Monday, May 22, 2006

International Political Theory (Josh C)

Anyone interested in international political theory -- and addicted to the internet -- will be thrilled to learn of the (I think, new; new to me, anyway) website called, creatively enough, International Political Theory. They have a number of links to various online resources -- unpublished papers by the likes of Arneson, Barry, Benhabib, (Josh) Cohen, Miller, Nussbaum, Sen and Walzer (as well as many published pieces), e-texts of various classics in international relations theory and the study of ethics and international relations, from Thucydides to Aron, book reviews, videos of conferences and interviews, and so on, as well as 'The IPT Beacon', an online 'journal' consisting of a selection of particularly noteworthy (according to the impressive editorial board) recent articles on international political theory, culled from various top academic journals. All in all, it looks like an outstanding site of its kind, and a great resource for those of us interested in such things.
(And at some point, I will post something substantive. Well, maybe.)

Why Inequality Matters (Josh C)

I haven't anything interesting to say for myself on this topic; but via my friend Chris Brooke, I see that Why Inequality Matters, a pamphlet co-authored by our friend-in-common Ben Jackson is now available for free online. Ben's a super guy, who's great company even if discussing Leonard Hobhouse and Isaiah Berlin's liberalisms, or Hugh Gaitskell and Evan Durbin's economic thought isn't your idea of a good time (though, if this is the case ... well, you poor, benighted creature, you); he also combines top-knotch skills as a political theorist and historian of British political thought. So I tend to think that anything he writes is likely to be good.
All of that said, I have yet to actually read this pamphlet, so can't say anything about it, substantive or otherwise. But I thought I'd call it to people's attention, and open up a space for any of my co-bloggers, who have a stronger footing in the theoretical literatuer on, and debates about, equality, to weigh in -- if they have the time and inclination to read the piece.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Immigration "reform" (Sean)

On a recent visit to the department building’s cafeteria, I realized that the regular cashier, a young Brazilian woman, was not there and had not been there for at least a week. I asked one of the other workers where she was and learned that she had been fired because she lacked proper papers. If other businesses are also purging their staff of undocumented workers in anticipation of more exacting penalties from the government for violating the law, she will probably have a tough time finding work. Assuming, as seems safe, that she does not have a nest egg saved up to travel south of the border to find work, her choices are probably between prostitution, theft, or dependency on friends or family. Since most illegal immigrants’ friends and family are either themselves illegal immigrants or too poor to support multiple dependents, the last option may not be a real option, if a crackdown on illegal immigrant labor really is underway. Perhaps it is not, but I’m interested to know if anyone thinks that it should be, and, if like me they think that it should not, how they think borders should be regulated, if at all. Any successful attempt to enforce a prohibition on employing illegal immigrants would ruin or at least make extremely difficult the lives of the estimated seven to nine other million illegal immigrants in this country. I invite anyone who is aware of redeeming aspects of such a policy to mention them.

Ramin Jahanbegloo

It's now been well over three weeks since Ramin Jahanbegloo was detained by the authorities in Iran while trying to leave Tehran to attend a conference. Jahanbegloo (a dual Iranian/Canadian citizen) has been held, largely incommunicado, in Iran's infamous Evin Prison ever since. I say infamous in part because the last Iranian Canadian to be shut up in Evin -- like Jahanbegloo, without being charged or granted any legal process -- wound up dead from a blow to the head, the marks of torture and sexual assault on her corpse. Iranian authorities say that Jahanbegloo is being held for having 'connections with foreigners'; the hardline Iranian press, which has close ties to the government, accuse him of being a US/Zionist spy. It's rumoured that he has produced pages of confessions; it is unlikely that these were voluntary, or that they are true. The proximate cause of his arrest seems likely to have been his criticism of Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for denying the Holocaust. More generally, though, Jahanbegloo is a voice for moderation, internationalism, and freedom of thought; values that do not seem particularly prized in Iran at present.
Jahanbegloo (who did graduate work in philosophy at the Sorbonne and in Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard) is one of Iran's leading secular intellectuals. He's published books on Hegel and Gandhi: and his own work has been, appropriately, devoted to fostering communication and reconciliation between opposing traditions and insights, and advocating non-violence and moderation. He also published a book of interviews with Isaiah Berlin which is an invaluable resource for studying that figure. I read Jahanbegloo's book of interviews shortly after I discovered Berlin; the book served as a major part of my introduction to Berlin's thought (as well as his life and personality), and as such, has had a very substantial influence on my thought -- and, indeed, my life generally. Indeed, I suppose that one can say that it changed my life -- that it has had a decisive influence on where and who I am now. So, as well as admiring Jahanbegloo, I owe him a great debt. This, however, nothing next to his importance to liberal-minded students and reformers in Iran, among whom he seems to be a major, and beneficial, intellectual influence.
At first, Jahanbegloo's friends kept quiet, hoping that he would be released. This has failed to happen, however, and reports that Jahanbegloo has been spending much of his time in Evin's medical ward -- as well as the talk about his being a foreign agent -- have not been reassuring. So an international campaign has been commenced to secure his release -- or, at the very least, open and just treatment; it has enlisted the support of figures ranging from Noam Chomsky and Jurgen Habermas to members of the American Enterprize Institute. There is a website devoted to his case here, which contains information on both Jahanbegloo and his situation; anyone interested in learning more about what's happening to him and why should check it out. There's also a petition to the EU, to apply pressure on Jahanbegloo's behalf, here, which I urge people to sign (you don't have to be a national of a member of the EU to do so). There are several letter-writing campaigns, the websites of which are here , here, and here; again, I strongly urge people to join in sending letters or emails to the Iranian authorities (being careful to be respectful, of course; the websites provide templates of the sort of thing they judge to be well-advised.
This case, of course, hits particularly close to home for political theorists -- hence it's mention here; but it's also an important case for the principles of freedom of speech and due process of law. And, of course, it's also a terrible ordeal being undergone by a good and admirable man and his family.
So please act now.
UPDATE: There's an article in today's NY Times about Jahanbegloo's case, which provides more detailed and, hopefully, accurate information on what's happening to him, and its context.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mini-blog roundup (Josh C)

I haven't the time to formulate any thoughts about it myself, I'm afraid; but this post on liberalism, cultural (dis)advantages, education policy and conceptions of the good by Chris Bertram over at Crooked Timber might be of interest to, well, several people on this blog; and I invite you to post any thoughts in the comments here.
Also, those who aren't getting enough moral philosophy in their lives right now might want to check out David Velleman's post on evil -- or, rather, on the deficiencies of Ron Rosenbaum's statements about evil -- here.

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Varieties of Ethical Pluralism (Josh C)

With a heavy load of final papers to see to, I probably won't be posting much for the next couple of weeks or so; but to avoid feeling like too much of a deadweight, here's a very rough thing I jotted down independently a couple of weeks ago. It's an attempt to sort out, not the serious ambiguities or perplexities inherent in theories of value pluralism, nor the different variations of value pluralism that have emerged over time, but the different ways in which self-declared proponents of value pluralism have understood, and held, that position. (I'm not going to go into what value pluralism is here; an earlier account of my understanding of that position can be found here.) Given this focus, I wind up avoiding the most interesting issues -- such as what incommensurability means, for instance; nor do I offer any evaluation of the coherence or plausibility of these different positions. I'm just concerned to straighten out some confusions that I've noticed in the literature on value pluralism, which I think result from conflating a number of distinct positions, all of which endorse value pluralism in some way -- but in different ways.
There are of course many ways one can distinguish between different accounts (or possible accounts; I haven't found examples of all of the positions described below in the literature; also, some authors seem to hold, at different times, to more than one of these positions) of value pluralism in terms of three questions on which one can take a position:
1) Whether pluralism -- the idea that there are a plurality of equally valid and potentially conflicting values or goods, which do not form part of a single moral system or way of life, and which cannot be ranked or classified or decided between with reference to a single principle or rule -- is true or untrue as a claim about reality;
2) Whether the truth of value pluralism happens to be the result of certain, alterable circumstances of modern life, or whether there must, given the nature of human beings and their values (so far as these are known to/experienced by us) be such variety and disagreement;
3) Whether pluralism -- or more precisely, the condition of pluralism -- is a good thing as such, or something to be (regretfully) accepted

Now, it might at first seem that one who responded to position 1) that pluralism is untrue as a claim about reality should not be considered a pluralist at all; but I hope to suggest below that one can in fact deny the truth of pluralism in one respect, and still be a pluralist. I now outline three positions, each of which can be broken down to a varying number of sub-positions, based on how one answers the questions above.

P1. Pluralism is untrue (or incompletely true), but a social reality (either contingent or necessary) given the way things are -- that is, there is in fact one best way of life or moral system, but human beings will not come to agree on it; this may be a good or a bad thing. (One can think of various sub-positions -- based on the view taken with regard to questions 1 and 2; what characterises position-family P1 is the view that pluralism must or should be accepted as a reality about human life, even though the ethical or meta-ethical claim involved is false. One might describe this position as pluralism political (or social)-not-metaphysical; or one might not label it as pluralism at all, but rather as a doctrine of reasonable disagreement. Still, this position seems to me close enough to pluralism in its implications for the way one approaches ethics to be included here.)

P2 Pluralism as a claim about values is true (or probably true), but as a social reality is contingent (or, to be more precise, relatively strongly contingent): it is possible to imagine people agreeing -- possible even for people to agree -- on the primacy of some one value or the supremacy of some one way of life as best, even though this would be a matter of consensus rather than the discovery of the truth about values/morality (and such agreement would, in fact, obscure the truth). There are two importantly different subpositions here:
2a. This would be fine, though ultimately false; such moral consensus, and consequent overcoming of value-conflict as a reality in people's lives, may be unlikely to occur, but it is not impossible, and such a harmonious state of affairs, in which conflict and moral loss were no longer realities of social and moral life, would be desirable (so, the implicit answer to question 3 is that pluralism is undesirable)
2b. Such agreement, to be sustained, would require too much oppression for its maintenance to be desirable; so while moral unanimity is possible, it is undesirable, and for reasons other than its simple falsity (so, the answer to question 3 is that pluralism is to be welcomed). (Note that position P2b. is very close to position P1, in that both embrace pluralism as a social reality that should be accepted; where they differ is that P2b regards pluralism as a true or valid theory about values, while P1 doesn't; while P1 regards pluralism as a necessary feature of social life, while P2b regards the elimination of moral disagreement as possible and even practicable, but as involving an unacceptable cost.)

P3 Pluralism is true, and necessary: there is something in the way that human beings -- as we know them, as they exist and so far as we can tell have always existed -- are that entails pluralism; to imagine a non-pluralistic reality would be to imagine an existence radically different from that which we know as human; overcoming pluralism as a reality about human moral experience would require a transformation of either the meaning of human values, or the nature of human beings, or both. If this is accepted, there remain two possible responses based on the answer to question 3:
3a. Pluralism should then be embraced, as an essential part of what makes us human
3b. Pluralism -- and thus the human condition itself -- should be bewailed.

As far as this applies to examples of value pluralism, I take Berlin to mainly hold to 3a, though there is also an element of 3b -- in his emphasis on the tragic dimension of pluralism; there are however moments where he seems to hold to 2b (which, to the extent that he is a Humean, and therefore can't make assertions of radical non-contingency, he has to accept; indeed, the difference between 2b and some version of 3 seems to me to reflect a tension between Humean and Kantian (to use those terms both crudely, and with a very specific meaning in mind) elements in Berlin's thought. I think that Berlin would distinguish between strong contingency and weak contingency, and hold that while its possible to imagine moral plurality and conflict being overcome, this would involve a radical alteration of all of the categories and values by which we live - so that pluralism is a necessary feature of OUR lives. Rawls and Larmore, on the other hand, hold either to some version of 1, or to 2b -- it is unclear which, exactly; they try to avoid making assertions about the truth of pluralism as a meta-ethical theory, and emphasise instead its social reality; yet they also seem to decisively reject the idea of a best life, while also holding consensus to be (contingently) possible, if unlikely. But then I'm not sure how well I've grasped Rawls and Larmore's position (assuming it's basically the same), so correction is welcome.

Sunday, May 7, 2006

More substantive issues in democratic theory (Sean)

The substantive question in my last thread on the ordinary usage of 'democracy' and its cognates didn't get much airtime except for a short comment by Don to which I'll now respond. In response to my open-ended question, "Why care about democracy," Don wrote,

"...the quick answer is, I think, a more prudential dislike of autocratic (albeit benevolent and equitable) regimes; a second answer is that citizens might be owed the opportunity for the _ownership_ of what their political communities do, in their name or for their sake. Perhaps."

I was intrigued by the second answer, but right now I'm curious to know how Don responds to the following hypothetical example in light of the first answer. Suppose that you, Don, have studied theories of justice, virtue, etc. for your whole life, and now, at some ripe old age, you have the opportunity to seize political power and establish yourself as a dictator. You can recruit whomever you like as an advisor (suppose that Finnis and Raz or even Aristotle are still alive at this point). Don't you and your cadre have as great a claim as anyone to know what laws should be passed? Let's also assume that you ran for election and only got .001% of the vote. Would it be right/just/legitimate for you to take power? If you wouldn't take power, it seems inappropriate to label your reasons for not doing so "prudential" reasons--don't you know that you'll do as good a job as anyone?

King Chavez? (Lucas)

[I'm posting Lucas's Chavez comment on Sean's "Ordinary Usage" post here--to keep comments organized. Please let me know whether this is a bad or unwanted move. Also: I will keep Sean's comment on Chavez in the "Ordinary Usage" thread, since it's still Beitz-related. For that thread, click here. --TP Administrator.]


I don't know whether it's better to start a new post, or paste this here.

"Venezuela's Chavez proposes referendum on holding office until 2031"

Associated Press

Caraca, Venezuela — President Hugo Chavez said Saturday that Venezuelan voters should have the chance to decide whether he should govern the country for the next 25 years.

Speaking at a stadium packed with supporters in central Lara state, Chavez said he would hold a referendum to put the question of his remaining in office to Venezuelans if the opposition pulls out of upcoming presidential elections.

"I am going to ask you, all the people, if you agree with Chavez being president until 2031," he said.

It was not clear if Chavez was talking about holding a legally binding vote to eliminate term limits or proposing a plebiscite.

Chavez said Friday that he said he might seek "indefinite" re-election through a referendum if the opposition boycotts the presidential vote.

"I would call a national referendum to have the people decide if I can continue here indefinitely or if I have to go after six years," he said.

Opposition leaders accuse Chavez, a former paratroop commander first elected in 1998, of becoming increasingly authoritarian and opening dangerous divisions along class lines in Venezuela — the world's fifth largest oil exporter.

The Venezuelan Constitution allows a president to be re-elected only once in immediate succession. Chavez is eligible for re-election to another six-year term in December, but if he wins he would not be able to run again in 2012.

Polls indicate Chavez is likely to win the Dec. 3 election, and international observers have signed off on recent votes as fair.

Four government opponents have announced plans to run against Chavez, although not all have agreed to participate in primaries to choose a single opposition candidate.

Friday, May 5, 2006

Introduction and _United 93_ (Don)

HAL 2000 has given me the go, and I must abide.

For my part, this web-log is to raise political and philosophical questions in a way which might allow for broader feedback. And to commit jokes to (digital) print. Many of the contributors to this web-log will be far apart over the upcoming summer, and so _Theoretically Political_ might be a good way for them to stay in touch, even if it keeps them spatially apart. And having this as a group web-log will increase the chances of its staying alive.

In other news, last night I saw _United 93_. I thought it went well: the movie showed admirable restraint and "minimalism." No major actors were employed, and so the film worked well as a depiction of the "common" American citizen. It was no tale of heroism or of triumphalism-to-be. The film conveyed frustratingly and remarkably well the disarray of America's air-traffic-control system. The movie claims that military commanders knew of United 93's hijacking no earlier than four minutes _after_ its crash. If that's true, then the film does a good job of showing you why and how such confusion arose among the country's top brass.

I wonder: How do others feel about this movie, assuming, then, that the film is as I've described it, i.e., done with admirable austerity, restraint, and bluntness? Part of me found that, so to speak, "it was not too early to do a 9/11 movie." The movie was a fine work of art, done about a topic of seriousness. But another part of me found that the movie would play well into the image of Western decadence which might be fueling some of America's enemies: "A memorial to the victims of 9/11, but it's still just a commercial movie, with a $9 sales tag. Is nothing beyond the market's reach?" True enough, in an ideal world (for me), the movie would have been released with a nominal price tag (say, $1) to avoid the charge of opportunism. As to that, I can't say much more. But as a work of art, the film deserves to be seen. That is much more than I expect to say about that new firefighter movie with Nicholas Cage as the lead actor (_World Trade Center_ by Oliver Stone).

Thursday, May 4, 2006

Political Theorists at the AAAS (Josh C.)

Jacob Levy has an interesting post on which political theorists are -- and aren't - members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He notes some patterns of inclusion and, um, non-inclusion that aren't wholly surprising -- almost no Straussians, and (though he doesn't mention this), a general trend away from 'post-modernist', communitarian and 'Continental' theorists; he also notes some surprising indiividual exclusions, the most egregious of which, in Jacob's view (with which I tend to concur) is Michael Walzer (Jacob doesn't list, but also doesn't note the absence, of either Michael Sandel or Charles Taylor, the latter of whom I'd say is as egregious an omission as Walzer. And, among foreign members, what about Habermas or Jerry Cohen? And, among philosophers whose work is relevant to political theorists, what of Nagel, Raz, Parfitt? [Or, as Don would be quick to add, Finnis]? Some of these folks may well be members, but have not been mentioned by Jacob as being philosophers rather than political theorists; the page with the list of AAAS members seems currently to be down, so I can't check).
I don't know how much can or should be concluded from this -- aside from the (fairly obvious) lesson that inclusion/non-inclusion among the august ranks of the AAAS is not a sufficient criterion for judging distinction (I don't mean that as a snark at the AAAS or its members).
UPDATE: I've now looked at the list; Nagel, Sandel, Taylor, Raz, Parfitt, and Habermas are all on it, though it appears that Finnis isn't (sorry, Don).

Ordinary usage and 'democracy' (Sean)

I'd like to hear others' thoughts on these questions:

On linguistic usage: Are most ordinary folk inclined to call some laws, policies, "outcomes" of political decision-making procedures "democratic" no matter what the procedure was? Are ordinary folk inclined to say that laws or policies are "undemocratic" even if the procedures that produced them involved citizens' participation, elected and accountable representatives, was transparent, backed by a majority, [fill in your notion of the purely procedural aspect of democratic procedure here], etc.? (Ignore, of course, the case of laws or policise that bear on procedures themselves, like laws imposing property requirements on voters.) As I see it, no one talks in the first way except Dworkin, Beitz, and a few others. The second usage might be less uncommon; repressing political speech can be called undemocratic. But this isn't a genuine example of the usage, I think, since opportunities to freely express oneself are connected to purely procedural aspects of democracy. Beitz's claim is that an outcome is undemocratic if it treats people inequitably, but that seems unmotivated by ordinary usage.

Substantive issue: why care about democracy?

Tocqueville in America; or, democracy, blank slates, and utopia (Josh C.)

There are two interesting discussions going on at once over at Crooked Timber, in response to this post by John Holbo. One concerns the history of Tocqueville's reputation/prominence in American (and to some extent more broadly Anglophone) intellectual life and political debate (declaration of interest: I've contributed to this part of the discussion on the Croked Timber thread); the other concerns the validity and applicability of the conservative critique of (alleged) liberal or left-wing attempts to effect radical, ideology-driven social transformation.
This latter point is, I think, an important one; and given its importance and complexity, I want to think a bit more about it before getting into a discussion of it here (but I do hope to do so eventually -- perhaps after I've finished a paper I'm currently working on, on Hume, which is somewhat related). Broadly speaking, though, the dilemma is this. On the one hand, certain conservative or what one might call dystopian liberal critics of radical social transformation (I'm thinking here of Montaigne, Hume, Burke, Oakeshott, Popper, Strauss, Isaiah Berlin, to some extent post-French Revolutionary liberals from Constant to Tocqueville, etc.) seem to me to have a powerful point, and one which we'd do well to heed. On the other hand, warnings against radical change have often been deployed in defense of deeply corrupt and oppressive regimes or norms; sometimes the status quo is so bad that maintaining it is worse than the risks associated with social transformation; and sometimes radical transformations work rather well. Indeed, it is frightening to contemplate what the current state of the world would be without them (I believe it was Anatole France who once said that if men never dreamed -- and, I'd add, never sought to transform their dreams into realities -- we'd still live in caves.) Furthermore, there is the problem of uncertainty. That we cannot know what the long-term (or even short-term) results of our actions will be is both obviously and importantly true; but this cuts both ways -- it may make us cautious about acting, but it also undercuts predictions of disaster; and if we only acted when we could be sure that no undesirable or disastrous results would follow, we would wind up doing nothing at all. Yet inaction is not neutral; it has its own results, for which we who do not act must bear some responsibility.
So how can we tell when we should follow the sceptical, cautious liberals or conservatives -- and so avoid Jacobinism, the Great Leap Forward and all the Five Year Plans -- and when we should follow the dreamers, the visionaries who have generally been the ones responsible for freeing the slaves and bringing hope to the afflicted? I don't have an answer, and doubt that I will, though this is the point I hope to return to. For the moment, I think that it's important to remember that there is more that is important, in considering this, than the ambition of the goals. What means are employed in their pursuit is a decisive question: one answer -- too simple, but at least a start -- is that the difference between change, however sweeping, based on consent, and change, however desirable, achieved by coercion and violence,is crucial. Another important factor is the attitude, the mentality, of the reformers: whether they are dogmatic, convinced of their own virtue or infallibility and thus deaf to criticism and blind to their own mistakes and limitations, or whether they are, while committed, also open, flexible, respectful of others, and regard themselves with scepticism and humility.
As for the other issue -- of Tocqueville's reputation -- I've already said what I have to say about that over at Crooked Timber (and have learned much from some of the other posters, for which I'm grateful to them). Thinking about it, and the quote from Nisbet with which John opens the post, raises another question I'd like to pose to any readers here. Thinking about it, it seems to me that there's a long dry period in conservative political thought -- by which I mean political thought of seriousness and quality (though not necessarily fame) -- in the English-speaking world between, say, James Fitzjames Stephen's Liberty, Equality, Fraternity (1873), and the post-war period when you have conservative philosophers like Oakeshott and more conservative liberals such as Berlin and Hayek* writing; and even Stephen seems like a somewhat isolated figure (though perhaps one might also count Bagehot, and perhaps Maine -- though I don't know his thought well enough to classify him). So we seem to be talking about a silence of serious conservative political theorising for 80 years or so -- and a general sparsity for over a century, between say Burke and Oakeshott. Could this be correct?

*This should not be taken to deny the vast differences between these thinkers; nor when I describe thinkers as 'conservative' here do I refer to support for what passes for conservative politics in the US today; I mean, rather, the sort of scepticism and wariness of radical change and ideological visions referred to above.

Introduction... (Josh C.)

And I'll take -- whatever this font is ...
(Not that I expect this will be an entirely successful practice -- at least if our readers are as immune to the subtleties of typefaces as I am; I fully expect to get credit for the brilliant and hilarious posts of my colleagues, while shifting some of the blame for my own inanities onto them ...)
Anyway, welcome, all who come across this, to our new blog. My fellow-bloggers, and our souless robotic overseer, can all speak for themselves as far as their goals and guiding principles for this blog are. For my own part, my hope is to post mainly on matters that I know something, and have something to say, about (aside from, for instance, 'heh. read the whole thing'), and to avoid polemics and inanities alike. I (and many of the other bloggers here) will be focussing heavily but not exclusively on political theory; we will be generally but not always serious (see Don's hilarious first post below); and we'll probably be posting somewhat irregularly, especially with crunch-time for final papers here at Harvard GSAS coming up. The site will be added to and prettified considerably (well, we hope) once finals period is over.
And now, on with the show ...

Reading Steven Smith (Don)

My former advisor at Yale, Steven B. Smith, is hoping to set the record straight on Leo Strauss. His newest book, _Reading Leo Strauss: Politics, Philosophy, Judaism_ (University of Chicago Press, 2006), is due to hit bookstores next month. I've not read it, of course; but Smith came to Harvard a couple of months back to give a talk at the Political Theory Colloquium here. He read (parts of) a chapter; it was very good. Smith is a fine writer, a sharp reader and critic, and a friend and mentor. Check out the book. It will surely debunk much that needs debunking about "Straussianism." Clifford Orwin of the University of Toronto has a largely praising review in _Commentary_, except for two digs: (i) the _real_ Strauss might not have been _so_ against the Iraq War; and (ii) Smith fans the flames of a politicized Strauss by writing an admittedly timely and political book on Strauss and his political perception. The "chapter" link above has, surprisingly, some very big lauds for Smith from Harry Frankfurt (_emeritus_ philosopher at Princeton)--surprising, since "analytic" philosophers usually have no patience for Strauss or Straussians. As eminent a figure as Frankfurt (of _On Bullshit_ fame) might pave the way for a re-appraisal of that impatience. (Another notable exception is John Finnis's treatment of Strauss's work on natural-law theory.)

Moussaoui and Co. (Don)

"One is an Islamicist radical. The other is an environmentalist terrorist. They both thought that they knew the ways of love and heartbreak, of murder and bloodshed: until they found themselves, strangers in exile from Western society--but not from each other. In a sublime setting in the Colorado Rockies, two men will find what they least expected, and what they most needed: _friendship_. ABC is proud to present the newest addition to TGIF: _Zack and Ted_. Check your local listings to see what happens when Zack forgets to recycle a Pepsi can and when Ted quotes from the Letters of St. Paul. Expect the totally expected."

Housekeeping (TP Admin)

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