Vices and Virtues of the Welfare State

by Henry Farrell on October 17, 2005

I see via “one of John H’s other incarnations”: that Mark Bauerlein is under the charming misconception that it’s a bad idea for aspiring sociologists to work on “the debilitating effects of the European welfare state” if they want to get their dissertations accepted. It’s always a good idea to, like, familiarize yourself with debates among “prominent sociologists”: and other “social scientists”: before making these grand pronouncements. But at least Bauerlein’s error gives me an excuse to link to this “work in progress”: by Margarita Estevez-Abe and Glyn Morgan, which argues against the European welfare state because of its institutional inflexibilities. Morgan and Estevez-Abe say, correctly, that certain European welfare states have some very dubious features, perpetuating gender inequality among other things. They argue instead for a normative standard based on a capacity for a wide-ranging individuality, which in turn requires a strong degree of _institutional flexibility_. That is, institutions should be able to accommodate a wide variety of lifestyle and career choices, rather than assuming, say, that women should confine themselves to the home and motherhood. [click to continue…]

Maybe It’s Because I’m A Londoner…

by Tom on October 17, 2005

Brian Leiter is on sabbatical and seems to be enjoying a stint in London, most of the time, anyway. Welcome to our city, Professor Leiter, I hope you have fun while you’re here.

Oh, and by the way, you’re right both about the belly-buttons and the buffoon, but try to have closer to the correct change in supermarkets, it’ll make your life so much easier.

Arben Fox on Abortion

by Harry on October 17, 2005

If you support a legal right to abortion, you should read Russell Arben Fox’s careful and nuanced argument against his fellow abortion-opponents who support the right to abortion. If you think there is no right to abortion, you also might want to read his argument. Here is the interesting post by Hugo Schwyzer to which he is responding; and here is a response to Russell from the excellent djw.

Ok, this was all discussed 3 weeks ago, but I am the slowest blog-watcher on the web. Comment there, not here.

Time’s Arrow

by Belle Waring on October 17, 2005

It’s good news that violence during the Iraqi constitutional referendum was less than during the previous election. Higher turnout among Sunni voters also seems good, except insofar as they seem to have decisively rejected the proposed constitution; I don’t know what that portends for future political unity. That said, Jim Henley made me laugh today:

Looks like the Iraqi Constitution is going to pass. Hopefully people will be able to read it soon too. After that the Iraqi Hamilton, Madison and Jay can write pithy essays about why people should (have) vote(d) for it. At the very end of the process the first colonist touches ground on the shores of Iraq.

It does seem a bit strange for people to be voting on something they have never seen. It’s late Wittgenstein voting! I’ll vote for your beetle if you vote for mine! Seriously, mine has awesome iridescent wings and stuff! No, you can’t look.

Top Public Intellectuals of 1905

by Chris Bertram on October 17, 2005

The FP/Prospect poll on top public intellectuals “has been published”: . Not much there that is worthy of comment. Nearly everyone on the list has made a contribution which is either totally ephemeral, or which will simply be absorbed into the body of human knowledge without leaving much trace of its originator. Ideas from Sen, Habermas or Chomsky will survive in some form, but nobody will read _them_ in 100 years. And the rest will be utterly forgotten — or so I predict. Anyway, without further ado, I invite comment on who were the top public intellectuals of 1905. You can comment on either (a) who would actually have topped such a silly poll in 1905 or (b) with hindsight, who turned out to be the top public intellectuals.

Just to get us started — and to cross reference “John’s post”: earlier — “Trotsky”: has to be a strong contender under both (a) and (b): Chairman of the St. Petersburg Soviet, a major contributor to subsequent events, and still very very readable (My Life, 1905). Over to you …

Overdue welcome

by Henry Farrell on October 17, 2005

Three new-ish academic blogs that are particularly worthy of attention.

Dan Solove has moved from Prawfsblog to “Concurring Opinions”:

Tony Arend in the Dept. of Government at Georgetown University now has an “international law blog”:

Spencer Overton, together with several other black law professors, has set up “”:

All recommended.

The Winter Palace, and after

by John Q on October 17, 2005

Now is as good a time as any to mark the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution of 1905. This upsurge of revolt against Czarism was the occasion of some of the most tragic and inspiring scenes in the revolutionary drama: the “Bloody Sunday” march to the Winter Palace, Trotsky’s leadership of the St. Petersburg Soviet and the Potemkin mutiny. The revolution seemed likely to prove successful when the government agreed to a parliamentary constitution (October 17 in the Julian calendar), but once the threat was over, the autocracy reasserted itself, and the Duma was reduced to a talking shop. Less than 10 years later, the Czarists took Russia into the Great War, leading directly to nearly two million deaths and indirectly to many more.

The lesson drawn by many was that peaceful reform was hopeless: this inevitably pushed the most determined revolutionaries, Lenin and the Bolsheviks to the fore, and for much of the 20th century, they appeared to many to have history on their side. After 100 years, however, it is as clear as any historical fact can be that Bolshevism (or, perhaps more accurately, Leninism) has been a complete and catastrophic failure.

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Looks like meat’s back on the menu, boys!

by Maria on October 17, 2005

Well, a fruitless trip into Hodges Figgis in Dublin this weekend yielded nothing more than the news that George R.R. Martin’s next installation to the Ice and Fire series is delayed by several more weeks. Two younger Farrells – Annaick and Eleanor – have been haunting the place asking when A Feast for Crows will finally arrive. Don’t feel too sorry for them, though. When George R.R.R. himself was in town a few months ago, the girls ended up going out for a very pleasant dinner with him and his missus.

Anyway, the email below arrived this morning:

We thought you would like to know that the following item has been sent to:

Maria Farrell

using International Mail.

Your order #026-7258405-0413217 (received 31-May-2005)
Ordered Title Price Dispatched Subtotal
1 A Feast for Crows (Song of Ic £14.09 1 £14.09

Subtotal: £13.29
Delivery Charge: £4.98
Total tax: £1.10
Total: £19.37

Which is a bit bloody cheeky of them as they’re now selling the book at a 40% discount to people who didn’t pre-order it!