Leon Wieseltier

"Stay out of Syria!” screams the cover of The New York Review of Books. It would have been graphically cumbersome, I guess, or bad for newsstand sales, to have printed it this way: “Ignore the Murder of a Hundred Thousand People and the Massacre of Children and the Use of Chemical Weapons and the Bombing of a Civilian Population by Its Government and Millions of Displaced Persons Outside Syria and Millions of Displaced Persons Inside Syria and the Destabilization of Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan and the Aggression of Hezbollah and the Ascendancy of Iran!” 

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Idealism and Blindness

Of flaking paint and blemishes

Many years ago, as I was leafing through a book in which I had no interest, I found one of the saddest stories in the world. It was a new edition of a textbook on visual perception, the psychology and physiology of the eye, and there I discovered “the case of S.B.” S.B. was an Englishman who was blind from infancy to middle age, when, at the age of 52, he received a successful corneal transplant. “All his life he tried to picture the world of sight,” Richard L.

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"Perhaps Culture is Now the Counterculture"

A Defense of the Humanities

On May 19, New Republic literary editor Leon Wieseltier spoke at the commencement ceremony of Brandeis University, addressing the graduates as "fellow humanists." Here is a text of his talk.

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A reporter who visited the White House last week brought back the news that the criticism of President Obama’s immobility about the Syrian disaster has “begun to sting.” Good. Something got through. 

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Don't Move On

The Boston massacre and our emotional efficiency

Moving on is one of the quintessential expressions of the American spirit, and of the American shallowness. 

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Obama Crosses His Own Red Line

The president turns a blind eye to Syria's use of chemical weapons

Obama has a problem. On August 20, 2012, he declared that the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian dictator is his “red line.” It appears that in March a chemical weapon was used in Khan al-Asal in the province of Aleppo. The game is on. 

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Against the messianic conception of data—Big Data.

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MICHAEL IGNATIEFF: "For all the talk about futility and perversity in interventions, it is well to remember that not all of them have failed." 

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It has been two years since fifteen teenagers in the town of Dara’a scrawled “the people want the regime to fall” on the wall of a school. Two years. The Obama administration may as well not have existed.

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When Thomas Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos recently appeared, Steven Pinker took to Twitter and haughtily ruled that it was “the shoddy reasoning of a once-great thinker.” Fuck him, he explained.

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