Smart Ideas: You May Hate Those Scooters. But The Planet Might Love Them.

Also: The conservative-evangelical divide in the GOP.

AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko
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Oct. 15, 2018, 8 p.m.

Electric mopeds, not cars, the answer for developing nations

Adam Minter, writing for Bloomberg View

Developing countries looking to reduce their carbon footprint are looking towards electric mopeds, which have long been popular in India and Southeast Asia. Electric cars are simply too expensive to solve the environmental problems. “In India, a new, entry-level commuter motorcycle can cost less than $500 (and, on the secondhand market, far less).” They also don't contribute to traffic congestion the same way cars do, nor do they take up as much parking space. “The good news is that Asia's emerging middle class seems open to the idea of e-scooters if the price is right and charging is convenient. In China, low-speed electric bicycles powered by bulky lead-acid batteries have replaced many traditional motorcycles and scooters, especially given more-stringent emissions rules. They're cheap, and—unlike electric cars—the batteries can be charged at home or at the office.” There are limits to what they can do, given that lithium-ion batteries are “too expensive for emerging markets,” but by 2030 that may change.

“Post-truth is pre-fascist”

Edward Luce, writing for the Financial Times

Despite constant suggestions to the contrary, President Trump “is not a fascist. But the America he bequeaths will be far more susceptible than the one he found.” Why? His nearly endless capacity for dissembling and falsehood. The resulting “epistemological confusion creates two advantages for Mr. Trump. First, it numbs people to what is real” letting them dismiss almost any report as one possible version of the truth. “Second, a culture of lying leads to nihilism. When people believe in nothing, they can believe in anything. … Many more citizens than before are primed to swallow absurdities.”

Why Catholics rule the GOP intelligentsia

Gene Zubovich, writing for Aeon

Evangelicals dominate the Republican Party's rank-and-file, yet its upper echelons—particularly its intellectual standard bearers—have been filled with Catholics. The reasons may lie in education. The Catholic Church “remained opponents of liberalism” for many decades as the church grew in the U.S., and helped drive “American Catholics to set up separate institutions for themselves—separate social clubs, separate unions, and separate charities,” and a separate school system. Catholic colleges grew alongside the modern conservative movement, with a flashpoint being the founding of National Review by William F. Buckley in 1955. While many Catholics remained Democrats, the magazine articulated “ideas that were mainstream among Catholic clergy, such as a hatred of communism and opposition to church-state separation, abortion, and the sexual revolution.” Evangelicals, on the other hand, had a “suspicion of higher education since at least the days of the 1925 Scopes trial,” meaning fewer evangelical colleges. “Their Bible colleges and seminaries were meant to create believers and converts, not intellectuals.”

William F. Buckley Jr. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
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