New Eyes, New Wool: Sunstein on History

Cass Sunstein is a marvelous salesman but an intellectual prestigitator. Well, what else can you call a man who is half of the team that half a decade ago had a lot of prominent libertarians very nearly convinced that manipulating people’s choices was not only morally acceptable but a way to maintain individual freedom? With…

Pinochet’s Legacy

September 11th came and went, and right on cue, the New Repulic has an article out purporting to bust the “myth” that Pinochet was ever good for anything at all. They’re worked up because a lot of pundits on the right like to defend “the Pinochet model” as a way of dragging backward countries –…

What Einstein Was

There’s an interesting discussion going on over at The Volokh Conspiracy about Einstein’s nationality. Apparently the LA Times recently refered to him as a "Swiss Physicist," and Eugene Volokh thinks that’s an odd thing to say. Lots of people lept to the conclusion I did – which is that Volokh thinks of him as a…

Mountains out of Molehills: Confederacy Edition

There’s been a lot of gleeful handrubbing in Libertarian circles recently as we all solemnly agree that the Confederacy Was a Very Bad Thing, Mkay You Guys? And, sure, it was a bad thing. Draconian central government dedicated to preserving slavery? There’s nothing for a libertarian to agree with there. Nevertheless, I have a couple…

Monetarism appeals to the Right for a Reason

A friend on Facebook posted this interesting – and frustrating – article from Salon: When neoliberalism exploded. It makes two claims, which I’ll call the strong claim and the weak claim. The weak claim is true. The strong claim isn’t – or at least isn’t the whole story. And so this is a prime example…

The Queen is Dead

Oh look, an idiotic article about the Queen. Alright, let’s get all the obvious out of the way: (1) I’m American, so I officially DON’T CARE whether the UK has a monarchy. (2) Notwithstanding, my disinterested opinion is that monarchies are silly, so the UK should get rid of its monarchy. (3) I realize that…

Lessons from the Anschluss

An article in the American Spectator comparing John Boehner’s dealings with Obama to standing by while Hitler sealed the Anschluss draws the normal historical lessons. If only Britain had stopped appeasing Hitler sooner, WWII could have been avoided. There comes a point where you have to put your balls on the line and fight. Etc.…

Keeping the Peace in Europe

You wake up in the morning, pour your coffee, and open your (metaphorical) paper to find that the European Union is this year’s winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. A number of thoughts probably go through your head, few of them charitable. But at some point you have to face the fact that someone, somewhere,…

Chain of Causes

History is in the air. It all started with a discussion yesterday about how relevant it really is. We were in the (Computational Linguistics) Lab talking about who we took Historical Linguistics from, and one person mentions that she doesn’t like History anyway. I half agree. I LOVE history, but mostly only if it happened…