It’s no new insight to say that the loudest proponents of virtuous utopia often lack virtue themselves. I only want to confess to the same sin.
Man, I thought the culture wars were bad when I was a kid. It’s cliche to say now that people are more divided along political lines than ever, so I’ll spare you. You know it. And that divide is particularly evident when people try to communicate with each other.
The ancient Greeks spoke of three perspectives: pathos, ethos, and logos. From a pathos perspective, emotions and feelings take center stage. From an ethos perspective, reputation and tradition are what really matter. From a logos perspective, reason is what guides to wise action.
The stay-at-home orders and lockdowns have probably made you feel powerless to help fight either this pandemic or the emerging fascistic orders. But there is plenty we can do.
Yes, the virus grows exponentially. Yes, social distancing is one of the ways we know to flatten the curve. But the development of the virus is still quite early, not all of the data is in, and yet still many people seem to be willing to surrender liberties which took centuries to gain and centuries to preserve.
I first journeyed to Guatemala 20 years ago, hosted by Universidad Francisco Marroquín. Two weeks ago, I returned for a delightful extended visit, accompanied by my Spanish-speaking elder sons and former EconLog blogger Jim Schneider. I spent over a week doing guest lectures at UFM, then gave Friday’s keynote talk for the Reason Foundation’s Reason in Guatemala conference. During our trip, we were also able to visit the awesome Mayan ruins of Tikal and Yaxha. Here are my reflections on the experience.
If Israel’s regime was interested in peace, or even in its country’s survival, it would unilaterally withdraw to its 1967 borders, begin negotiating administration of Palestinians’ “right of return” to their stolen land, and recognize the existing State of Palestine.
Almost everyone loves the idea of “speaking truth to power.” Standing tall, talking boldly, consequences be damned – how heroic! Yet on reflection, this Speech of Heroes takes two radically different forms.
The claim of such absolute power has been the tacit US doctrine of foreign relations since at least as far back as the end of World War Two. America emerged from that war as the world’s sole nuclear power and, unlike other combatant countries, with its wealth virtually unscathed and its industrial capacity increased rather than demolished. Its rulers saw themselves as able, and entitled, to dictate terms to almost everyone, on almost everything.
Beinart admits that Joe Biden’s son Hunter’s service as a very well-paid member on the board of a Ukrainian energy company at the same time his father’s portfolio included “fighting corruption in the Ukrainian energy industry” was “a problem.” But it’s not Joe’s fault, see? His staffers didn’t want to confront him about the conflict of interest. They “feared the vice president’s wrath,” and thought him “too fragile” after one son’s death to hear “upsetting news” about the other’s conduct. Ditto Hillary Clinton.