Wisdom of the Age

The Weekly Standard | Published on October 1, 2012

By James Bowman

Is there such a thing as a “Modern Proverb”? The editors of a Yale Dictionary of them try hard to find some but with less than brilliant success.

The SCOTUS’s Other Mistake

The New Criterion Blog | Published on June 29, 2012

By James Bowman

By striking down the Stolen Valor Act, the Court has denied the importance of honor in our national life.

The Dawn of Print

The Weekly Standard | Published on

By James Bowman

As we try to foresee the social and political changes now being wrought by the Internet, it is instructive to look at Andrew Pettegree's immensely learned account of the last comparable revolution in communications and information technology in the century which followed the invention of printing. Ironically, it is a book that could not have been written without the help of the Internet.

Believing Is Seeing

The Weekly Standard | Published on

By James Bowman

Mary Ann Glendon begins her chapter on Rousseau by recounting the story of Napoleon's visit to the grave of that worthy on the estate of the Marquis René Louis de Girardin at Ermenonville and saying, “It would have been better for the peace of France if this man had never lived.” When the marquis sensibly pointed out that, without the impetus given by Rousseau's writings to the French Revolution, Napoleon himself would not have existed, at least not as Napoleon, the first consul replied that only the future would tell if it would have been better if neither he nor Rousseau had ever lived.

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Cut and Dried

The New Criterion | Published on

By James Bowman

News is not news anymore—at least not in an unqualified way. Like so many other things, it now depends on which team you follow. On the day of the wedding in Westminster Abbey of Prince William and Kate Middleton, who were subsequently to be known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the home-town Guardian provided a toggle on its Home Page marked “Royalists Click Here.” Clicking would take you to the sort of extensive wedding coverage that all the other British papers featured, but it would also bring up a “Republicans [N.B. that's republicans with a lower-case "r"] Click Here” button that would take you to an alternative home page without anything on it to do with the Royal Wedding. It seemed to me to be an amusing bit of self-satire by this unashamedly left-wing paper, a public recognition that its readership was likely to be divided (as that of most other British papers would not have been to anything like the same extent) between those who fancied themselves offended by the royal hoopla and those who would have been equally offended by its absence.

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