June 2010

Is Economics to Blame for the Financial Crisis?
By Gabriel Martinez on June 02, 2010

Readers might be interesed in a recent article by David Brooks from the New York Times on the financial crisis and the revival of economics as a humanist discipline.  But is he right about the relationship of economics and the crisis?

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Study, Travel and the Education of the Emotions
By Peter J. Colosi on June 02, 2010

Some years ago I was asked to write up a kind of philosophy of the relation between study and travel. I was reminded of it when reading Phil Hamilton’s post “Taking Students to Gettysburg” 3/30, when he said, “I find the more often I visit Gettysburg, the less I discuss strategies and tactics and the more I relate vignettes about particular officers and soldiers.” As a contribution to that discussion, I would like to share an edited segment of my write-up:

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Liberty Without Rest: a Review of Montesquieu and the Logic of Liberty
By Andy Bibby on June 03, 2010

Paul Rahe's latest book is a thoughtful, entertaining, and meticulously researched interpretation of Montesquieu’s 1748 masterpiece, Spirit of Laws (L'esprit des lois). This is not only a first rate piece of scholarship that will be useful to teachers, scholars and students of Montesquieu. It is also an inspired re-telling of a great story: the discovery and exploration of the British constitution by a French baron, whose writings would help shape the future of two continents.

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The Thin Red Line Connecting Climategate to the Research University
By John von Heyking on June 03, 2010

Peter Berkowitz of the Hoover Institution recently commented on the intellectual corruption of the modern research university and the role it played in climategate. According to Berkowitz, the modern research university, which has turned research specialization into a pathology, fails to teach students to think. 

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Why History of Thought?
By Gabriel Martinez on June 07, 2010

This Fall I must teach a History of Economic Thought course for the first time.  I’ll wager that the number of US graduate schools in which budding economists are exposed to, say, Smith, Mill, Marx, Marshall, or Keynes can be counted in one hand.  I went to one of those, but it would be fair to say that 4 graduate credits don't make me an expert.

So, as our department is committed to teaching this course, the question arises: what is the purpose of this class?  Here’s my answer.

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History and Children's Literature
By Anonymous on June 07, 2010

I first read Gone-AwayLake and its sequel, Return to Gone-Away by Elizabeth Enright when I was in sixth grade.  As a child, I loved Enright’s stories of two cousins who were also best friends.  As I grew older, I began to realize that her books were full of historical references—and the stories Elizabeth Enright was telling in these books took on a whole new meaning.

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The Types of Primary Texts
By Lee Trepanier on June 09, 2010

Primary texts were used for centuries in classrooms and tutorials; they must do something right!

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Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Equality
By Kathleen Arnn on June 09, 2010

April 13, 2010 was Thomas Jefferson's 267th birthday. As his gravestone reminds us, Jefferson wanted to be remembered as the father of the University of Virginia and the author of two works: the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom and the Declaration of Independence. Today we remember Jefferson first for the Declaration and its resounding proclamation that "all men are created equal."

But Thomas Jefferson is also the author of another statement, one that is much
less public:

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Despair Is Not an Option
By Anonymous on June 14, 2010

We live in an age of the sad degradation of education and public debate—in our schools, and in those media tragically or maliciously influenced by an intellectual class that simultaneously enjoys the benefits of liberty and the right to dissent, even while it seeks to discredit and cheapen the very institutions, sacrifices, risk, effort, and values that make its own freedom possible.  We and our children, on the whole, are educated, entertained, and informed by individuals who have shut their eyes and hearts to the unspeakable failures of illiberal and centrally planned societies, seeing only symbols where they should see suffering and feeling only unearned and sanctimonious self-righteousness where they should feel shame.

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The World Cup and Economics
By Gabriel Martinez on June 14, 2010

Western Civilization, clearly, depends on football.  By which I mean what Americans call soccer.  Passion, beauty, drive, calculation, technical prowess and the unpredictability of humanity come together in a field where eleven face another eleven, brothers and rivals for an hour and a half.  Somehow, this sport catches the heart and the mind of billions across the globe, played by shoeless kids and by multimillionaires.

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