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Darwin in the Louvre

From First Thoughts

Zbigniew Janowski reviews Denis Dutton’s The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution : The human artistic drive is as old as the species itself. The famous Lascaux cave paintings in France show that even at the earliest stages man had an urge for expression beyond utilitarian . . . . Continue Reading »

Should the Wages of Sin Be Taxed?

From First Thoughts

As the only two certainties in life, we shouldn’t be surprised to find that both death and taxes share a mutual connection: Sin. While death usually make for more interesting reading, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry has a thought-provoking discussion of “sin taxes” in his post ” . . . . Continue Reading »

The Return of Booker T. Washington

From First Thoughts

In our May issue, George McKenna reviews two new books that examine the complicated legacy of Booker T. Washington : What was Washington’s approach? Aimed mainly at blacks in the rural South (where the vast majority lived at the time), it was to teach them the skills to succeed economically, . . . . Continue Reading »

Obamism vs. The Obama Brand

From First Thoughts

Both Joseph and Paul wonder whether President’s Obama’s public approval is slipping. In these types of discussions I would argue that we need to make a distinction between approval for Obama—a wildly popular celebrity—and approval for Obamism—the President’s . . . . Continue Reading »

The Myth of Overpopulation

From First Thoughts

The Nordic philosopher and priest Anders Chydenius (1729-1803)—the “Adam Smith of the North”— once asked : Would the Great Master, who adorns the valley with flowers and covers the cliff itself with grass and mosses, exhibit such a great mistake in man, his masterpiece, that . . . . Continue Reading »

Great Society Conservatives

From First Thoughts

First there was National Greatness Conservatism . Now it appears we have Great Society Conservatism : In other pockets of the state, the reaction to Democratic proposals has been strong, too. At a recent town-hall meeting in suburban Simpsonville, a man stood up and told Rep. Robert Inglis (R-S.C.) . . . . Continue Reading »

Descartes in Diapers

From First Thoughts

A.C. Grayling reviews Alison Gopnik’s  The Philosophical Baby: What Children’s Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love and the Meaning of Life : In the days when Jean Piaget and Sigmund Freud dominated thinking about child development, small children were thought to be irrational, . . . . Continue Reading »

Law and Order and Libertarians

From First Thoughts

A number of my libertarian friends— John Schwenkler , Joshua Claybourn , et al.—who have weighed in on the arrest of Henry Louis Gates have taken the side of the Harvard professor. Although they are skeptical of the claims that race was the motivating factor (at least on the side of law . . . . Continue Reading »