You can’t affect the world in the most important ways from within established patterns of action. You need to spend some time in the wilderness.
In the nineteenth century, America’s most powerful families became a national ruling class. Then came their rapid collapse.
Rulers and crime lords are often made of the same stuff. For those who can handle it, the underworld has valuable lessons to teach about power.
Yale’s legendary secret society used to train powerful elites. But it could only reflect elite culture, not define it.
Lebanon’s state is collapsing under the weight of its own dysfunction. Visiting its capital, I found a gallery of street art, urban wreckage, and political nihilism.
Our approach to education is reproducing society’s worst neuroses. The alternative isn’t institutional reform, but a different consciousness.
The party cadre Jiao Yulu embodied a Chinese political culture with room for experiments and risk-taking. Xi’s turn to digital technocracy may threaten its survival.
America’s elite universities have an aristocratic mission. The Confucian tradition has lessons for how to achieve it.
While in Lebanon to report on a disintegrating state, I found Hezbollah building a different kind of regime.
One man’s thought has become pivotal in China’s new political and cultural crackdowns. That man is not Xi Jinping.
Sci-Hub has become foundational for scientific research. What if we didn’t need it at all?
Xi wants to guide China’s thinkers with a clear party line. But that line is just one rallying point in a complex intellectual ecology.
While in Tokyo for the Summer Olympics, I instead saw the spectacle of Japan’s aspiring new elites.
The Japanese Empire founded Kenkoku University to create new pan-Asian elites. Despite their own defeat, they succeeded.
In the midst of Japan’s chaotic Sengoku era, a radical Buddhist sect carved out a new regime. Then came the real test.
Fundamental change only comes from outside established paradigms. Without room for new founders, progress is impossible.
In postwar France, Charles de Gaulle unified executive power with a technocratic state and a national story. His model still endures around the world.
The threat of mass panic lurks behind our mechanisms of political control. What if we were allowed to fear?