On the Armenian Genocide:

Some thoughts from The Weekly Standard. It’s a little chilling to think how obsessed some in our society are with placing individuals into neat categories:

Mass exterminations generally involve two prerequisites: 1) a mandated program by a centralized state power, and 2) a well-coordinated, aggressive propaganda campaign that enlists public support in vilifying the targeted group. It’s also worth noting that war often serves as cover for genocide; the Armenian Genocide took place during the total war conditions of World War I.Propaganda campaigns to dehumanize the victims are central to virtually every mass killing in history. Generally, the targeted group — in this case, Armenian Christians — is vilified and ostracized by the rest of society. Such messages saturate the media and mobilize the culture until the groupthink emerges and takes on a life of its own. Opposing opinions are easily suppressed under the weight of groupthink. Once they’ve cultivated an us-versus-them mentality, perpetrators feel justified and enabled to commit acts of violence. This seems to be a human default position to which most people succumb – whether as culprits, victims, or silent bystanders.Perhaps most fascinating about this phenomenon is how often the perpetrators actually project onto the victims their own intentions. Consider that the Jews in Nazi Germany were exterminated for being a “threat” to the German nation. Likewise, the genocide of up to a million Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994 was accompanied by a massive propaganda campaign in which the Hutus totally demonized the Tutsis, for having wild designs against the Hutus.Pre-homicidal propaganda campaigns don’t always center on ethnicity or religion. They can be about anything else in identity politics, including class status. In the 1930s, for example, communist dictator Joseph Stalin forced the collectivization of agriculture in the Soviet Union by systematically killing and starving millions of industrious peasants — the “kulak” class – who were labeled “enemies of the people.”

Source: Genocide Begins with Groupthink | The Weekly Standard

Cities for People—or Cars? | The American Conservative

Some good notes from the American Conservative:

Auto-based development patterns follow a now familiar cycle of growth, stagnation, and then rapid decline. During the growth phase, when everything is shiny and new, the affluent move in and enjoy the prosperity of a place on the rise. But as those random failures emerge and things start to decline, those with the means to move on tend to do so, leaving behind cities of dwindling wealth. As the decline steepens, local governments borrow money in the hopes that their revenue problems are simply a temporary cash-flow crunch. The result over decades, however, is an insolvent city with huge debts serving an impoverished population poorly situated to bear the financial burdens of an auto-dependent existence.

Source: Cities for People—or Cars? | The American Conservative