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Venice Afloat

An observer of a Spenglerian bent might just write Venice off, taking the floods that afflict the city with increasing frequency as the finishing touches on a long-running spectacle of political, economic, and cultural decline. That decline, spanning half a millennium, has by now reduced the city to . . . . Continue Reading »

The Antidiscrimination Regime

I read The Age of Entitlement in one sitting, unable to put down Christopher Caldwell’s riveting account of the last fifty years of American politics and culture. After the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the nation’s leaders embarked on a series of grand projects. A modern . . . . Continue Reading »

Building to No Purpose

Architecture can reflect the progress of a civilization, but Hudson Yards is not about civilization. Its buildings reflect the futility of a “progressive” design sensibility cut off from the past and wedded to novelty and formal dissonance as ends in themselves. The mixed-use development rises . . . . Continue Reading »

Letters

Hadley Arkes, echoing themes he has developed for many years in his work, offers a forceful argument (“Backing into Relativism,” June/July) that the Supreme Court’s aspiration to contentless neutrality in its Speech and Religion Clause doctrine is a jurisprudential dead end—a “descent . . . . Continue Reading »

Cultural Nihilism

The decline in life expectancy in the United States is a symptom of a failing culture. It is driven by deaths of despair: Suicide rates are up, as are drug overdoses and alcohol-related diseases. Those are hard, cruel facts. There are other signs of failure, more auspicious ones. We read about young . . . . Continue Reading »

Crimes in Concrete

Making Dystopia:  The Strange Rise and Survival of Architectural Barbarism by james stevens curl oxford, 592 pages, $60 In a recent debate in Prospect magazine on the question of whether modern architecture has ruined British towns and cities, Professor James Stevens Curl, . . . . Continue Reading »

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