Reading Material – August 1, 2021

Short List

Prior to the rise of car culture, we could expect to regularly interact with friends, neighbors, and strangers as we made our way through cities developed with walkability and multimodal transportation in mind. Especially since World War II, we still encounter those folks…but many of those encounters are “mediated by the automobile windshield.” Not only did car culture change how we build cities, it changed how (and how often) we encounter other people: “When we encounter someone [as a driver],” writes Jacobsen, “we don’t encounter another human being with whom we might connect. We as a driver meeting another driver encounter a competitor—a competitor for lane space and parking spaces.”

The more acceptable it is to denounce people because of their speech, the more likely it is that it will eventually happen to you.

Haider’s argument is far more nuanced than that, so much so that I couldn’t pick a paragraph-long excerpt that made sense out of context.

Shortly after January 6, I exchanged a few emails with Robert Paxton, author of The Anatomy of Fascism, asking him his opinion about what happened. A long time skeptic of the idea that Trump was a fascist phenomenon, the events of January 6 appeared to have changed his mind. In particular, he made the comparison—made by others in subsequent days—between the January 6 riots and the attempt by far-right leagues and military veterans to storm the Chamber of Deputies in Paris on February 6 1934.

This comparison appealed to me immediately, because I’ve thought for a long time the French Third Republic was a more interesting and productive place to look for parallels to the present than the Weimar Republic or post-World War I Italy.

Also Worth Reading/Listening

Ending on a Positive Note