Happy holidays! Here’s this year’s set of 4-star links. Previous years:      Why the Past Ten Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid | The Atlantic The story of Babel is the best metaphor I have found for what happened to America in the 2010s, and for the fractured country we now inhabit. Something went terribly wrong, very suddenly. We are disoriented, unable to speak the same language or recognize the same truth. We are cut off from one another and from the past.