Friday, January 22, 2010

Around the Web

For the week of Saturday, January 16 through Friday, January 22.

1) In Forbes, Trevor Butterworth on What We Can Learn From Cicero.

. . . even in the practical-minded, forward-looking America on the 19th century, Cicero was seen as the most eloquent and inspiring guide to eloquence. It is only as that century turned into the 20th that the classics were attacked for lacking relevance in a new science-driven age, much as the classical language of architecture was dismissed by the fierce, unadorned geometries of Bauhaus. Indeed, Columbia's journalism school was conceived as a temple of science rather than one devoted to the art of writing.
2) Richard M. Reinsch reviews James Madison and the Spirit of Republican Self-Government, by Colleen A. Sheehan for City-Journal.

In exploring the commitment Madison made to this “empire of reason,” Sheehan also shows how the Virginian Lycurgus drew on the thought of Aristotle, particularly his idea of regime stability. From a close reading of Aristotle’s Politics, Madison discerned lessons strikingly opposed to John Adams’s own classical studies on the stability of regimes. . .

In his essay “The Spirit of Governments,” Madison argued that majority rule must be a moral rule that secured persons in their property and their consciences from faction and tyranny. The tutored majority must govern according to natural justice. This could only happen if citizens’ political choices were the product of a civic education that stressed free government through the norms of man’s natural and political being.

The modern political project too easily dismisses the ends and purposes of constitutionalism. Such purposes provide final meaning and compel our admiration and consent to the republican project. While never denying the importance of constitutional structure, Madison understood that such order was not self-executing. A constitution can set political actors and institutions at variance with one another, thus preventing a unity of unlawful power, but these same parties can also decide to collude and drain the system of its life. The order of the American republic—its conservation and, if necessary, reform—was to be found, finally, in the souls of its citizens, who must be formed in the spirit of constitutional liberty. This is Madison’s gift to America.
3) On the Mises Blog, Stephen Mauzy on Bernie Madoff, FDR, 'Ponzi Schemes,' and who is really to blame:

Given the Sword of Damocles hanging overhead, the younger generation should have reason to pause. But they don't pause. In fact, they've done past generations one better by voting for supporters of the mother of all Ponzi schemes — a Trojan horse single-payer healthcare system, delivered on the improbable slats of efficient government oversight, onerous penalties for noncompliance, and, as far as I can tell, more taxes on the rich and tanning salons. Thank you, public education.

Victims of micro-level Ponzi schemes are only greedy; they don't infringe upon others' freedom. The same can't be said of those who demand that we all participate in these macro-level Ponzi schemes.
 4) In the WSJ, Lee Lawrence takes a look at the Rubin Museum of Art's exhibition, Visions of the Cosmos, running through May 10 in NYC.

5) The Scholar's Life, at Laudator Temporis Acti.

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