Today’s reading list starts with David French in the National Review looking over President Trump’s State of the Union speech. The president had as his guests to the speech some extraordinary Americans. They are not the type you find on the red carpet signalling their virtue. They just have virtue.
They included Corporal (Ret) Matthew Bradford, who joined the United States Marine Corps straight out of high school and deployed to Iraq in 2006. In 2007, he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED). Shrapnel shot into his eyes, blinding him, and the explosion also took both his legs. After multiple surgeries and therapy, Matthew re-enlisted in the Marine Corps – the first blind double amputee to do so. It’s not called the land of the brave for nothing.
There, too, was Jon Bridgers who founded the Cajun Navy 2016 as a non-profit rescue and recovery organisation to respond to flooding in south Louisiana. In 2017, the Cajun Navy provided aid to those in Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey. Bridgers and the Cajun Navy 2016 have helped thousands of people across the South, and to this day they are helping to collect resources and donations for those who lost their homes in the storms.
Trump also honoured police officer Ryan Holets and his wife Rebecca. He intervened to stop a pregnant homeless woman from injecting heroin and later adopted her child, naming her Hope. They are now a family of five. I’m pretty sure they could not make it to the Grammys.
In City Journal, Bruce Bawer discusses the Islamisation of Oslo. He tells us that in Groruddalen, a large neighbourhood of the Norwegian capital, heavy Muslim immigration is testing multiculturalism’s limits. It is the usual story of serious cultural change covered up by the political and media elite.
Finally, I give you an excellent interview by Peter Robinson with Niall Ferguson at the Hoover Institution.
In it, Niall Ferguson discusses his new book on social networks, The Square and the Tower.
The blurb tells us: ‘With social networks like Facebook and Twitter in abundance, the effects of networks on society in the twenty-first century are inarguable. However, Niall Ferguson, author of The Square and the Tower, argues that networks are not a new phenomenon and have been impacting human culture from the beginning of history.’
Niall Ferguson and Peter Robinson discuss networks and hierarchies throughout history in this episode of Uncommon Knowledge. Ferguson breaks down what he means by networks and hierarchies using the imagery of the Piazza del Campo in Siena, where the Torre del Mangia, representing the hierarchy, casts a long shadow over the Piazza del Campo, representing the network. Ferguson argues that this powerful imagery invokes the essence of his book and the intertwined nature of networks and hierarchies within society.
Ferguson goes on to discuss the importance of networks in social movements throughout history, including Martin Luther and the Reformation, Paul Revere and the American Revolution, Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union, and social media and Donald Trump. He argues that a networked world is a dangerous world, in that it allows movements and societies to advance in unexpected ways.
It is a must watch.