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The Long View

‘Buy American,’ the Founding Fathers said

The Long View

The current uproar over the uniforms for the United States’ Olympic team being made in China should not have surprised Americans. Last Christmas season, I went shopping for a present for my wife, and discovered that in Brooks Brothers’ Manhattan flagship there were no women’s clothes that had not been made in China.

Rereadings: Bacon’s ‘New Atlantis, an eden for scientists

Sir Francis Bacon was known as a moral philosopher, a description that earlier in my life was enough to frighten me into not reading him. I later became acquainted with him because of the manner of his death, from a chill brought on by his attempt to investigate the preserving qualities of ice on a freshly killed chicken, an incident I recounted in a book about the cold. He died in 1626 and “New Atlantis” was published the following year. Even shorter than Machiavelli’s “The Prince,” it too has had a decided effect on the world.

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Rereadings: Sir Francis Bacon’s ‘New Atlantis,’ an eden for scientists

The Long View

Sir Francis Bacon was known as a moral philosopher, a description that earlier in my life was enough to frighten me into not reading him. I later became acquainted with him because of the manner of his death, from a chill brought on by his attempt to investigate the preserving qualities of ice on a freshly killed chicken, an incident I recounted in a book about the cold. He died in 1626 and “New Atlantis” was published the following year. Even shorter than Machiavelli’s “The Prince,” it too has had a decided effect on the world.

Rereadings: Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’ is not very idyllic

The Long View

Thomas More’s book, “Utopia,” is more referred to than read, these days. It is also misunderstood to be a depiction of an idyllic as well as an ideal society.

Reading “Utopia” is far from an easy exercise; originally composed in Latin, it is available only in a very old English translation that features cumbersome sentence structure and archaic vocabulary. But the book contains some wonderfully interesting ideas, and is well worth the trouble to read. As for that, I don’t know of a single book of quality that isn’t challenging.

Rereadings: Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’ is not very idyllic

The Long View

Thomas More’s book, “Utopia,” is more referred to than read, these days. It is also misunderstood to be a depiction of an idyllic as well as an ideal society.

Reading “Utopia” is far from an easy exercise; originally composed in Latin, it is available only in a very old English translation that features cumbersome sentence structure and archaic vocabulary. But the book contains some wonderfully interesting ideas, and is well worth the trouble to read. As for that, I don’t know of a single book of quality that isn’t challenging.

Rereading Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’

The Long View

Part 1

Youth is wasted on the young. Really? That’s one of those myths — “If you build it they will come” is another — that wormed its way into our culture without our giving it enough thought.

Crying of ‘wolf’ and a horde of ‘locusts’

The Long View

Along about Nov. 23, the supercommittee of the U.S. Congress is going to fail to reach agreement on cutting $1.2 trillion from the federal budgets over the next 10 years. Pay no mind to rhetoric you have heard or read about cooperation and compromise. That was only an attempt to disguise that this committee was designed to fail.

The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street: mass movements?

The Long View

Are the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street mass movements? Eric Hoffer, the “longshoreman philosopher” of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, would have judged them so, because of what they are doing for their followers. On Dec.13, 1946, this never-schooled dockworker and former agricultural migrant worker, writing in his notebook, summed up his thinking about mass movements and their “true believers.” Asking himself what a mass movement does for its followers, he answered:

Evolution of a social Darwinist

The Long View

The zealous federal budget-cutters intent on slashing social programs are the latest social Darwinists, those who believe in economic and social “survival of the fittest” and think that toughness is the only route to a healthier society. Social Darwinists shout that if you can’t make it on your own, you should please die or get out of the way of those who can.

A social Darwinist evolves

The Long View

The zealous federal budget-cutters intent on slashing social programs are the latest social Darwinists, those who believe in economic and social survival of the fittest and think that toughness is the only route to a healthier society. Social Darwinists shout that if you can’t make it on your own, you should please die or get out of the way of those who can.