Archive for November 2013

Airports are Non-Places

As I write this, Edward Snowden is moping his way through exile in the Moscow airport. He can’t leave because crossing through passport control would mean legally entering Russia, and a diplomatic fracas would ensue. So he sits, amid ...

The Significance of Manners

These people will also discover the seemingly insignificant conventions their predecessors have destroyed. Things like this: When it is proper for the young to be silent in front of their elders, when they should make way for them or stand ...

Dwindling Towns

Over at Urbanplains Magazine is this interesting piece on the disappearance of small, urban towns. It’s one of the catastrophes of our age.

Gettysburg at 150: Some Essays

Holland, MI My wife will be the first to point out that I’m not much of one for marking anniversaries, but it seems – to use Lincoln’s language – fitting and right to take note of the fact that today is the 150th anniversary of ...

Localist Roundup: Buy Your Own Town!

Earlier this week the first federal challenge of NSA surveillance opened. At this point in the proceedings, the main question seems to be whether any of the various challengers have standing to sue. With controversies such as the NSA survei...

First Lecture

On Monday, November 11, I delivered the first “First Lecture” to students at the University of Notre Dame.  This series – modeled on the idea of the “Last Lecture” – is intended to introduce a new member ...

What You Need to Know About Niccolò Machiavelli

Niccolò Machiavelli wrote The Prince while unemployed and in exile following the restoration of the Medici to Florentine rule in 1512. He dedicated it to Lorenzo de Medici, Duke of Urbino, proposing “to discuss the behavior of rulers and to...

Secret of the Marriage Bed

Penelope (to Telemachus): “If really he is Odysseus, truly home, beyond all doubt we two shall know each other better than you or anyone. There are secret signs we know, we two.” … Odysseus: “There is our pact and pledge, our secret sign, b...