#weekendreading Feed

Leo Strauss Gives a Cheer for His Right-Wing Principles: Fascist, Authoritarian, Imperial: Weekend Reading

Weekend Reading: Leo Strauss gives a cheer for his right-wing principles: fascist, authoritarian, imperial. I wonder what form his critique of the Nazi regime from those principles actually took?:

Leo Strauss: Paris, May 19, 1933: "Dear Mr. Löwith: On your behalf I have in the meantime made the necessary overture to Groethuysen, who is in London. Besides this I had occasion to speak with Van Sickle, the head of the Rockefeller Foundation, and informed him about you, your situation, your work and your interests. He made a note of your name, so I am sure he will remember it when he comes across it in Fehling’s letter. As concerns me, I will receive the second year. Berlin recommended me, and that was decisive. I will also spend my second year in Paris, and I will attempt in this time to undertake something that will make my further work possible. Clearly I have major “competition”: the entire German-Jewish intellectual proletariat is assembled here. It’s terrible—I’d rather just run back to Germany. But here’s the catch. Of course I can’t opt for just any other country-one doesn’t choose a homeland and, above all, a mother tongue, and in any event I will never be able to write other than in German, even if I must write in another language. On the other hand, I see no acceptable possibility of living under the swastika, i.e., under a symbol that says nothing more to me than: you and your ilk, you are physei subhumans and therefore justly pariahs. There is in this case just one solution. We must repeat: we, “men of science"-as our predecessors in the Arab Middle Ages called themselves-non habemus locum manentem, sed quaerimus... And, what concerns this matter: the fact that the new right-wing Germany does not tolerate us says nothing against the principles of the right. To the contrary: only from the principles of the right, that is from fascist, authoritarian and imperial principles, is it possible with seemliness, that is, without resort to the ludicrous and despicable appeal to the droits imprescriptibles de l’homme to protest against the shabby abomination...

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Weekend Reading: Nikita Khrushchev (1959): On Peaceful Coexistence

Nikita Khrushchev (1959): On Peaceful Coexistence: "The socialist states are ruled by the working people themselves.... To them war spells grief and tears, death, devastation and misery. Ordinary people have no need for war.... Peaceful coexistence does not mean merely living side by side... with the constantly remaining threat of [war] breaking out in the future. Peaceful coexistence can and should develop into peaceful competition for the purpose of satisfying man's needs in the best possible way.... Let us try out in practice whose system is better, let us compete without war. This is much better than competing in who will produce more arms and who will smash whom. We stand and always will stand for such competition as will help to raise the well-being of the people to a higher level.... We Communists believe that the idea of Communism will ultimately be victorious throughout the world, just as it has been victorious in our country, in China and in many other states.... We may argue, we may disagree with one another. The main thing is to keep to the positions of ideological struggle, without resorting to arms in order to prove that one is right.... With military techniques what they are today, there are no inaccessible places in the world. Should a world war break out, no country will be able to shut itself off from a crushing blow.... Ultimately that system will be victorious on the globe which will offer the nations greater opportunities for improving their material and spiritual life...

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Weekend Reading: Charles Kindleberger: Anatomy of a Typical Financial Crisis

Weekend Reading: Charles Kindleberger: Anatomy of a Typical Financial Crisis: From Charlie Kindleberger, A Financial History of Western Europe:

p. 90 ff: No discretion was allowed in the issuance of bank notes, however.... Sir Robert Peel, the Prime Minister, first contemplated allowing a relaxing power in the 1844 legislation, but ultimately decided against it.... Peel protected himself... in a letter from Windsor Castle, written on 4 June 1844: "My confidence is unshaken that we have taken all the precautions which legislation can prudently take against a recurrence of a pecuniary crisis. It may occur in spite of our precautions; and if it does and if it be necessary to assume a grave responsibility, I dare say men will be found willing to assume such a responsibility (BPP 1847 [1969], Vol. 2, p. xxix)"...

The difficulty in making the note issue inelastic... is that it became inelastic at all times, when the requirement in an internal financial crisis is that money be freely available...

The Bank of England came to the rescue of the South Sea Company... belatedly, and at a punishing price... to dispose of a dangerous rival. Its recognition of its responsibilities in preventing, or at least mitigating, financial crisis in the public interest took more time. There was a lag in understanding the need to have the money supply inelastic in the long run but elastic in the short. A further question was whose task it was to serve as lender of last resort...

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Maciej Cegloski (2005): A Rocket To Nowhere: Weekend Reading

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Maciej Cegloski (August 3, 2005): A Rocket To Nowhere: "The Space Shuttle Discovery is up in orbit, safely docked to the International Space Station, and for the next five days, astronauts will be busy figuring out whether it's safe for them to come home. In the meantime, the rest of the Shuttle fleet is grounded (confined to base, not allowed to play with its spacecraft friends) because that pesky foam on the fuel tank keeps falling off. There are 28 Space Shuttle flights still scheduled.... On the eve of this launch, NASA put the likelihood of losing an orbiter at 1 in 100, a somewhat stunning concession by an agency notorious for minimizing the risk of its prize program. Given the track record, and the unanticipated foam problems, it's probably reasonable to assume a failure rate approaching 2%, a number close to the observed failure rate (1 in 57) and one likely to fall on the conservative side as the orbiters age.... With 28 launches to go, probability tells us that the chance of losing another orbiter before the program's scheduled retirement is about 50-50. But past experience suggests that NASA will continue flying these things until one of them blows up again (note that suspicious four-year gap in manned flight capability right around the time the Shuttle is supposed to retire). This seems like as good a time as any to ask: why are we doing this?...

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Weekend Reading: Samuel Pepys: Diary: Friday 19 July 1667

Samuel Pepys: Friday 19 July 1667: "Up and comes the flageolet master, and brings me two new great Ivory pipes which cost me 32s., and so to play, and he being done, and Balty’s wife taking her leave of me, she going back to Lee to-day, I to Westminster and there did receive 15,000l orders out of the Exchequer in part of a bigger sum upon the eleven months tax for Tangier, part of which I presently delivered to Sir H. Cholmly, who was there, and thence with Mr. Gawden to Auditor Woods and Beales to examine some precedents in his business of the Victualling on his behalf, and so home, and in my way by coach down Marke Lane, mightily pleased and smitten to see, as I thought, in passing, the pretty woman, the line-maker’s wife that lived in Fenchurch Streete, and I had great mind to have gone back to have seen, but yet would correct my nature and would not...

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Dwight D. Eisenhower (1954): Letter to Edgar Newton Eisenhower: Weekend Reading

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1954): Letter to Edgar Newton Eisenhower: "Dear Ed: I think that such answer as I can give to your letter of November first will be arranged in reverse order–at least I shall comment first on your final paragraph. You keep harping on the Constitution; I should like to point out that the meaning of the Constitution is what the Supreme Court says it is. Consequently no powers are exercised by the Federal government except where such exercise is approved by the Supreme Court (lawyers) of the land. I admit that the Supreme Court has in the past made certain decisions in this general field that have been astonishing to me. A recent case in point was the decision in the Phillips case. Others, and older ones, involved 'interstate commerce.' But until some future Supreme Court decision denies the right and responsibility of the Federal government to do certain things, you cannot possibly remove them from the political activities of the Federal government...

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Francis Wilkinson: Gun Safety Takes a Back Seat to Gun Culture and Children Die: Weekend Reading

Millie Drew Kelly Girl Fatally Shot by 4 Year Old Brother Heavy com

Francis Wilkinson: Gun Safety Takes a Back Seat to Gun Culture and Children Die: "A mother stored a gun in her car to protect her children. It killed her daughter instead.: On Monday, April 8, Courtney Kelly’s Hyundai Elantra failed. Kelly had just gotten all three kids packed into their car seats in the back. Millie, 6, was on the passenger side. Maddox, 4, was on the driver’s side. Lucas, 2, was strapped in the middle. It was about 5:45 p.m. They were on their way to Maddox’s baseball practice. With the children settled, Kelly was poised to pull out of her driveway on Laurelcrest Lane in Dallas, Georgia. The car wouldn’t start...

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Jo Walton: The Spearpoint Theory: The Dyer of Lorbanery: Weekend Reading

JoBannerNarrower 1

Jo Walton: The Dyer of Lorbanery (Spearpoint Theory): "There comes a point in writing, and it’s a spear-point, it’s very small and sharp but because it’s backed by the length and weight of a whole spear and a whole strong person pushing it, it’s a point that goes in a long way. Spearpoints need all that behind them, or they don’t pack their punch in the same way. Examples are difficult to give because spear-points by their nature require their context, and spoilers. They tend to be moments of poignancy and realization. When Duncan picks the branches when passing through trees, he’s just getting a disguise, but we the audience suddenly understand how Birnam Wood shall come to Dunsinane...

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Titus Livius: The Latin War: The History of Rome: Weekend Reading

Weekend Reading: Titus Livius: The Latin War: The History of Rome: "The consuls now were Caius Plautius a second time, and Lucius Æmilius Mamercinus; when the people of Setia and Norba came to Rome to announce the revolt of the Privernians, with complaints of the damages received by them. News were brought that the army of the Volscians, under the guidance of the people of Antium, had taken post at Satricum...

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Thomas Wyatt the Younger: Weekend Reading:

Wyatt s Rebellion Wyatt Revolt Context Facts Summary Outcome

Weekend Reading: Great12-grandfather: Wikipedia: Thomas Wyatt the Younger - Wikipedia: "Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger (1521 – 11 April 1554) was an English politician and rebel leader during the reign of Queen Mary I; his rising is traditionally called 'Wyatt's rebellion'. He was also the son of the English poet and ambassador Sir Thomas Wyatt...

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Annette Gordon-Reed: Some thoughts about Sally Hemings: Weekend Reading

Sally hemings images Sally Hemings Descendants Pictures Places to Visit Sally hemings Thomas jefferson children Descendants pictures and Annette Gordon Reed Some thoughts about Sally Hemings Weekend Reading and REOPEN MOAR Links

Annette Gordon-Reed: Some thoughts about Sally Hemings: "It makes no sense to think of her life out of the context of her family's story. She was a part of a web of relationships put in place before she was born.Her specific context can only be discerned by garnering details from the archives. Simply looking at a statute book and/or looking at other people's lives, and extrapolating to create a picture of SH's life, will not do. She cannot be taken, nor should any one person be taken, as the embodiment of the system of American slavery...

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Daniel Davies: One-Minute MBA: Weekend Reading

Weekend Reading: Daniel Davies: One-Minute MBA: "(1) Avoiding Projects Pursued By Morons 101 http://blog.danieldavies.com/2004_05_23_d-squareddigest_archive.html: The secret to every analysis I've ever done... has been, more or less, my expensive business school education.... Good ideas do not need lots of lies told about them in order to gain public acceptance. I was first made aware of this during an accounting class.... (We also learned in accounting class that the difference between 'making a definite single false claim with provable intent to deceive' and 'creating a very false impression and allowing it to remain without correcting it' is not one that you should rely upon to keep you out of jail. Even if your motives are noble.)...

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"A Republic, If You Can Keep It": Weekend Reading

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James McHenry: Papers: "Monday 17 Sepr. 1787: Read the engrossed constitution. Altered the representation in the house of representatives from 40 to thirty thousand. Dr. Franklin put a paper into Mr. Willson's hand to read containing his reasons for assenting to the constitution. It was plain, insinuating, persuasive-and in any event of the system guarded the Doctors fame. Mr. Randolp[h], Mr. Mason, and Mr. Gerry declined signing. The other members signed...

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Weekend Reading: Polybius on the First Two Treaties Between Rome and Carthage

The Phoenicians 1500 300 B C Essay Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Polybius: Histories: "The first treaty between Rome and Carthage was made... twenty-eight years before the invasion of Greece by Xerxes [509 BC].... The ancient language differs so much from that at present in use, that the best scholars among the Romans themselves have great difficulty in interpreting some points in it.... The treaty is as follows...

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Weekend Reading: John Maynard Keynes (1937): How to Avoid a Slump

Il Quarto Stato

I. The Problem of the Steady Level

It is clear that by painful degrees we have climbed out of the slump. It is also clear that we are well advanced on the upward slopes of prosperity I will not say 'of the boom', for 'boom' is an opprobrious term, and what we are enjoying is desirable. But many are already preoccupied with what is to come. It is widely agreed that it is more important to avoid a descent into another slump than to stimulate (subject to an important qualification to be mentioned below) a still greater activity than we have. This means that all of us—politicians, bankers, industrialists, and economists—are faced with a scientific problem which we have never tried to solve before.

I emphasise that point. Not only have we never solved it; we have never tried to. Not once. The booms and slumps of the past have been neither courted nor contrived against. The action of central banks has been hitherto an almost automatic response to the unforeseen and undesigned impact of outside events. But this time it is different. We have entirely freed ourselves—this applies to every party and every quarter—from the philosop[hy of the laissez-faire state. We have new means at our disposal which we intend to use. Perhaps we know more. But chiefly it is a general conviction that the stability of our institutions absolutely requires a resolute attempt to apply what perhaps we know to preventing the recurrence of another steep descent. I should like to try, therefore, to reduce a complicated problem to its essential elements.

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Weekend Reading: Discussion of J. Bradford DeLong and Lawrence H. Summers: "Fiscal Policy in a Depressed Economy

Il Quarto Stato

Weekend Reading: Discussion of J. Bradford DeLong and Lawrence H. Summers (2012): "Fiscal Policy in a Depressed Economy:

Robert Hall observed that a better title for the paper would be “Eta,” since the paper’s surprising results all stem from the authors’ beliefs about the value of their hysteresis parameter η. The other parameter values the authors used for their simulations seemed mostly reasonable and uncontroversial to Hall. He noted that although Valerie Ramey had estimated a relatively low value for the multiplier on fiscal spending, the standard error on her estimate was large and did not rule out the possibility that the authors’ baseline value of 1.5 was correct. Hall also observed that some alternative ways of analyzing government spending data from World War II generated higher estimates of the multiplier. He found the authors’ value for the growth rate reasonable, and although he shared Ramey’s concern about the authors’ real interest rate assumptions, he thought their baseline value might be reasonable as well.

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Weekend Reading: History and Myth

In the minds of the monks who wrote the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the baptism of Ethelbert King is a historical event on a par with Cynric King having Woden, father-god of the Aesir and high drighten of Valhalla, as his great8-grandfather: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle A: 552: "This year Cynric fought against the Britons at the place which is called Searo-byrig [Old Sarum], and he put the Britons to flight. Cerdic was Cynric's father, Cerdic was the son of Elesa, Elesa of Esla, Esla of Gewis, Gewis of Wig, Wig of Freawin, Freawin of Frithogar, Frithogar of Brond, Brond of Beldeg, Beldeg of Woden. And Ethelbert, the son of Ermenric was born; and in the thirtieth year of his reign he received baptism, the first of the kings in Britain...

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Reda Cherif and Fuad Hasanov: Principles of Industrial Policy: Weekend Reading

Principles of industrial policy VOX CEPR Policy Portal

Reda Cherif and Fuad Hasanov: Principles of Industrial Policy: "The return of the policy that shall not be named: The 'Asian miracles' and their industrial policies are often considered as statistical accidents that cannot be replicated.... We can learn more about sustained growth from these miracles than from the large pool of failures.... Industrial policy is instrumental in achieving sustained growth. Successful policy uses state intervention for early entry into sophisticated sectors, strong export orientation, and fierce competition with strict accountability...

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The Myth of Kevin Williamson: Weekend Reading

Danielle Tcholakian: The Myth of Kevin Williamson: "After a week or so of mostly women questioning The Atlantic’s hiring of Kevin Williamson, a conservative columnist who has advocated for hanging women who have had abortions, the magazine’s editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg announced Williamson is no longer in his employ. Goldberg had justified hiring Williamson on the grounds that he’s a talented writer, and his assertion that women who have abortions should be hanged was an errant tweet, not to be taken seriously. But Media Matters dug up a 2014 podcast for the National Review in which Williamson talked at length about how much he likes this idea. 'I’m kind of squishy about capital punishment in general, but I’ve got a soft spot for hanging as a form of capital punishment'...

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Adam Yang: The Long Road to the Korean War Armistice: Weekend Reading

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Adam Yang: The Long Road to the Korean War Armistice: "The communists were adamant about the unconditional return of all their men.... Despite China’s drastic losses on the battlefield, Mao believed that continuing the war would be politically useful for the newly formed Communist China. During a meeting with the Joseph Stalin in August of 1952, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai said that fighting the United States to a draw increased their global prestige, aided in unification, and provided their army with invaluable combat experience.... However, China’s continued involvement with North Korea was conditioned upon gaining financial support from the Soviet Union.... On March 5, Joseph Stalin died.... At Stalin’s funeral, the less-hawkish Malenkov... stat[ed] international disputes could be 'settled peacefully on the basis of mutual agreement between the countries concerned'.... On March 28, Zhou Enlai notified the UN that China and North Korea were ready to resume negotiations at Panmunjom. They also agreed to the U.S. desire for a neutral commission to manage POWs who did not wish to repatriate. Mao and General Peng... wanted to preserve... the narrative that describes how a newly formed Communist China was able to beat back great Western powers...

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Weekend Reading: Nikolai Novikov (1946): Sources of American Conduct

Almost Everything in Dr Strangelove Was True The New Yorker

Nikolai Novikov (1946): Sources of American Conduct: "The foreign policy of the United States, which reflects the imperialist tendencies of American monopolistic capital, is characterized in the postwar period by a striving for world supremacy. This is the real meaning of the many statements by President Truman and other representatives of American ruling circles; that the United States has the right to lead the world. All the forces of American diplomacy—the army, the air force, the navy, industry, and science—are enlisted in the service of this foreign policy. For this purpose broad plans for expansion have been developed and are being implemented through diplomacy and the establishment of a system of naval and air bases stretching far beyond the boundaries of the United States, through the arms race, and through the creation of ever newer types of weapons...

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John Foster Dulles: Massive Retaliation: Weekend Reading

Almost Everything in Dr Strangelove Was True The New Yorker

John Foster Dulles: Massive Retaliation: "The Soviet Communists are planning for what they call 'an entire historical era', and we should do the same. They seek, through many types of maneuvers, gradually to divide and weaken the free nations by overextending them in efforts which, as Lenin put it, are 'beyond their strength, so that they come to practical bankruptcy'. Then, said Lenin, 'our victory is assured'. Then, said Stalin, will be 'the moment for the decisive blow'. In the face of this strategy, measures cannot be judged adequate merely because they ward off an immediate danger. It is essential to do this, but it is also essential to do so without exhausting ourselves. When the Eisenhower administration applied this test, we felt that some transformations were needed...

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Henry Farrell: The American Right's Torquemada Option: Weekend Reading

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Henry Farrell: The American Right's Torquemada Option: "On the Ahmari/Kimball/Peterson/Deneen thing. When anti-modern conservatives decide that the liberal world is depraved they can either withdraw from it-the Benedict Option, or cleanse it of the corruption of tolerance. Call it the Torquemada Option https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nemesis_the_Warlock. And the moderate success that some modern figures-such as Orban-have enjoyed in taking over the university system and forcibly purging it of those who would pollute our youth with gender studies and the like give old time reactionaries like Kimball some hope it can be done...

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Jeremiah: 22 KJV: Weekend Reading

Jeremiah: 22 KJV: "Thus saith the Lord: 'Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and speak there this word, and say: "Hear the word of the Lord, O king of Judah, that sittest upon the throne of David, thou, and thy servants, and thy people that enter in by these gates. Thus saith the Lord: 'Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor; and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place...

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Into the Abyss: James David Nicoll on Heinlein's "Starship Troopers": Weekend Reading

Starship Troopers Reboot in the Works Exclusive Hollywood Reporter

Weekend Reading: James David Nicoll: Into the Abyss: "In the spirit of Social Credit leader Camil Samson’s wonderful phrase, 'Ladies and gentlemen, the Union Nationale has brought you to the edge of the abyss. With Social Credit, you will take one step forward', follow me over the edge and into the abyss that is Heinlein’s post-Scribners work. Scribners rejected 1959’s Starship Troopers, marking the end of what had been a fruitful relationship between the touchy Heinlein and that particular publisher...

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Belle Waring: Uses and Abuses of Tarps: Weekend Reading

Gulag map jpg 769×464

Belle Waring: Uses and Abuses of Tarps: "It took me so long to find this quote. I remembered that it was Solovki, yes! And that Maxim Gorky was the visitor! And the tortures with the logs, and being staked out for the mosquitoes, and rolling the prisoners down the stairs, and the brave boy who told all, all! to Gorky and was left behind to be shot the moment Gorky’s ship left the horizon empty and barren! And the tarps. But could I find the quote? I damn sure could not. I was in the position of Edward Gorey’s Mr. Earbrass who starts up in the night having thought of the perfect lines for an epigraph: 'His mind’s eye sees them quoted on the bottom third of a right-hand page in a (possibly) olive-bound book he read at least five years ago. When he does find them, it will be a great nuisance if no clue is given to their authorship'...

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Robert Heilbroner (1996): The Embarrassment of Economics: Weekend Reading

Anybody who has spent any time looking at the data knows that it is in the boom, not in the depression, that the work of sectoral readjustment is done. Indeed, that work cannot be done in the depression. In the depression nothing is profitable. So how could entrepreneurs possibly judge then what will be profitable when the depression is past? They must wait for the boom to see:

Joseph schumpeter business cycle graph Google Search

Robert Heilbroner (1996): The Embarrassment of Economics: Schumpeter arrived in his famous riding habit and great cloak, of which he divested himself in a grand gesture. He greeted us in a typically Schumpeterian way: "Gentlemen, a depression is for capitalism like a good, cold douche." The remark shocked us...

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Dwight D. Eisenhower (1954): Letter to Edgar Newton Eisenhower: Weekend Reading

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1954): Letter to Edgar Newton Eisenhower: "The Federal government cannot avoid or escape responsibilities which the mass of the people firmly believe should be undertaken by it. The political processes of our country are such that if a rule of reason is not applied in this effort, we will lose everything–even to a possible and drastic change in the Constitution. This is what I mean by my constant insistence upon “moderation” in government. Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid...


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John Maynard Keynes (1926): From "The End of Laissez-Faire": Weekend Reading

School of Athens

John Maynard Keynes (1926): from The end of Laissez-Faire: "The early nineteenth century... harmonised the conservative individualism of Locke, Hume, Johnson, and Burke with the socialism and democratic egalitarianism of Rousseau, Paley, Bentham, and Godwin.... The idea of a divine harmony between private advantage and the public good is already apparent in Paley. But it was the economists who gave the notion a good scientific basis.... To the philosophical doctrine that the government has no right to interfere, and the divine that it has no need to interfere, there is added a scientific proof that its interference is inexpedient.... The principle of laissez-faire had arrived to harmonise individualism and socialism.... The political philosopher could retire in favour of the business man.... Thus the ground was fertile for a doctrine that, whether on divine, natural, or scientific grounds, state action should be narrowly confined and economic life left, unregulated so far as may be, to the skill and good sense of individual citizens actuated by the admirable motive of trying to get on in the world.... By the time that the influence of Paley and his like was waning, the innovations of Darwin were shaking the foundations of belief..... Survival of the fittest could be regarded as a vast generalisation of the Ricardian economics. Socialist interferences became, in the light of this grander synthesis, not merely inexpedient, but impious, as calculated to retard the onward movement of the mighty process by which we ourselves had risen like Aphrodite out of the primeval slime of ocean...

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Weekend Reading: George Stigler in 1962 on "The Problem of the Negro"

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Over on the Twitter machine, Calvin TerBeek has eaten his wheaties this morning, and presents us with George Stigler in 1962 writing for New Guard, the publication of the conservatives Young Americans for Freedom. Stigler denounces the "Negro leaders" and the "political, intellectual, and religious leaders of the nation" for protesting and approving of protests: the "stream of demonstrations, growing in size and in insolence". Stigler writes: "How much easier to march on the mayor than to teach industry to a boy: how much simpler to keep the children home to coerce the school board than to instill in them a love of art and literature and science". He also slags decolonization, and approves of American Jews in "the rapid process of losing their identity".

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Chris Cook: Defeated by Brexit: Forgetting Our History: Weekend Reading

Weekend Reading: Chris Cook: Defeated by Brexit: Forgetting Our History: "The Brexit negotiations are not really about the UK and 27 other countries. They are about Britain’s long and troubled relationship with Ireland. And while Dublin was prepared for that, it took London completely by surprise.... During the 2016 referendum campaign, John Major and Tony Blair, the former British prime ministers, tried to alert voters to inherent tensions between leaving the EU and preserving the UK’s relationship with Ireland. Their warnings were dismissed as fear-mongering. Ireland attracted almost no attention, but it would be the central pivot on which Brexit would turn. None of this was clear on the morning after the referendum. But nothing was. The prime minister, David Cameron, was preparing to announce his resignation. The people had voted against EU membership, but not for anything to replace it. For new leadership the government would have to wait for the Conservatives to choose a new leader...

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Adam Tooze: Democracy and Its Discontents: Weekend Reading

Il Quarto Stato

Weekend Reading: Adam Tooze is correct when he writes that "across the American political spectrum, if there is agreement on anything, it is on the need for a firmer line against China". The bombs-and-bullets people, the geopolitics people, and the blame-somebody-else people are all agreed. The U.S. needs to do something to strengthen its relative position, and that means it needs to start doing something to China.

But that would be going about it the wrong way. Thinking that the right way to do something is to do something to China is a very bad way to think. The U.S. could still forge a 21st century condominium with China. But all those necessary and needed pieces of action require that the U.S. look and act inwardly, not outwardly:

Adam Tooze: Democracy and Its Discontents: Runciman: "Rather than raging against the dying of the light, Runciman['s How Democracy Ends], like Spengler and Kojève, invites us to adopt a stance of disillusioned realism. If we can see the decline of democratic polities all around us and can diagnose the multiple causes of their eventual demise, that does not excuse us from the responsibility to make them work until the bitter end...

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Adam Tooze: Democracy and Its Discontents: Weekend Reading

Il Quarto Stato

Weekend Reading: Adam Tooze: Democracy and Its Discontent: Levitsky and Ziblatt: "Levitsky and Ziblatt['s How Democracies Die has]... a sobering message: 'American democracy is not as exceptional as we sometimes believe. There’s nothing in our Constitution or our culture to immunize us against democratic breakdown'.... The restoration of democratic norms requires building a new consensus. Levitsky and Ziblatt cite the example of Chile.... Augusto Pinochet... was overcome by a new culture of bipartisan cooperation in the so-called Democratic Concertation. In the US today, the problem lies first and foremost with the GOP. It has repeatedly behaved like an anti-systemic party that does not consider itself bound by common democratic norms... Levitsky and Ziblatt point to... Konrad Adenauer’s CDU.... But what relevance does it have to American politics? Can one seriously imagine anyone in the GOP taking lessons from Angela Merkel and her counterparts?... Levitsky and Ziblatt are strikingly naive when it comes to power...

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John Maynard Keynes (1926): The End of His ""The End of Laissez-Faire": Weekend Reading

Il Quarto Stato

Weekend Reading: John Maynard Keynes (1926): The end of his "The End of Laissez-Faire": "These reflections have been directed towards possible improvements in the technique of modern capitalism.... There is nothing in them which is seriously incompatible with... the essential characteristic... the dependence upon an intense appeal to... money-making and money-loving instincts.... I may do well to remind you... that the fiercest contests and the most deeply felt divisions of opinion are likely to be waged in the coming years... round... questions... psychological or, perhaps, moral...

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Weekend Reading: The Downfall of Mother Bank

Jackson bank veto Google Search

The Downfall of Mother Bank

Draw'd off from Natur by Zek Downing, Neffu to Major Jack Downing

Printed & Publd by H.R. Robinson, 52 Courtlandt St., N. York

President Andrew Jackson: Major Jack Downing. I must act in this case with energy and decision. You see the downfall of the party engine and corrupt monopoly!!

Order for the Removal of the Public Money Deposited in the UNITED STATES BANK

Jack Downing: Hurrah! Feneral! If this don't beat skunkin I'm a nigger; only see that varmint Nick how spry he is. He runs along like Weatherfield Hog with an onion in his mouth.

No more fees to be obtained here! I move we adjourn, sine die!

Fees

Daniel Webster: There is a tide in the affairs of men, as Shakespeare says, and so my dear Clay, look out for yourself.

Henry Clay: Help me up! Webster! Or I shall lose my stakes!

Kentucky

Burrow under the Mammoths here, Sila!

Boston Courier, ALbany Gazette Evening Star, Columbian Sentinel, Journal of Commerce, Commercial Advertiser, New York American, Pennsylvanian, United States Gazette, National Gazette

Nichols Biddle: It is time for me to resign my presidency

Salary 6000, Preointing expenses 80000, Courier and Enquirer 52000

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Joseph Schumpeter (1927): The Explanation of the Business Cycle: Weekend Reading

Il Quarto Stato

Joseph Schumpeter (1927): The Explanation of the Business Cycle: "§1. The childhood of every science is characterised by the prevalence of "schools," of bodies of men, that is, who swear by bodies of doctrine, which differ toto caelo from each other as to philosophic background and fundamentals of methods, and aim at preaching different "systems" and, if possible, different results in every particular—each claiming to be in exclusive possession of Truth and to fight for absolute light against absolute darkness. But when a science has "gained man's estate," these things, whilst never ceasing to exist, tend to lose importance: the common ground expands, merits and ranges of "standpoints" and "methods " become matter of communis opinio doctorum, fundamental differences shade off into each other; and what differences remain are confined within clear-cut questions of fact and of analytic machinery, and capable of being settled by exact proof...

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Raymond Aron (1955): Nations and Ideologies: Weekend Reading

This is the best expression of the end-of-ideology "managerialism" theses of the Great Post-WWII Keynesian Boom—Les Trente Glorieuses. It is remarkably early: 1955. And it is 100% correct that those who tried to apply a pre-WWI socialist or a Leninist frame to the state of the world after World War II were hopelessly wrong, and would up naked on the moon. And that is if they were lucky. Aron, of course, took the defeat of fascism as the Red Army turned Hitler's Berlin into rubble in 1945 as permanent. And Aron mistook the Eisenhower wing of the Republican Party for the beast. And maybe he would have been right if not for Goldwater:

Il Quarto Stato

Raymond Aron (1955): Nations and Ideologies: "WE are becoming ever more aware that the political categories of the last century—Left and Right, liberal and socialist, traditionalist and revolutionary-have lost their relevance. They imply the existence of conflicts which experience has since reconciled, and they lump together ideas and men whom the course of history has drawn into opposing camps. How can one describe as "extreme Left" the Soviet regime which identifies society with the state? Is it possible to see it as a continuation of the struggle against arbitrary rule, or as favouring individual freedom and the control of government by the governed? Or again, when a parliament of "Pashas" is dissolved by a group of army officers sincerely concerned for national independence and economic progress, who then establish a military dictatorship, what is the correct word to describe their regime?...

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Samuel Brittan (1980): Hayek, the New Right, and the Crisis of Social Democracy: Weekend Reading

This—written forty years ago—is still the best short summary of left-neoliberalism I have every seen. Indeed, I think meditating on it, while walking up Drury Lane between the LSE and Bloomsbury in the summer of 1982, was how I became a card-carrying left-neoliberal in the first place:

School of Athens

Samuel Brittan (1980): Hayek, the New Right, and the Crisis of Social Democracy: "SINCE THE PUBLICATION of his Road to Serfdom in 1944, Friedrich Hayek has been cursed by sneerers, who dismiss everything he has to say without giving it a hearing, and even more by admirers, who agree with it before they have studied it, and regard it mainly as a highbrow stick with which to beat the Left. Yet there are many reasons for trying to come to terms with what he has been saying. The completion of The Political Order of a Free People, the third and last volume of his Law, Legislation and Liberty, provides a suitable opportunity for an interim assessment...

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Weekend Reading: John Maynard Keynes: from The End of Laissez-Faire (1926)

School of Athens

John Maynard Keynes (1926): The End of Laissez-Faire (1926): "Suppose that by the working of natural laws individuals pursuing their own interests with enlightenment in condition of freedom always tend to promote the general interest at the same time! Our philosophical difficulties are resolved-at least for the practical man, who can then concentrate his efforts on securing the necessary conditions of freedom. To the philosophical doctrine that the government has no right to interfere, and the divine that it has no need to interfere, there is added a scientific proof that its interference is inexpedient. This is the third current of thought, just discoverable in Adam Smith, who was ready in the main to allow the public good to rest on 'the natural effort of every individual to better his own condition', but not fully and self-consciously developed until the nineteenth century begins. The principle of laissez-faire had arrived to harmonise individualism and socialism, and to make at one Hume's egoism with the greatest good of the greatest number. The political philosopher could retire in favour of the business man—for the latter could attain the philosopher's summum bonum by just pursuing his own private profit...

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Edmund Wilson (1940): Trotsky, History, and Providence: Weekend Reading

Leon Trotsky 6 facts about the disgraced Russian revolutionary Russia Beyond

Weekend Reading: Edmund Wilson (1940): Trotsky, History, and Providence (from "To the Finland Station"): History, then, with its dialectical Trinity, had chosen Prince Svyatopolk-Mirsky to disillusion the middle class, had propounded revolutionary conclusions which it had compelled Father Gapon to bless, and will cruelly discredit and destroy certain Pharisees and Sadducees of Marxism before it summons the boiling lava of the Judgment.

These statements make no sense whatever unless one substitutes for the words history and dialectic of history the words Providence and God. And this Providential power of history is present in all the writings of Trotsky. John Jay Chapman said of Browning that God did duty in his work as noon, verb, adjective, adverb, interjection and prepositions; and the same is true of History with Trotsky...

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Sean Jones: Brexiters, Elites and the Death of the Irish Joke: Weekend Reading

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Sean Jones: Brexiters, Elites and the Death of the Irish Joke: "One of the oddest aspects of the Brexit Kulturkrieg has been very rich white men depicting themselves as an oppressed minority standing up, heroically, to 'the Elite'... the defence of the Rees-Moggs and the Johnsons suggesting that it is outrageous to 'blame' them for going to Eton.... WTF, says half of Twitter, WTAF? I think I get it, but to explain it I need to take you back.... When I recall the laughter now about the Irish; about 'women’s libbers' and immigrants, I can hear a fear in it that I was deaf to at the time. To use words that would have horrified my father, it was a defence of sorts; a defence against the challenge to privilege. The cartoonist in the Sunday Express was Cummings. Here is cartoon of his from the mid-80s. It’s astonishing to look at, but its message is clear. It’s an image that is wringing wet with fear. British society was under threat from malign forces that believed in things like 'anti-racism' and not discriminating on grounds of sexual orientation. Here’s the thing though—it was. Although I do not pretend we are an equal society, the argument that we should try to be prevailed. We won.... The clearest sign was that the Irish joke had vanished...

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Cosma Shalizi (2011): Dives, Lazarus, and Alice: Weekend Reading

Meister des Codex Aureus Epternacensis 001 jpg 2024×2955

Weekend Reading: Cosma Shalizi (2011): "They've traded more for cigarettes / than I've managed to express"; or, Dives, Lazarus, and Alice: "Let us consider a simple economy with three individuals. Alice is a restaurateur; she has fed herself, and has just prepared a delicious turkey dinner, at some cost in materials, fuel, and her time. Dives is a wealthy conceptual artist1, who has eaten and is not hungry, but would like to buy the turkey dinner so he can "feed" it to the transparent machine he has built, and film it being "digested" and eventually excreted2. To achieve this, he is willing and able to spend up to $5000. Dives does not care, at all, about what happens to anyone else; indeed, as an exponent of art for art's sake, he does not even care whether his film will have an audience. Huddled miserably in a corner of the gate of Dives's condo is Lazarus, who is starving, on the brink of death, but could be kept alive for another day by eating the turkey...

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Salisbury the Late-Nineteenth Century Grand Strategist, as Explicated by Roberts, According to Gaddis: Weekend Reading

January 1943 FDR Day by Day

Weekend Reading: John Lewis Gaddis's On Grand Strategy is not a book I would recommend highly. The "practitioners" he thinks he has learned from are "David Brooks, Walter Russell Mead, John Negroponte, Peggy Noonan, Victoria Nuland, Paul Solman, Jake Sullivan, and Evan Wolfson". These are, respectivley: a Republican hack-journalist with some regrets, an ex-Yale professor now Hudson Institute fellow a little too enamored of the "clash of civilizations", a George W. Bush Iraq ambassador and DNI whose tenure was about an aveage disaster for the disastrous George W. Bush admiistration, another Republican hack-journalist but this one without regrets, a former assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs who appears to have been so undiplomatic in her communications to have made a personal enemy of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a very sharp business-and-economics correspondent for PBS, one of the chief negotiators for the Iran nuclear deal, and a co-counsel in the Hawai'i "freedom to marry" case. With the exception of Jake Sullivan, these are not people I would take as positive role-model practitioners of "Grand Strategy" at all. But there they are.

However, there are two passages in the book that struck me very positively:

The first was made up of Gaddis's strictures about how "foxes" are btter than "hedgehogs". I might write about this someday...

The second was about British late-nineteenth-century prime minister Robert Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil (1830-1903), eventually 3rd Marquess of Salisbury from 1868, and Britain's grand strategy. Starting in the 1840s with the Oregon affair, Britain pursued a grand strategy of appeasing the United States—a strategy that Robert Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil unwillingly embraced—that managed to make the United States Britain's wired aces in the seven-card stud poker game that was world geopolitics from 1914 to 2000:

John Lewis Gaddis On Grand Strategy https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0143132512: "One night during the [American] Civil War, Georgina Cecil awoke to find her husband standing, asleep but agitated, before an open second-floor window. He seemed to be expecting invaders, 'presumably Federal soldiers or revolutionary mob'. Strangely, though, this happened in England, and the sleepwalker was Lord Robert Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, a descendant of Queen Elizabeth’s trusted counselor Lord Burghley. As the 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, this Cecil would go on to serve his own queen, Victoria, three times as prime minister. Never though, his wife recalled, did he suffer 'such extremes of depression and nervous misery as at that time'. For the United States terrified Salisbury...

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David Glasner: James Buchanan Calling the Kettle Black: Weekend Reading

San Francisco from Abovee Berkeley

IIR, back in 1986 I was one of two two people at the MIT economics Wednesday faculty lunch willing to say that I thought the award of the Nobel Prize to James Buchanan was not a travesty and a mistake. I would now like to withdraw that opinion.

Buchanan was a hedgehog. Hedgehogs are wise in one big thing and very stupid otherwise. They may be intellectually useful for a community, or they may be tremendously destructive—it depends. But they are not wise. And they should not be given prizes that lead outsiders to think that they are wise:

David Glasner: James Buchanan Calling the Kettle Black: "In the wake of the tragic death of Alan Krueger, attention has been drawn to an implicitly defamatory statement by James Buchanan about those who, like Krueger, dared question the orthodox position taken by most economists that minimum-wage laws increase unemployment among low-wage, low-skilled workers whose productivity, at the margin, is less than the minimum wage that employers are required to pay employees. Here is Buchanan’s statement...

...The inverse relationship between quantity demanded and price is the core proposition in economic science, which embodies the presupposition that human choice behavior is sufficiently relational to allow predictions to be made. Just as no physicist would claim that “water runs uphill,” no self-respecting economist would claim that increases in the minimum wage increase employment. Such a claim, if seriously advanced, becomes equivalent to a denial that there is even minimal scientific content in economics, and that, in consequence, economists can do nothing but write as advocates for ideological interests. Fortunately, only a handful of economists are willing to throw over the teachings of two centuries; we have not yet become a bevy of camp-following whores.

Wholly apart from its odious metaphorical characterization of those he was criticizing, Buchanan’s assertion was substantively problematic....

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Mark Bauerlein (2006): On Michael Bérubé: Weekend Reading

Clowns (ICP)

I wonder if Mark Bauerlein has become a Trumpist? Yes indeedee, he has—not anti-anti-Trump, but the Full Monty: "President Trump is the only one who can stop the left now": Mark Bauerlein (2006): On Michael Bérubé: "An assigned essay topic that was claimed by a conservative student to be anti-American, a claim rightly judged by Bérubé a silly exaggeration. Still, the tendentiousness of the question is plain. Here is the final sentence: 'Analyze the U.S. constitution (original document), and show how its formulation excluded [the] majority of the people living in America at that time, and how it was dominated by America’s elite interest'...

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Weekend Reading: William Freehling: Secessionists at Bay

Weekend Reading: William Freehling: Secessionists at Bay pp. 128-9: "One episode at Monticello illustrates the master's [Jefferson's] genius at evasion. Sally Hemings, Monticello's most celebrated slave, put Jefferson to the test as few trustees have been tested. No trustee more successfully evaded his examination. Most historians, emulating Jefferson's contemporaries, have narrowed the Sally Hemings issue to one question: Did Jefferson sire her five mulatto children? The circumstantial evidence does not serve Jefferson well. Hemings, whitish daughter of Jefferson's father-in-law, was long a household servant within the Big House. Jefferson was always in residence nine months before she gave birth. Jefferson manumitted some of her children and freed no black without a Hemings connection...

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Weekend Reading: Garry Wills (1974): Uncle Thomas’s Cabin

Weekend Reading: Garry Wills (1974): Uncle Thomas’s Cabin: "It should be clear, by now, what fuels the tremendous industry [Fawn Brodie] poured into her work—her obsession with all the things she can find or invent about Jefferson’s sex life. Since that life does not seem a very extensive or active one, Ms. Brodie has to use whatever hints she can contrive. In particular, she reads practically the whole Jeffersonian corpus as a secret code referring to what is presented as the longest, most stable, most satisfying love in Jefferson’s life—that with Sally Hemings...

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Weekend Reading: What I think of James Carville: Substituted in "James Carville" for "Sadie Burke"

Weekend Reading: What I think of James Carville, but substitute in "Bill Clinton" for "Willie", and substitute in "James Carville" for "Sadie Burke": Robert Penn Warren: All the King's Men: "He announced in the Democratic primary.... It was hell among the yearlings and the Charge of the Light Brigade and Saturday night in the back room of Casey's saloon rolled into one, and when the dust cleared away not a picture still hung on the walls.... There was just [Bill Clinton], with his hair in his eyes and his shirt sticking to his stomach with sweat. And he had a meat ax in his hand and was screaming for blood. In the background of the picture, under a purplish tumbled sky flecked with sinister white like driven foam, flanking [Bill Clinton]... [James Carville]...

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Weekend Reading: Raphael Hogarth: 'No Deal' Actually Means Total Supplication...

Dumpster fire Google Search

Weekend Reading: Raphael Hogarth: "Some MPs Talk about 'No Deal' as a Great Liberation. 'No Deal' Actually Means Total Supplication, Handing Huge Control over the UK to the European Commission.Read the government’s technical notices on no deal, and you will find that an awful lot of sectors will need a decision from Brussels to keep trading...

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