More on Havel: Keane’s Biography, Žižek’s Review

John Keane imagined Havel’s funeral in 1999: Prague would double in size. As he lay in state in the old Castle of the Bohemian kings above the city, a queue some miles long would spring up. Mourners would wait all day, and all night, to see his body for the last time. The day of the funeral would be… Continue reading More on Havel: Keane’s Biography, Žižek’s Review

Václav Havel: To the Castle and Back

Peter Levine’s post on Havel’s 1992 speech in Poland reminded me that I had planned to do some writing about Havel before he died. The New York Times titled his obituary “A Melding of the Artist’s Politics and the Politician’s Art,” and yet it focuses only on his writing career and offers not a single observation… Continue reading Václav Havel: To the Castle and Back

Philosophy and Occupation

Today Dr. J encourages her readers to understand the Occupy Wall Street movement through the lens of Aristotle’s Metaphysics: The Occupy Movement is like our sense of sight. It’s not (instrumentally) valuable for what it allows us to see, but rather it’s (intrinsically) valuable in that it allows us to see. Like sight, it “brings to light many differences… Continue reading Philosophy and Occupation

Democracy Means Asking the Right Questions

Whenever I talk to students about democracy, I like to emphasize that the original term for democratic rule was isonomy. Consider the account Otanes gives in Herodotus’ History: “[T]he rule of the multitude [plêthos de archon] has… the loveliest name of all, equality [isonomiên]…. It determines offices by lot, and holds power accountable, and conducts all deliberating… Continue reading Democracy Means Asking the Right Questions

Unions versus Women

Literacy is one of the major factors in female empowerment: As female education rises, fertility, population growth, and infant and child mortality fall and family health improves. Increases in girls’ secondary school enrollment are associated with increases in women’s participation in the labor force and their contributions to household and national income. Women’s increased earning… Continue reading Unions versus Women