Links: The need for universal COVID vaccines, the polarization spiral, and more!

* “We could have universal COVID vaccines very soon — if we urgently reform the process.” Extremely important and urgent, and yet very little discussed.

* “The Polarization Spiral: How the right’s monomania and the left’s Great Awokening feed each other.” It’s possible to not succumb to either. “I choose not to” is underrated.

* “American Factories Are Making Stuff Again as CEOs Take Production Out of China.”

* “June Huh, High School Dropout, Wins the Fields Medal.” Beautiful and charming.

* “Make Birth Free.” Things are different when your side wins, than when your side is merely delivering “criticism.”

* “The Outlier:” a surprisingly interesting review-essay on Jimmy Carter and his presidency; the most arresting part may be the counterfactual around the ’76 election:

Reading this book, I kept imagining the alternate history in which Reagan succeeds in his 1976 primary challenge to Gerald Ford, which he lost narrowly in real life. Since Reagan is a much more talented politician than Ford, and isn’t tainted by Ford’s association with Nixon, he almost certainly picks up a couple points of the vote and beats Carter. Then he ends up presiding over stagflation and takes the blame for the poor economy. He loses in 1980 to Ted Kennedy, who ushers in a decade of liberal dominance until his presidency implodes in scandal amidst the revelation of his many drunken affairs.

I’m reminded of the 2004 election: although Democrats considered losing it to be bad at the time—few partisans like losing elections—the lead-up to the 2008 election included near-economic collapse. And 2004-8 wasn’t a high mark of American foreign policy, either, with Iraq a fiasco and Afghanistan worse in some ways. Republicans got to eat all of that and lose in 2008. Oddly, to my eye, everyone seems to have forgotten about the 2002-2008 period, when Iraq and other aspects of foreign policy dominated much of political discourse. Yet that period is notable in “‘The Internationalists’ and making war illegal,” a recent essay I wrote.

* “The American Political Science Review Goes Woke.” Maybe.

* “Stunned by UFOs, ‘exasperated’ fighter pilots get little help from Pentagon.” I see two major possibilities: we’re either seeing evidence of aliens (defined broadly), or we’re seeing some kind of information battle playing out, perhaps through some kind of projection that shows up on radar and visually.

* “Labor Unions Reduce Product Quality,” it seems.

* We need regulatory speed-ups and reform, not only R&D, if we’re going to move to cleaner energy.

* “The New Founders America Needs: What I told the first students at The University of Austin.” On the commitment to free speech and thought.

* “The Rise of Bad Art and the Decline of Political Candor.” Not quite my views, but entertaining.

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