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Jan 3, 2006 10:07 am

More Noted Things

Daniel Mark Epstein,"Abraham Lincoln and Walt Whitman: War's Kindred Spirits," Civil War Times, February 2006. In difficult times, Lincoln and Whitman bid farewell to 1862.

Last year, David Brooks created an award for best essays of the year. Named for Sidney Hook, it was called"the Hookies." That seemed undignified, so he's renamed them"the Sidneys" and this year's winners are: David Samuels,"In a Ruined Country," Atlantic Monthly, September 2005, on Yasir Arafat; David Gelehrnter,"The Inventor of Modern Conservatism," The Weekly Standard, 7 February 2005, on Benjamin Disraeli; and Louis Menand,"Missionary," New Yorker, 8 August 2005, on Edmund Wilson. Thanks to Alfredo Perez at Political Theory Daily Review for the tip.

Kwame Anthony Appiah,"The Case for Contamination," NYT Magazine 1 January. Against cultural preservationists, Princeton's Appiah makes a forceful and sophisticated argument for cosmopolitanism and globalization.

Colin Nickerson,"A Vestige of Communism Stirs Passions in Germany," Boston Globe, 2 January. Some people in eastern German oppose the demolition of the GDR's capitol building in Berlin. The plan is to reconstruct on its site the old Prussian palace that the Communist regime had demolished. Which past do you memorialize? Thanks to Nathanael Robinson for the tip.

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Sheldon the Duke of Otsego and Warren - 7/9/2007

I wish to draw the author's and reader's attention to the fact that there is in fact a new American Aristocracy. For more information see the discussion group at

Nathanael D. Robinson - 1/4/2006

There is only one reason, not necessarily good, to restore the Hohenzollern palace: that it unifies Berlin's architectural history up to 1900. I don't think I ever met anyone who thought it was a good idea to restore it, or that Germany needed to.

Jonathan Dresner - 1/3/2006

One of the odd habits I've gotten into as a historian (though it derives from older habits I picked up, religiously) is the tendency to view all "traditions" as "relatively recent developments": when you teach the history of humanity every year, you (at least I) take a long view on things like social habits. All culture is syncretic, in the long view, and everything changes.

Somehow, Appiah's managed to turn this into a book....

I'm going to have to think a bit more about his view of economic and social circumstances as relatively open choices, ignoring, it seems to me, the function of opportunity and opportunity cost in creating his liberal humanists (which he calls "cosmopolitans; I think "liberal" here as I use it means both classical and modern liberals, in some sense), and also understates the critiques of globalization by those people who fall into Olivier Roy's "neofundamentalists."

Jonathan Dresner - 1/3/2006

Well, aristocracies usually had better architecture, but can't they think of anything better to do than move backwards?