Review: Charles Cooke’s ‘Conservatarian Manifesto’

Are American animals—including humans—inherently weaker than their European counterparts? That’s what esteemed 18th century French scientist Georges-Louis Leclerc Buffon argued in his opus Histoire Naturelle. Buffon had no real evidence for this, as Charles Cooke—a British transplant to America who now writes for National Review—once pointed out. But it was, to Cooke, a fine illustration of the rest of the world’s frequent failure to understand America.

The Future and Its Enemies

Review: 'Zero to One' by Peter Thiel

Depiction of a futuristic cityIn 2011, Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and Palantir Technologies, worried that the future might be over. In a cover story for National Review, the entrepreneur and investor argued that, “when tracked against the admittedly lofty hopes of the 1950s and 1960s, technological progress has fallen short in many domains.” Only drastic changes, he said, could sustain the centuries-long (and historically atypical) stream of progress that the rise of the West has represented.

Review: ‘Conservative Insurgency’ by Kurt Schlicter

A ‘Looking Backward’ For Conservatives

When Edward Bellamy published his utopian novel Looking Backward: 2000-1887 in 1888, he did not fancy himself a reformer, nor had he intended to fashion a social blueprint. “The idea,” he later wrote, “was of a mere literary fantasy, a fairy tale of social felicity.”

No Longer Just

Eric HolderIn the 1966 film A Man For All Seasons, which depicts Sir Thomas More’s steadfast disapproval of King Henry VIII’s marital infidelities, More stirringly defends the rule of law. Rebutting his son-in-law, who says he would hypothetically “cut down every law in England” to find the devil, More asks, “And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat?”

‘The Weed Agency’ Review

Jim Geraghty’s fictional debut is worth a read

In the wake of the 2012 election, as conservatives sought a return to electoral success, Jim Geraghty lightly chastised them. “Hey, remember how everybody on the right decided after the excruciating debacle of the 2012 election, we had to focus on the culture?” he asked in the Feb.15, 2013, edition of the Morning Jolt, his daily morning political newsletter. “It's mid-February, so about three and a half months since this discussion began. Anyone seen any new cultural offerings from the Right?”