I usually get quickly bored by the partisan simplicities engendered by some of the more political posts on Inside Higher Ed, but the exchanges following Scott McLemee's thoughtful (agree with it or not) discussion of violent radicalism in Islam and the reaction thereto are well worth a close read for some reasoned arguments around one of the core problematics of our time. Yes, it will eat 30 minutes of your time--which could have been spent on something more meaningful like Colbert or shopping--but it repays the effort, methinks.

(Less rewarding but good background is McLemee's original piece and the commentary that follows it, and a special treat is one respondent's inclusion of a link to this hilarious snarkfest on Wonkette. The apology for the Bush-Caesar piece on its original website makes a nice coda, too.)

Fundamentalist religious terrorists, anti-intellectuals, proto-fascism in Norman Rockwell guise, hypernationalist capitalism, peak oil, climate change--what's a nice kid like you doing in a place like this, anyway?

Poet Robinson Jeffers wrote the following in 1935; I read it 40 years later and thought it chilling then:

Ave Caesar

No bitterness: our ancestors did it.
They were only ignorant and hopeful, they wanted freedom but wealth too.
Their children will learn to hope for a Caesar.
Or rather--for we are not aquiline Romans but soft mixed colonists--
Some kindly Sicilian tyrant who'll keep
Poverty and Carthage off until the Romans arrive,
We are easy to manage, a gregarious people,
Full of sentiment, clever at mechanics, and we love our luxuries.

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