It’s France’s fête nationale–Bastille Day–marking the storming of the Bastille Saint-Antoine. The crowd of revolutionaries were mostly looking for guns and ammunition held by the garrison of soldiers stationed there, but they also suspected that the prisoners were being tortured. (They weren’t.) Seven prisoners were freed that day: four forgers, two mentally-ill people, and one aristocrat.…
Touchstone Terms: The Accursed Share
This is a part of a series on terms and concepts that I find particularly resonant. We usually say that the fundamental rule of economics is scarcity: there are never enough widgets (food, housing, gadgets) to meet all the demand And even where we seem to be endowed with wealth, we still face opportunity costs for doing…
A Civic Liturgy
My friend David O’Hara writes on Facebook: On certain days of the year I return to readings of civic importance that suit that day. It’s a political parallel to the liturgical calendar, I suppose. So on Independence Day (July 4) I read the Declaration of Independence; on MLK Day (third Monday of January) I read…
The Frustration of Dialogue and Deliberation
Last year during the conference we received news that Great Britain had voted to leave the European Union: this year the conference began with a preconference on authoritarianism.