The lure of totalitarianism

"Across the Western world, friends and families have fallen out over their diverging views on the populism that has flourished in the past two decades"

Sphinx without a secret

"Whether it’s the shadow government or the global elite, if it’s not one sinister cabal intent on taking over the world, then it’s another"

Inventing the sublime

As far as Rev Gilpin was concerned, he would have to rearrange Nature in his sketchbook until she became, in his approving term, “Picturesque”

The weird West

How would you complete this sentence? “I am . . .” Did you say “a journalist/lawyer/doctor” or “adventurous/intelligent/intellectually curious”? Or did you say “I am Arthur’s mother” or “Emily’s Dad”?

An ark in the deluge

"Libraries and archives are central to democracy because they are the storehouses of knowledge and truth"

Defence against the dark arts

"There’s something enticing about a belief that great men are in command of history. It is easier, perhaps, to deal with that than to deal with the more alarming possibility that the norms which underpinned post-war liberalism are fraying"

Monuments and men

"Current events would seem to suggest that there is no consensus on what “our values” might actually be. Society is more divided than at any time I can recall in my lifetime"

Practical magic

"Understanding a culture’s magic is as important as understanding its religion or science. It can bring us closer to the mindset of a people that might otherwise seem completely alien to us now"

Progress and destruction

"Innovation — it’s the reason you’re almost certainly richer than your great-grandparents, why your lighting at home is powered by electricity rather than refined lamb fat, and why your hulking great suitcase has wheels"

Prescription for a free lunch

"Stephanie Kelton's new book, The Deficit Myth, promises to explode the “myth” that governments need to worry about debt or overspending"

Underrated: Abroad

The ravenous longing for the infinite possibilities of “otherwhere”

The king of cakes

"Yuletide revels were designed to see you through the dark days — and how dark they seem today"