by Chris Bertram on February 21, 2004

Yesterday, a colleague pointed out to me the following passage in the late Jean Hampton’s “Political Philosophy”: . Professor Hampton, who died in 1996, must have thought it inconceivable that a certain person would achieve high political office:

bq. Now while it is undeniable that some people are smarter or more virtuous or stronger than other people, these differences by themselves do not seem relevant to establishing political domination. Think, for example, of all the ways in which people are different from one another, physically, mentally and temperamentally. If someone has greater muscle strength than another, does that mean that he gets to rule the other? No: Arnold Schwarzenegger is not considered, by virtue of his physical prowess, a political authority. (p. 19)

A year of blogging

by Micah on February 21, 2004

So I started blogging a year ago today. At first, it took me awhile to get a template together at my old “blog” Then, after a couple days of toying around with links to other blogs, I recall receiving an email from a current member of this blog saying: “I’ve seen you show up in my referrer logs a couple of times now. Time for you to get blogging I’d say!” Well, he’d probably say the same thing today, but, at the time, it was great to have some encouragement. I don’t know about others, but my first ventures out into the blogosphere were certainly apprehensive. Did I really want to be putting my name on this half-baked stuff? Is anyone really going to read this? (Welcome to “Sitemeter”: Then there was: note to self, this is rather addictive; and, from whence the pressure to post everyday?

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Changing Sexual Relations at Harvard

by Jon Mandle on February 21, 2004

Harvey Mansfield, class of 1953 and Professor of Government at Harvard, reflects [pdf – scroll down] on changes to sexual relations since the time he was an undergraduate. He finds

Much improvement since my day. Undergraduate men and women see one another every day; they study together and eat together. Everyone now gets to meet many more people of the opposite sex. In these meetings there is less pressure, less artificiality. You can be yourself. I remember weekend dates brought into the dining hall to stand in line for dinner, running a gauntlet of leering envy or contempt.

But on the other hand: “What is not so good is the loss of romance. Less formality means less romance – less courting, less tension, less excitement…. There is more consummation and less yearning.”

I rather doubt this is right, but at least I think I understand his point. Soon he loses me, however:

Men are less spirited than they were in my day, when we lived in relative isolation from women. Men today are always in the presence of women, hence always in fear of making fools of themselves before women. College men have become premature husbands.

So much for the ability to “be yourself” of the previous paragraph – now men are “always in fear of making fools of themselves”. But “less spirited”? “premature husbands”? I really have no idea what he is trying to get at. But he needs something to balance the manifest increase in social justice of allowing women to control their own sexuality.

In his final sentence, he gets to his point, as the loss of “spirit” is transformed into the loss of “love” and “happiness”:

Altogether, in comparison with the time of my youth, I think I see more equality now and less love and spirit; or more justice and less happiness.

Somehow, I don’t think he has in mind the women “brought in” to run “the gauntlet of leering envy or contempt.” How spirited and romantic it all must have been!