Baruch Spinoza

Where Do We Come From?
February 08, 2012

Democratic Enlightenment: Philosophy, Revolution, and Human Rights, 1750-1790 By Jonathan I. Israel (Oxford University Press, 1,066 pp., $45) I. There’s something about the Enlightenment. Today, few educated men and women spend much time debating whether Western civilization took a disastrously wrong turn in the High Middle Ages. They do not blame all manner of political ills on Romanticism, or insist that non-Western immigrants adopt Renaissance values. But the Enlightenment is different. It has been held responsible for everything from the American Constitution to the Holocaust.

Afghanistan Without Illusions
July 15, 2010

As readers of Entanglements know, a healthy debate has broken out over the question of whether the United States should be intervening around the world to “promote the cause of freedom.” Obviously, Afghanistan is uppermost in the writers’ minds, though Iraq, Iran, Kosovo, Burma, and Darfur have also been mentioned.