Monday, March 05, 2012

Demanding the best

[Cato and the Kochs from Cafe Hayek by Don Boudreaux
Like many in the liberty movement, I’m disheartened by the current goings-on involving the Cato Institute, namely, the power struggle between, on one side, Cato’s co-founder and President Ed Crane, and on the other side Charles and David Koch…  What matters mostly – overwhelmingly – is the climate of opinion.  And so affecting the climate of opinion for the better seems to me to be, by far, the only long-term means of ensuring the stability of a free society… I have little doubt that Cato, since its founding in 1977 until today, has had as significant an effect as any thinktank can possibly have on the climate of ideas… There is, no doubt, some wiggle room within any culture and climate of ideas... 
In a healthy society, there must be action on many different fronts.  Although I have no taste for it, I applaud my pro-liberty friends who seek to affect political outcomes today.  But I plead with them to understand that their success at any point in time depends on how well or how poorly other people who are devoted to changing culture and ideas succeed in this longer-run effort.  It’s tempting to get excited about candiate Jones’s rhetoric or candidate Smith’s policy proposals.  But if the prevailing culture and climate of ideas will not support what Jones and Smith seek to achieve, Jones and Smith will fail even if they succeed in being elected to office. I applaud, loudly, the work that Cato has done during its 35-year history. And I sincerely hope that it will continue to operate under Ed Crane’s principled leadership to further this work.]

In the early years of what is today called the “European enlightenment”, the political philosopher Montesquie famously identified “virtue” – or respect for the law – as the widely shared spirit within a society that made democracy as a system of governance possible. Even if widely shared, virtue is a frail and delicate attribute, which needs to be securely enshrined in institutions that would be]

[A tale of two artists ARAVIND ADIGA Times of India - Mar 3, 2012
Dickens is such a master of rhythm, image, and sound that his sentences stay with you for years. To be Dickensian is to be minutely attentive to your craft, and this is why a film like Deewar - despite its emotional punch - does not merit the label. There is a silken perfection to Awara, and to much of Shree 420, and to the song sequences in Barsaat, that makes you want to watch them over and over, just as you want to read and re-read Great Expectations.]

The Mother was affecting the climate of opinion till 1973 with unheard of ideas. Her certitude still holds promise for the humanity drowned in cacophony at present. Demanding the best is not always a normal consumer preference, and therefore, persuasion and endorsement must continue vigorously. [TNM55]

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