Thanks very much to Arpit Gupta for his excellent guest-blogging this past week. I am a huge fan of Arpit’s work, and I hope we’ll be seeing more of him in this space. I’ve just returned from the Legatum Institute Summer School, where I was part of a small group of students exploring a wide range of subjects and themes relating to the rise and fall of civilizations. It was immensely interesting, and I had the great good fortune of listening to a number of talks by writers and practitioners I’ve admired for a really long time. One of the highlights was a talk by Anne Applebaum, who addressed the subject of her forthcoming book Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1945-1956. It is the story of how the Soviet Union and its allies were able to subjugate the populations of East Germany, Poland, and Hungary through both “hard” strategies of violent repression and “soft” strategies of controlling and eventually eliminating voluntary organizations. It is a book I’m very eager to read, and I will report back when I do.