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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • Clark, rather cleverly, sums up Rousseau’s philosophy in the sentence “I feel therefore I am,” calling it a “curious discovery to have been made in the middle of the Age of Reason.” He connects it to David Hume’s work, before noting how Rousseau’s beliefs were extended from nature to man. Rousseau believed that natural man was virtuous, a belief that soon came to be widely accepted. Clark mentions and quotes three detractors of the idea, but it is fair to say that the belief that nature is somehow virtuous, while man is not, is still popular.
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • Dutch Newspaper De Telegraaf reports that the annual €13 billion shortfall is going to be compensated by raising the seven-year budget plan from €1000 billion to €1300 billion, amounting to a raise of €300 billion, from 1% of the EU’s GDP to 1.14%. Seven years without the Red Coats amounts to a budget shortfall of €91 billion. So one wonders how they’ll spend the surplus €209 billion this new seven-year budget plan entails. According to EU sources, €30 billion will be spent on “guarding the EU’s outer borders”. How the remaining €121 billion will be spent, is not yet clear.
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • When Ahting suggested they play in the cellar, because there were empty rooms there, he was told this wasn’t an option. That day, the meeting house would have to be completely “men free”.
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • Maybe if the EU had offered any more information on how the “#EUbudget” made sure everyone in the EU had access to clean water, someone could say anything more substantial about the claim. But Monday-intern didn’t. Oh, well. Maybe they think that Monty Python sketch is some sort of bingo card and the EU has to claim everything on it at least once? The aqueduct? Check. Brought peace? Of course they did!
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • The court decided to attach more importance to the fact that, in the five times she was questioned, the girl was inconsistent. There were some doubts as to the ending of what has happened, whether or not there were two or three men. When it came to passing judgement, the court was stalemated. Two found the accused guilty, two not guilty. The Public Prosecutor answered with a plea of nullity. That means the verdict is not legally binding.
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • Clark mentions a “sudden consciousness of feminine qualities,” of which he says

    “I think it absolutely essential to civilisation that the male and female principle be kept in balance. In eighteenth-century France, the influence of women was, on the whole, benevolent; and they were the creators of that curious institution of the eighteenth century, the salon.”

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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • Spectacular news from the European Commission (EC): buses can now be powered by water! Really? Yes! Well, no, of course not. Unless you work the EC twitter account. The tweet has a clip attached which explains that the bus is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. Hydrogen is not water, but hey.
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • On 23 April, the European Parliament think tank published an information sheet on Online disinformation and the EU’s response. And, as one has come to expect whenever the EU tries to be an authority on fake news and disinformation, it’s pretty bad. We are presented with a document that either states the obvious, states things like they are obvious, when it should argue them, or adds ‘supporting links’ to the text that do not actually support the narrative.
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • “The victim has been subjected to various attacks, such as the spreading of rumours, among them accusations on social media that she had not reported the crime to the police. (…) Her daughter has also been exposed, at school and elsewhere, to verbal abuse and physical attack. At night, stones were thrown at the family’s house.”
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • The logic of state authoritarianism imposed on all aspects, including and above all the arts, a “certain inhumanity.”

    “It was the work not of craftsmen, but of wonderfully gifted civil servants. As long as it reflects this grand comprehensive system, it is done with superb conviction. (…) [However,] French Classicism was eminently not exportable.”

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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • “Without a strong Europe, the populists win – and then there will be war. In Germany, it is up to the SPD [Social Democrats] to prevent that. We have, in the coalition agreement, decided on a [new] start for Europe, that [start] must come now. To that start, I want to contribute, in the future as well.”
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