28 April 2009
He who can call today his own:
He who, secure within, can say,
Tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today.
Be fair or foul or rain or shine
The joys I have possessed, in spite of fate, are mine.
Not Heaven itself upon the past has power,
But what has been, has been, and I have had my hour.
--John Dryden, "Happy the Man" (1685)
[Hat tip: Arthur Brooks]
23 April 2009
16 April 2009
15 April 2009
13 April 2009
Note: The text of the talk is not yet available, but it will be shortly.
07 April 2009
I have completed reading Theodore Dalrymple's latest excellent collection of essays, Not with a Bang But a Whimper: The Politics and Culture of Decline. Dalrymple is one of the greatest living essayists; I highly recommend his work.
Dorron Katzin recommends Marci A. Hamilton's Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect its Children.
One of my best students, who hails from Italy, recommends Roberto Saviano's Gomorrah: A Personal Journey into the Violent International Empire of Naples' Organized Crime System.
Several readers have recommended Amity Shlaes's The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression. I must add here my own recommendation of William Graham Sumner's excellent essay "The Forgotten Man," from which Shlaes gets her book's title. Sumner's essay is contained in On Liberty, Society, and Politics: The Essential Essays of William Graham Sumner.
I have received many more suggestions, too many to list; but I will give one more: Raymond Fisman and Edward Miguel's Economic Gangsters: Corruption, Violence, and the Poverty of Nations. With a title like that, it must be good!
As always, I welcome other suggestions. Send them to me at jimotteson (at) gmail (dot) com.
06 April 2009
02 April 2009
01 April 2009
The realm of intelligence operations is of course a zone to which the ethical rules that we might hope to govern private conduct as individuals in society cannot fully apply. Finding out other people’s secrets is going to involve breaking everyday moral rules. So public trust in the essential reasonableness of UK police, security and intelligence agency activity will continue to be essential. A significant challenge supporting the National Security Strategy will be how the intelligence community can access the full range of data relating to individuals, their movements, activities and associations in a timely, accurate, proportionate and legal way, and one acceptable in a democratic and free society, including appropriate oversight and means of independent investigation and redress in cases of alleged abuse of power.
See here for a recent summary of his work on seat-belt laws; see also his excellent book Risk; and, finally, see his website, "Risk in a Hypermobile World."