As Kevin Drum notes today, all the cool kids (himself now included) are putting up their most-viewed blog posts of the year. Well, you know how we uncool kids cope: with variations on a theme. My most-read posts have all been boosted by links from my more-trafficked friends in the blogosphere. What I'd like to do here is pull out of storage a few posts that I could have wished had grazed a few more eyeballs.
First, recent readers may have noted how stimulated I've been by Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence has Declined. I've kept up a kind of response journal, in which I've oscillated between enthusiastic assent and various doubts and caveats. Why a running annotated read, instead of a finished review? Well, I'm impatient, and it's a long book. But also: whatever you think about humanity's prospects, and whatever the weaknesses in Pinker's historiography, this is a book that changes the way you view history and the moment we're living in as you read. I keep viewing other things I read, and age-old musings, in light of it. I hope there's some value in recording this process. So here are the posts, earliest first:
The bettering angels of our nature
Better angels in the news
Religion helped develop our better angels
How our better angels' wings might be clipped
Better angels leave their kitchens in Cairo
Can humanity lead itself out to pasture?
Better dead than red, revisited
Better Angels in Super Hornets
Here are a few more posts, mostly nonpolitical, that I'd like to give a second chance:
The best liar in the field
A president confesses error and defends democracy
Rat race or fluid human dance?
Prophets of the new millennium
Five questions for Obama
Jeffrey Goldberg, excommunicator
Slo-mo grow on the plateau: Tyler Cowen's general theory of American malaise
About those free-range little Krugmans and Manzis
Ruth Marcus's false "false false choice" charge
MIA in the latest Jane Eyre
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned in 2012.