I'm at a loss -- if the Catholic Church was behind the Industrial Revolution, did England lead the way because of what were essentially copyright violations? I'm willing to accept that Catholicism played a large part in preparing people intellectually for great achievements -- repudiating the charge that it was a burden is important -- but the spread of literacy and the cultural implications of memorizing psalms as Weber describes is valid enough to consider. Brooks starts to head down the road of the argument that "the Catholics really did it, not the Protestants."
The Spectacle Blog
Since I excoriated David Brooks last week, I'm obligated to praise him when he gets it right this week. And he gets it right today. Here's a taste:
Ideas and culture drive civilizations. The Catholic Church nurtured one of the most impressive economic takeoffs in human history. Today, as Catholicism spreads inNow, Mr. Brooks, I'd like 2000 words reconciling this argument with Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.
Africaand , it's important to understand the beliefs that encourage people to work hard and grow rich. China
George Will has written a column with unusual passion and clarity (for him) today, a can't miss, "Our Fake Drilling Debate." I grant that Rush Limbaugh has been saying for years that environmentalist wackos were just old commies with a new cause, but for Will to say it in the Washington Post marks a real breakthrough.
The likelihood that the misbegotten McCain Amendment will become law rose considerably yesterday when the House voted to instruct its conference negotiators to accept it verbatim, according to a WaPo report today.
The problem with the so-called "anti-torture" amendment is that it is no such thing. As I've written before, US law already makes torture a felony and all the McCain amendment does is to make the law incomprehensible.
Once again, as in the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, we see John McCain adamantly supporting legislation that is constitutionally questionable. Yes, the Supremes upheld the McCain-Feingold law, but their decision didn't settle the First Amendment questions for me, not by a long shot. In this case, the impact will be far worse, endangering all our interrogators on the front lines.
Nancy Pelosi's office just sent out a press release commending the Jim Wallis-led protest against the "immoral Republican budget." First, I'd like to thank whoever added me to this list. I'm giddy. On to the release:
Has some very interesting numbers. The new poll samples just over 1000 Americans, with a margin of error of 3.1 percent.
The numbers are worrisome for Republicans. The generic 2006 Congressional election question has Democrats favored over Republicans by 48 to 40 percent. When you break that down into Bush's 2004 red and blue states, the reds break for the GOP by 46 to 43 percent, a tiny edge compared to 54 to 34 percent for the Democrats in blue states.
Zogby also finds low numbers for Bush: a 38 percent job approval rating. But that's not all. If Bush endorses a candidate, 40 percent of voters are less likely to vote for that candidate, compared to about 30 percent more likely. Zogby has those numbers for a variety of endorsers: Vice President Cheney: 26 percent more likely, 45 percent less likely; Hillary: 36 percent more likely, 39 percent less likely; Bill Clinton: 42 percent more likely, 36 percent less likely. The big one is John McCain: an endorsement from him would make 54 percent more likely to vote for his guy, and only 18 percent less likely.
Wlady/Lawrence: I don't doubt that Ahmadinejad means everything he says. We do need to take our enemies at their word when they say they want to kill us. But that's not why I raised the issue.
The issue is, why is he making this much of a row now? It has to be connected to something, probably external, that Iran is trying to do. The question is, what?
Now that Tookie Williams has been executed, there is great concern among anti-death penalty advocates over who is next in line. Turns out to be a 75-year-old blind diabetic -- who was convicted of ordering the shotgun killing of three unfriendly witnesses 25 years ago. The story in today's Sacramento Bee about him and others on deck bears a creepy resemblance to stories that handicap the chances of likely candidates to fill a vacancy on the high court and analyze the political calculations that are likely to influence the chief executive in reaching a final decision. We're all postmodern now, which isn't a bad way to avoid serious thinking about murder and retribution.
Jed: Today on NRO, R. James Woolsey wrote:
Words and beliefs have consequences, and totalitarians are often remarkably clear about what they will do once they have enough power. Many brushed aside Mein Kampf when it was first written but it turned out to be an excellent guide to the Nazis' behavior once they had the power to implement it.
The Iranians do make feints to ploy the West (remember arms for hostages?), but I don't think this is one of them.