In a twin conspiracy , a pair of identical twins would pretend to be only one person. For example, in college each twin could specialize in, and then ace, half of the classes; their GPA would soar.  They might together make partner in a law firm by handling a lot more work than other lawyers.  They could cheat on their spouse and while offering that spouse a near-constant video of “their” activities.  In fact, they could always have an alibi for anything they did.

Economist Robin Hanson thinks this is rare but I suspect this is what the majority of identical twins do all the time.
There’s something wrong with a society that permits adultery to become a pathway to commercial success.

Maggie Gallagher doesn’t think adultery should be a business model.
Some years after the collapse of Communism, I asked a Russian art critic what had happened to all the Socialist Realists in his country. He said they were still earning a living making other kinds of art, but that the transition hadn’t always been seamless. He cited the case of a painter whose stock in trade had been portraits of Lenin. The man was now earning his living churning out religious subjects. But, my friend added, so ingrained were his earlier habits that every time he painted the face of Jesus, he wound up with a likeness of Lenin.

Eric Gibson on totalitarian kitsch.

. . . Dubai customs officials would not let him receive by mail a monograph about the painter Francis Bacon because they feared its contents contravened Islamic dietary strictures.

Michael Z. Wise, writing about the problems faced by Michael Schindhelm , a German opera director . Schindhelm was also told that Dubai natives believe “piano playing comes from the devil’s fingers.”
Rule to live by, folks: when your theory of how the world works starts sounding like The Protocols of the Elders of Zion , it’s time to recheck those assumptions.

Walter Russell Mead providing sound advice to political scientists.
But there is one thing of which I am nearly perfectly certain: If we pass this thing, no American politician, left or right, is going to cut any of these programs, or raise the broad-based taxes necessary to pay for them, without any compensating goodies to offer the public . . . until the crisis is almost upon us. I can think of no situation, other than impending crisis, in which such a thing has been done—and usually, as with Social Security, they have done just little enough to punt the problem down the road. The idea that you pass a program of dubious sustainability because you can always make it sustainable later, seems borderline insane. I can’t think of a single major entitlement that has become more sustainable over time. Why is this one supposed to be different?

Megan McArdle with one of the smartest things said in the entire health care debate.

Additional sources: League of Ordinary Gentlemen , The Browser , More Than 95 Theses

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