In the spirit of recommending other good things, a list of other blogs I read regularly. Many of these are far more famous and better-known that my own; a few are not. I try to read a variety of blogs, including those from perspectives or with content I disagree with. But all of the ones listed here I enjoy.
I indicate in the list which have paywalled content and, if so, to what extent.
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General Interest and Politics
Astral Codex Ten (95% of content is free; 5% behind paywall): The successor to slatestarcodex, Scott Alexander’s brilliant blog which discusses everything from society, history, psychology, AI, politics, humorous short fiction and more. My single favourite blog, and the one I’ve drawn the most insights from over the years.
Wrong Side of History (about two-thirds behind paywall): By Ed West, author of Small Men on the Wrong Side of History, this is a British conservative blog, by someone with very similar views to mine in many areas. I find he frequently highlights interesting stats, new ways of thinking about things – and is also very entertaining to read.
Slow Boring (about two-thirds behind paywall): Matt Yglesias, founder of Vox, writes on economics, politics and society. Data heavy, more political than Astral Codex Ten (he is a moderate Democrat) and what I would describe as rationalist-adjacent, in that his posts typically investigate matters in considerable depth and he’s more interested in being right than in being tribal.
Shadowoneboxing (no paywall): A friend-of-a-friend’s blog, with interesting and intermittent articles on society and economic-adjacent matters. Also grammar.
Blogs about specific things
A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry (no paywall): By historian Bret Devereaux, epicly detailed and eminently readable posts on all sorts of aspects of history, with a particular focus (though far from exclusive) on the ancient Mediterranean and the cross-over of films/computer games and real history. Come for the Siege of Gondor, stay for the 30,000 word essays on how bread was made.
After Babel (no paywall): Substack by psychologist Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind, etc.) on the link between social media and the mental health crisis. Meticulously detailed compilation of the increasingly compelling evidence. Essential reading for anyone with children (or just interesteed in the subject).
Shiny Ginger Thoughts (no paywall): Another friend of a friend, this time a Christian pastor writing about theology. I mainly read this to remind myself that things that seem extremely esoteric to most of us (on the level of highly academic philosophy) can be very important to people of faith. Also, on the rare occasions he writes something about society, rather than theology, I’ve found him very insightful.
Blogs I read because I disagree with them
Notes from the Underground (20 – 30% behind paywall): Writer and journalist David Aaronovich writes on politics and society. Aaronovich is the sort of left-of-centre progressive who epitomises my political ‘out-group’ – the sort of person who thinks the culture war is invented by the right, loathes Brexit and probably wishes Tony Blair was still Prime Minister. At the same time, he writes extremely well and entertainingly, and he clearly sticks by important principles in certain areas (he opposes Scottish independence, for example, and was chair of Index on Censorship) that mean I can respect and enjoy reading him, even while disagreeing furiously.
Livre d’or (no paywall): A friend of a friend (of a friend?) who is significantly more COVID-cautious than anyone I know in real life. Given the strength of pro-lockdown feeling during the pandemic, and the damage I consider was done by lock-downs and school closures, I find reading such posts insightful. They are also extremely progressive / ‘woke’, which is also another ‘opposing viewpoint’ positive). Sometimes there are interesting posts on books or interfaith religious activities (from a Reform Jewish perspective).
Charlie’s diary (no paywall): This is the blog and website of the author Charles Stross (the Laundry Files, Merchant Princes, etc.). I mainly read it because I’m a fan of his books and he posts about them here, as well as other thoughts on science-fiction; however, he is also very strongly on the left (on the level of ‘hard Brexit will cause mass food shortages and the collapse of the UK government’ and that the Tories are effectively indistinguishable from lieral fascists). Unlike Aaronovich, who I follow the logic of but frequently disagree, I find it hard to understand how someone (an intelligent, successful) believes these things, but as a non-trivial number of people do, it feels worth reading someone from this perspective.
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