In the past few days, the social media accounts of US President Donald Trump, as well as those of many of his White House staff were “suspended indefinitely.” The social media platform’s shocking — though not very surprising — ban on Trump left many wondering, “isn’t there free speech in America?”, “How can the leader of the Free World himself be stripped of free speech, so easily?”

This article examines the legal aspects and the potential political consequences that this unprecedented event may entail.

Indeed, according to the First Amendment to the US Constitution, “[the United States] Congress shall make…


9.08.2020

While Part 1 of this article addresses the philosophical aspects of populism, Part 2 intends to provide an economic answer to this real-world political question:

How Did “Trumpism” Happen in the United States?

President Trump rallies in Johnson City, Tennessee, in November 2019. (Photo: News Service of Florida)

1. The “Traditional” US Political System and Populism

Section 1 will briefly discuss the traditions and the evolution of the United States political system, providing a historical background for the economic and political analysis discussed later in Section 2.

It is very common nowadays to refer to the United States of America as the “beacon of democracy.” …


Washington D.C. in darkness. (Photo: blvdone/Shutterstock)

8.23.2020

We often conceive the stereotypical Trump supporter to be someone having the following traits––white, male, Christian, living in the Rust Belt, working-class or yeoman, and lacking a high level of education. Labels such as “white nationalist,” “populist,” “redneck,” “racist,” “fascist,” are frequently used to describe the stereotypical Trump supporter.

There is plenty of news coverage on the American mainstream media about WHO Trump’s grass-root supporters are, and WHAT they have done (e.g., storming the Michigan State House with arms, anti-mask campaigns, anti-vaccine protests; usually something out-of-the-norm).

Yet, in my opinion, it is much more interesting and useful to dig…


2020.08.02

毫无疑问,2020年的新冠肺炎(Covid-19)疫情给全世界的留学生带来了沉重打击。

国家间边境的关闭导致很多留学生们无法回家,同时也打乱了很多准留学生们原本的出国行程。随之而来的还有天价的机票、漫长的隔离检疫过程、缓慢甚至是暂停的签证服务,以及世界各国复杂的防疫政策。

而对于中国的留学生和准留学生而言,“疫情时出国留学有什么意义”这个问题越值得深思。这是因为,这个群体在疫情中甚至是疫情后的世界里,面临的是这样几个变化和现实:

  1. 出国留学的成本提升。本来出国留学的成本已经比在国内就读要高;现在由于疫情所带来的诸多不确定性,留学生要为他们的学业付出更多金钱和时间成本(如机票、检疫、住宿)。
  2. 留学体验会在短期内降级。在西方世界,大部分大学选择了在2020–2021学年进行网上授课(线下保留个别人数较少的课程)。在国内通过线上远程”出国留学“的学生们甚至要适应时差所带来的凌晨上课的生活方式。显然,这些都会极大降低原本的教学质量。此外,低迷的世界经济使留学生们在国外更难找到实习或工作机会。
  3. 中国国际地位的相对上升。这本是一个长期的趋势,但新冠肺炎疫情加速了这一过程。从晚清到本世纪初,留学生们“留洋”深造很大原因是中国相对于其他国家较落后的国际地位和学术水平。随着中国在各个领域后来居上,留学生手握的外国文凭和海外工作经验在中国就业市场的“价值”会相对缓慢下降。
  4. 国际情势恶化。根据中国产业信息网的数据,2019年最多中国大陆留学生们选择的意向留学国前四名分别是美国(43%),英国(41%),澳大利亚(18%)和加拿大(16%)。而这四个盎格鲁-撒克逊系(Anglo-Saxon)的国家近年来对中国态度趋于敌对。在世界日益保守化、民粹化的环境下,中国学生去这些国家留学会可有较大的风险;且在未来毕业后留在当地工作、生活的难度会相应提升。
  5. 当然,留学还会带来较大的健康安全风险。目前在美国疫情还没得到控制,日本、加拿大、欧洲疫情开始出现大幅度反弹的情况下,如果留学生不幸感染新冠肺炎,他可能要暂停学业并承担高额的检测费用及医疗费用。
在美国,今年3月以来几乎所有的学校活动都转到网上进行,包括许多学生期盼已久的毕业典礼。图:Andrew Kelly/Reuters.

那么也就是说,现在与其出国留学,不如留在国内上学吗?

我认为,当然不是:“It really depends”. 对于准留学生来说,这个问题不能“一刀切”地来思考,必须要辩证地、按照个例地来熟思。

疫情时期的出国留学,总体来说还是有它的宏观的”硬优势“与微观的”软优势“。而这些优势是多数中国学生只能通过出国留学而获得的。

  1. 出国留学的“硬优势”,以及解构欧美“现代化”的学术霸权

首先必须要清晰地认识一个误区:把“出国留学”和“在国内上学”进行直接比较是犯了一个以偏概全(faulty generalization)的逻辑错误。举个例子,出国去教学资源优越的大学留学,和出国去某些所谓的”野鸡学校”(diploma mills)留学,是根本不一样的。还有,在北大中文系就读,和在MIT学习中文专业,也有很大不同。不同的学校有不同的特长,因此我们需要区别对待。

总的来说,出国留学相对于在国内上学所获得的教育质量的“差距”,很大程度上取决于院校与所选择的专业。这种在教育资源、教育质量、学术水平、学校声望等与学校有关的“差距”,可以称作出国留学的“硬优势”。

这种“硬优势”的特点是,它不是恒定的。“硬优势”会随着学校、专业及大环境的变化而变化。

打个比方,十几年前如果想学习通讯工程专业(telecommunication engineering)的话,欧美的理工高校是优于中国理工高校的一个选择。但是,随着中国在5G等通讯工程领域的快速发展,现在中国高校在通讯工程的学术水平反而是显著优于在欧美高校学习通讯工程的。

在2020年的软科世界大学(ARWU)通讯工程专业排行榜上,排名前十的高校有七个来自中国大陆。而美国排名最靠前的是休斯顿大学(16)以及德州大学奥斯汀分校(22)。最大名鼎鼎的美国理工科大学如MIT和Caltech在这个专业上只排到100名开外。


2020.07.18

« Mais aussitôt après je pris garde que, pendant que je voulais ainsi penser que tout était faux, il fallait nécessairement que moi qui le pensais fusse quelque chose; Et remarquant que cette vérité, je pense, donc je suis. »

但我察觉当我思考否定一切存在之时,我必须同时进行思考。所以我不可以否定的有这个事实:我思,故我在。

— René Descartes 勒内·笛卡尔

“我思故我在”,多么简单直白,却又多么理性的一句话呀!即使后来不乏质疑、批判这句断 …


Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck. (Photo was taken by an onlooker.)

1. Context

On May 25, 2020, a middle-aged African American man, George Floyd, was arguably murdered by a white Minnesota police officer, Derek Chauvin, after Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for at least seven minutes. The incident was then quickly reported by almost all media outlets around the world, and a video capturing the moments when the incident happened — including moments when Floyd yelling “mama!” and pleading the police officer “don’t kill me” — was widely shared online. Calls for racial justice in the United States have been circulating on major social media platforms.

The incident is viewed as another instance…


Jane Eyre––a woman who always encounters strong contrasts between her inner pursuits and external disappointments in her journey to a “perfect” romantic relationship. Image: Penguin Reading House

Marriage is the eventual union between two lovers’ passion and social status. However, in Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre, the engagement between Jane and Rochester functions as a source of tension and separation instead of greater intimacy. While Jane and Rochester share a profound level of love and passion toward each other, the disparity between the two lovers’ power and status ultimately leads to their temporary disunion. Initially, the closeness of Jane and Rochester’s relationship seems to have a strong correlation with the relative equality or inequality of power between them — with greater intimacy occurring at times where their…


Jusqu’à présent (5 mai 2020), les États-Unis sont le pays le plus touché par la COVID-19 pandémie. Avec 1,194,494 cas confirmés et 70,646 morts (Johns Hopkins University), les États-Unis comptent pour à peu près un tiers des cas totaux du monde, et ont un taux d’infection de 3,300 cas confirmés par million de personnes, tandis que le même chiffre est environ 2,600 en Union européenne, 1,300 au Royaume-Uni, 210 en Corée du Sud et 60 en Chine (1,150 au Hubei). …

Alex Z

First-year college student at Sciences Po Paris and Columbia University. Loves writing articles in English, Français, 中文 whenever he has free time. Sapere aude!

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