The passing scene: Links & comments 9/1/2021

Here are some links to writings I found interesting.  Maybe you will, too.

Costa Ricans Live Longer Than Us – What’s the Secret? by Atul Gowande for The New Yorker.

The average Costa Rican’s income is about one-sixth that of the average US American.  Yet Costa Ricans enjoy longer life expectancies, and are healthier by many other measures.

Atul Gowande wrote that Costa Rica, more than most nations, emphasizes public health—preventing infectious disease outbreaks, malnutrition, toxic hazards, sanitary problems and the like.  It also has clinics that provide free medical care to the whole population, rural as well as urban, poor as well as rich.

Costa Rica is admirable in many ways.  Surrounded by military dictatorships, it has been a democracy with no army for 72 years and counting.  It also is a leader in renewable energy and environmental preservation.

The Great Game of Smashing Nations by John Pilger for Consortium News.

One of the rationales for keeping troops in Afghanistan is to protect women from being oppressed by the Taliban.  But, as John Pilger pointed out, the women of Afghanistan were doing just fine in the 1980s.  Half the university students were women, and women made up 40 percent of Afghanistan’s doctors, 70 percent of its teachers and 30 percent of its civil servants.

But Afghanistan was friendly to the Soviet Union.  The U.S. government recruited fanatic anti-feminist jihadists to overthrow the Afghan government, in order to draw the Soviets into a quagmire war.  The plan succeeded.  The people of Afghanistan, especially the women, paid the price.

Mob Justice Is Trampling Democratic Discourse by Anne Applebaum for The Atlantic.

In today’s USA, you can lose your job and become a social outcast if someone accuses you of violating social codes have to do with race, sex, personal behavior or even acceptable humor–codes that, as Anne Applebaum wrote, may not have existed five years ago or even five months ago.

I’m reminded of the McCarthy period in the 1950s, which I’m old enough to remember.  You could be accused of being pro-Communist for trivial reasons or no reason at all.  The difference is that, in that era, most academics and journalists defended freedom of speech and association, which is not the case today.

Zeynep Tufekci on the Sociology of The Moment, an interview on Conversations with Tyler.

Zepnep Tufekci, a sociology professor at the University of North Carolina, is doing some of the best writing on the COVID-19 pandemic.  She was born in Turkey.

Here she is interviewed by the economist Tyler Cowen about the pandemic, Turkey and her ways of understanding things.

Long COVID: Much More Than You Wanted to Know by Scott Alexander Suskind for Astral Codex Ten.  [Added 9/2/2021]

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: