November 05, 2001
ONE OF THE MOST VIVID experiences of my time as a graduate student at Harvard was a seminar I took with the preeminent liberal political theorist John Rawls. The discussion centered on Rawls's later work, in which he divorced his liberalism from the claim of absolute truth. His argument was only cogent, he averred, if read and understood by people who already shared some basic premises--the need for consent, the reliance on reason, a tone of civility, a relatively open mind. With characteristic tactlessness, I asked him what his response would be if Hitler joined the debate and disagreed with
November 04, 2001
One of the most vivid experiences of my time as a graduate student at Harvard was a seminar I took with the preeminent liberal political theorist John Rawls. The discussion centered on Rawls's later work, in which he divorced his liberalism from the claim of absolute truth. His argument was only cogent, he averred, if read and understood by people who already shared some basic premises--the need for consent, the reliance on reason, a tone of civility, a relatively open mind.
Correspondence - October 8, 2001
October 08, 2001
Infinite justice To THE EDITORS: THE NEW REPUBLIC misreports my role in the Pan Am bombing case (Notebook, August 20). I agreed to analyze the court's decision, especially the eyewitness testimony cited by TNR for the British law firm of Needleman, Treon. I am not representing Libya or Muammar Qaddafi, and if the evidence after a full review shows that Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi was guilty, then he should be punished along with anyone who put him up to it, including Qaddafi. The problem is that several sources within intelligence agencies friendly to the United States believe it is likel
July 02, 2001
The young woman clutching a video cam appears in grave danger of having her eyes pecked out. She dodges and weaves and backs slowly away but cannot escape the advancing (and quite pointy) nose of Bill Cunningham, spokesman for Michael R. Bloomberg. It's June 6, and Bloomberg, the billionaire businessman turned New York mayoral candidate, is making his first official campaign appearance at an interminable awards breakfast on the Harlem campus of City College. The entire New York media is there to document the event.
June 18, 2001
Now that they control the Senate, some Democrats want to treat George W. Bush's judicial nominees as badly as Republicans treated Bill Clinton's. Senate Republicans repeatedly distorted the records of Clinton's nominees to the federal appellate courts, painting judicial moderates as judicial activists and denying them hearings. While Ronald Reagan and Clinton appointed similar numbers of appellate judges, 87 percent of Reagan's nominees were confirmed, compared with only 61 percent of Clinton's.
May 28, 2001
This week, after months of congressional wrangling, President Obama signed historic health care reform into law. For the last ten years, TNR’s resident health care expert Jonathan Cohn has been writing about the big structural problems in our health care system and what can be done to fix them. This week’s archive piece is a Cohn classic: a 2001 examination of why America’s best hospitals were suffering under the existing health care system.
The Importance of Being Earnest.
March 12, 2001
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: Poems and Other Writings edited by J.D. McClatchy (The Library of America, 854 pp., $35) With the publication of F.O. Matthiessen's hugely influential American Renaissance in 1941, the modern-day pantheon of nineteenth-century American writers was established: Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville, Whitman. The only other writer to be admitted into this select company has been Emily Dickinson, a recluse who published only seven poems in her own time and was virtually unknown.
January 15, 2001
American Feminism, Still vigorous in its latest run of thirty years, is also old enough to produce its own vexed family dynamics. In the political unconscious of the women's movement, the mothers, beset by anxieties about age and the fate of their boldest dreams, fret at their offspring's backsliding ways. And the young bridle at the old guard's faith that a politics devised thirty years ago retains its potency today.
January 15, 2001
My introduction to the media's view of the academy came as something of a shock. Almost five years ago, James Wood, reporting for The New Republic on a Harvard graduate student conference I participated in, cited a particularly unfortunate remark of mine, regarding "the iconography of the Tampax," as evidence of all that had gone wrong with literary studies. His article, of course, was but one of many attacks on the academy as it struggled through the final twitches of postmodernism.
June 14, 1999
Apart from Austin Powers, there can be few British institutions as groovy right now as The Economist. Der Spiegel has hailed its "legendary influence." Vanity Fair has written that "the positions The Economist takes change the minds that matter." In Britain, the Sunday Telegraph has declared that "it is widely regarded as the smartest, most influential weekly magazine in the world." In America, it is regularly fawned on as a font of journalistic reason.