Jonathan Haidt is everywhere these days, giving interviews and TED talks, promoting his working papers in the media, writing for the websites yourmorals.org and civilpolitics.org, and publishing The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion (New York: Pantheon Books, 2012). A moral psychologist by training, Haidt has successfully cleared the jump … Continue reading *The Righteous Mind* by Jonathan Haidt
David Brooks reviews Charles Murray’s new book, Coming Apart in today’s NYT. Brooks has high praise: “I’ll be shocked if there’s another book that so compelling describes the most important trends in American society.” Back in 1963, where the story begins: Roughly 98 percent of men between the ages of 30 and 49 were in … Continue reading David Brooks on Murray, Coming Apart
I recently came across this interesting, five-year-old interview with law professor William Ian Miller on "talionic" law in the Middle Ages, which specified literal "eye for an eye" justice. Talionic law developed in societies that lacked stable state institutions, like Iceland and early England. As such, it was embedded in strong extended-family institutions that used … Continue reading Eye for an Eye: Retribution or Restitution?
The Seattle Times, Slate, and other outlets have run interesting stories in the last couple of days discussing a new initiative that will appear on this November's ballot in San Francisco--and hold onto your privates, gentlemen: It would ban circumcision for all minors (under age 18), rendering it a misdemeanor punishable by up to one … Continue reading Liberty: the example of circumcision
Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk has been one of my favorite authors since I read Snow a few years ago. Snow is an atmospheric novel set in ethnically mixed eastern Turkey (the city of Kars). The novel paints a picture of a "frontier" city's characters, political and religious intrigues, dilapidated architecture, climate, and topography. While the … Continue reading Orhan Pamuk, Localist