From The Wilson Quarterly, Daniel Akst on how competition seems to be hard-wired into humans, but is that such a bad thing?; Miles Hoffman on how competition can produce excellence, but there are many other factors at play; Benjamin Barber on how Americans are obsessed with competition, but they forget that cooperation and collective art are the foundation of freedom; and Tyler Cowen on how competitors can suddenly appear out of nowhere. As the world gets complicated, regulation finds some new fans from an unlikely quarter. Billions of economic decisions from entrepreneurs, consumers and investors are a force beyond the control of regulators.
A review of The Forging of Races: Race and Scripture in the Protestant Atlantic World, 1600-2000 by Colin Kidd. A review of Dred Scott and the Politics of Slavery, by Earl M. Maltz and Dred Scott and the Problem of Constitutional Evil by Mark A. Graber. A review of This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War by Drew Gilpin Faust (and more and more). A review of Defying Dixie: The Radical Roots of Civil Rights, 1919-1950 by Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore. More on A Matter of Justice: Eisenhower and the Beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. A review of South Carolina at the Brink: Robert McNair and the Politics of Civil Rights by Philip Grose. What if white history was excluded from society's consciousness except for a handful of days?
Gloria Steinem on how gender is probably the most restricting force in American life, whether the question is who must be in the kitchen or who could be in the White House (and a response). Angry White Man: James Kirchick on the bigoted past of Ron Paul (and selections). He's absurdly likeable, and a favorite of the faithful, but does Mike Huckabee have a prayer? Has Huckabee made irony the stalking horse for social conservatism? Evolution not '"just a theory", and yes, Huckabee, it does matter. Evolutionary politics: Why we should care what candidates think about biological evolution. Voting in the age of Dr. Phil: The presidential race isn't about issues; it's a search for the person who validates us. A review of books by the candidates. Here are proposed campaign slogans for the presidential candidates.
From Borderlands, a review of Post-Marxism Versus Cultural Studies: Theory, Politics and Intervention by Paul Bowman. From The Chronicle, twenty years ago, Russell Jacoby chided his peers for their academic insularity in The Last Intellectuals. Will the Humanities save us? Stanley Fish on how the humanities are of no use — and there’s nothing wrong with that. From Inside Higher Ed, God, fashion, affect: What’s hot and what’s not (theory?) at the book exhibits of the MLA; and the executive editor of MIT Press Roger Conover has been at his post for three decades; Scott McLemee checks in with a patriarch of academic publishing. A review of Aristotle, Emotions, and Education by Kristjan Kirstjansson. Larry Summers meets former student Peter Hopkins, and intellectual sparks fly.
From The Wilson Quarterly, how do our own pasts connect with our larger cultural heritage? Here are 12 ways to respond to that question. Ian Buruma on legislating history. Europe and identity: A review of Amartya Sen's Identity and Violence. From Foreign Policy, Europe’s philosophy of failure: In France and Germany, students are being forced to undergo a dangerous indoctrination: Taught that economic principles such as capitalism, free markets, and entrepreneurship are savage, unhealthy, and immoral, these children are raised on a diet of prejudice and bias; rooting it out may determine whether Europe’s economies prosper. From Sign and Sight, back to Rudi Dutschke's pram: Was 1968 a delayed offshoot of European totalitarianism or groundswell of liberalisation and democraticisation?
Jacob Weisberg on how McCain and Obama are alike. An article on how GOP doubts, fears "post-partisan" Obama, as even conservative media chorus sings Obama's praises. Andrew Sullivan on how Obama has emerged as a liberal Reagan who can reunite America. The Audacity of Mush: Barack Obama wants to move past the culture war — but perhaps not far enough. To some, Barack Obama's hopeful rhetoric seems saccharine and weak — tell that to the hordes of new voters who are flocking to him (but let's hope his sunny bipartisan talk is just rhetoric). Who's afraid for Obama? What the claims that a black man is unelectable say about the rest of us. There's something pathetic and embarrassing about our obsession with Barack Obama's race (which is an advantage in the 2008 race?).
From The American Interest, a review of Democracy’s Good Name: The Rise and Risks of the World’s Most Popular Form of Government by Michael Mandelbaum and Supercapitalism by Robert B. Reich. A review of Deirdre McCloskey's The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce. From Policy, an inquiry into the nature and causes of the happiness of nations: People’s actions tell us what makes them happy; an essay on how liberal capitalism delivers the satisfaction of personal achievement; and an article on why capitalism is good for the soul: Capitalism provides the conditions for creating worthwhile lives. Why life is good: A dangerous gap exists between our personal experience, which is mainly happy, and our view of a society in decline.
A tale of two mayors: Two would-be presidents are biding their time. A presidential run by New York mayor Mike Bloomberg would be a monument to egotism; even worse, it might prevent the nation from ridding itself of today’s destructive policies. Bloomberg's mistake: New York's mayor is touted as a "post-partisan" presidential candidate — but who are the real partisans here? Scratch Bloomberg's surface, find a Democrat. For the moment, Bloomberg’s flirtation with a third-party run is a plutocrat’s relatively harmless indulgence of ego and curiosity, but he may get serious. CNN's Lou Dobbs for President? He says no, sort of. Campaign Therapy: What the crazy, fringe candidates of election 2008 say about the rest of us.
From Azure, an article on Israel's electoral complex; and an essay on Zionism's new challenge. From Commentary, there are good grounds for hoping that the dangerous experiment revived at Annapolis will fail. From Reset, a special issue on the Annapolis summit. Mearsheimer and Walt on Israel's false friends. Yo, anyone who fears Iran: George Bush is heading off for a tour of the Middle East — he will not be greeted as a conquering hero. If George W. Bush added a tour of Israel's "security barrier" to his visit, he might understand how essential a political solution to terror is, rather than a military one. Of Braveheart and Bush: The Mideast is no aberration — just ask the Scots. A paper finds that the lack of IDF rapes of Palestinian women is designed to serve a political purpose.
A new issue of Catalyst is out. Intellectual’s survival guide: A review of Worst-Case Scenarios by Cass Sunstein. A review of The Choice of Hercules: Pleasure, Duty and the Good Life in the 21st Century by AC Grayling. If you were diagnosed with a terminal illness how would it affect the way you live those remaining days? The power of being influenced: Network theory reveals the best way to spread ideas. Putting space between beauty and politics: In searching for one's identity, discomfort can be an asset. Manners, courtesy, and world survival: If good manners are ultimately a socially sanctioned form of lying, where is the harm? At least those who practice them, doing their small part to ward off social mayhem, are in good company.