Xenophon, The Cyropaedia: The Inauguraral Discussion

Anabasis_bigXenophon, a well-born Athenian, spent most of his political life in Sparta. He understood his duties as a citizen thus: in battle, he fought for Sparta against Athens; at least one of his sons fought for Athens and died in battle.

Xenophon lived from about 430 to 355 BCE, making him a contemporary of Plato. The Cyropaedia, or the Education of Cyrus, is his biography of Cyrus the Great, the founder of the first Persian (or Achaemenid) Empire. Machiavelli loved this work of theory, which was written in seven books.

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Creator of ‘Hope’ Poster Abandons Obama

oposterIn his 2012 Republican National Convention speech, Rep. Paul Ryan pointed out the stark difference between Obama’s campaign theme and his record. “College graduates should not have to live out their twenties in their childhood bedrooms,” Ryan said, “staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.”

Despite the truth of Ryan’s statement, the young, enthusiastic and arty stuck with their failed president and now have little to show for it. Today, even the creator of the famous Hope poster has abandoned his once-venerated leader.

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Baltimore: An Update

Well, since the events of Freddie Grey fame, Baltimore has developed a “new normal.” Police are essentially on half-strike — they don’t feel loved by the City (I cannot imagine why not), and they don’t want to risk doing anything that gets them in trouble. So the net result is that the Mayor’s own “crack” anti-crime unit has resigned, the Feds are moving in, and crime is going through the roof, since police don’t want to do much.

Please note that the police in Baltimore City have not, for at least a decade, been very good to start with. So we have moved from 20% to 10% or lower. They won’t make arrests or file crime reports if they can possibly help it. Bad for the stats.

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Obama Not Offended Enough by Anti-Semitism

obamarouhani_s640x427What to make of President Obama’s interpretation of the Iranian leadership? Challenged by The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg to account for the seeming inconsistency of relying on the rationality of a regime that holds a profoundly anti-Semitic worldview, the president denied that the “venomous anti-Semitism” (his words) of the mullahs is a barrier to rational decision making.

Well the fact that you are anti-Semitic, or racist, doesn’t preclude you from being interested in survival. It doesn’t preclude you from being rational about the need to keep your economy afloat; it doesn’t preclude you from making strategic decisions about how you stay in power; and so the fact that the supreme leader is anti-Semitic doesn’t mean that this overrides all of his other considerations. You know, if you look at the history of anti-Semitism, Jeff, there were a whole lot of European leaders—and there were deep strains of anti-Semitism in this country . . .

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Anatomy of a Rationalization

Matthew-Yglesias-and-his-technicolor-dreamcoat-540x297 copyNo one likes to be wrong. Admitting that your perception of reality was less than accurate requires a certain degree of moral fortitude. As such, it can be easier for a person of reasonable intelligence to rage against facts and evidence and avoid cognitive dissonance at any cost. Enter Matthew Yglesias.

As an executive editor of Vox, it is Matt’s job to make young liberals feel good about themselves by writing articles that reassure them of their moral superiority in all matters. That can be a challenge when the holy institutions of the left, such as unions, are refusing to play by the rules. The City of Los Angeles recently raised the minimum wage within their city limits to $15 an hour. With the holy grail of a living wage accomplished, there should be nothing but joy and celebration in the land of Care-a-lot. Alas, it isn’t so.

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Is the US Economy Immoral?

shutterstock_259200614When Democrat Jerry Brown ran a long shot presidential campaign back in 1992, he snarkily referred to Bill and Hillary Clinton as “Bonnie and Clyde,” the Depression-era bank robbers. Brown, now the governor of California, thought he had a legitimate chance to win the nomination. He wasn’t going to let some delicate notion of political etiquette stand in his way.

Don’t expect that kind of tough talk from Bernie Sanders, another longshot Democratic presidential candidate challenging a Clinton. During his announcement Tuesday, all the socialist Vermont senator had to say about Hillary Clinton was that his campaign “is not about Hillary Clinton.”

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What’s Obama’s Biggest Foreign Policy Mistake, and Why?

Sad-Obama1There’s no lack of options. Off the top my head, we have:

  1. The “Reset” with Russia, leading to the Ukraine crisis;
  2. Failing to stand up for the Green movement in Iran, followed by the hopelessly naive policy of negotiating with the regime;
  3. Blustering that Assad’s use of chemical weapons would cross a “red line,” followed by inaction;
  4. Prematurely withdrawing from Iraq, precipitating the rise of ISIS–and then barely responding to it .

That I can’t bring myself to include Libya and Afghanistan among the worst mistakes only emphasizes how bad things have been.

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The Libertarian Podcast: Understanding the Dormant Commerce Clause

In the latest installment of the Libertarian podcast, Professor Epstein is giving listeners a tutorial on the Dormant Commerce Clause — the controversial legal doctrine that was at stake in the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Comptroller of the Treasury of Maryland v. Wynne. What is it? Why was it able to so dramatically scramble judicial alliances in the Comptroller case (where the majority consisted of Alito, Roberts, Kennedy, Breyer, and Sotomayor)? And why does Justice Scalia regard it as a “judicial fraud”? Find the answers by listening in below or subscribing to the Libertarian podcast via iTunes or your favorite podcast app.

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Senate Timing, Temperament, and 2016 Odds

shutterstock_190129352I got to sit in on a roundtable talk with a Republican senator yesterday, during which said lawmaker expressed hope of getting tax reform moving in Congress. My thought: will timing and temperament make this possible?

As for the former (timing), we’re already midway through 2015. Next year is a reelection year for one-third of the U.S. Senate and the entire House. Does that make for more productivity or less — especially with something as prolonged as tax reform?

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Amidst An Epidemic of Bad Research, Man-made Climate Change Is ‘Settled Science’

Bill_Nye_the_Science_GuyThis was a banner week for the unquestioning apostles of Science!, specifically in the area of climate science—the one scientific discipline for which all questions have already been exhaustively answered.

First, there is flooding in Texas which everyone knows beyond all doubt is a result of man caused climate change. There is no other possible explanation. Just ask Bill Nye the Mediocre-Television-Comedian-With-A-Bachelors-In-Engineering Guy:

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The Unraveling

Day One: Woman Having Credit Card Declined

The grocery carts stopped moving, as all the customers listened in on the din from the front of the store. A young mother with three young children was furiously yelling at the check-out clerk. Apparently, the uproar occurred as the clerk would not allow the woman to take her groceries until her debit card was approved or another form of payment was provided. The young woman continued the commotion by shouting that there was money in her account and she needed the milk and food for her babies.

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A Billionaire’s Utopia or How to Run Away From Your Problems

Letting go of a dream:

18m4nob9ni1cijpgTHE SEASTEADING INSTITUTE was the toast of tech entrepreneurs when it received financial backing from venture capitalist Peter Thiel in 2008. Its mission was to build a manmade island nation where inventors could work free of heavy-handed government interference. One early rendering shows an island raised on concrete stilts in eerily calm waters. The buildings atop the platform resemble nothing so much as the swanky tech campus of an entrepreneur’s ultimate dream: No sign of land or civilization in sight. The island, despite appearing strapped for square footage, has room for a full-size swimming pool with deck lounges.

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What’s Your Conservative Issue?

We sometimes talk here about “conservative converts”: people who were once liberal and were in some way or other “mugged by reality” such that they ended up conservative. For others of us who were mostly raised in a conservative mold, I find that there is usually at least one important issue that we feel on a particularly deep and visceral level, which has been defining of us as conservatives since before we even really understood what the implications were.

For some people it’s taxes. Or the right to bear arms. For some, respect for the military is a core defining principle. Some are raised with a deep and abiding respect for rugged individualism, and a core belief in our right to decide for ourselves what we believe and how we wish to live. Some were shaped from a very early age by a horror for the injustice of abortion and a yearning for a culture of life.

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Q & A, hosted by Jay Nordlinger Episode 11: A Chic and Gutsy Woman from Iran

marina-nematJay has been working at the Oslo Freedom Forum, the annual human-rights conference in Norway. Among the many attendees is Marina Nemat: a onetime political prisoner in Iran, now a human-rights champion. As Jay explains, she was born in 1965 and was 13 when the Khomeinist revolution triumphed. She was sassy at school – wanting to learn such subjects as math rather than Khomeini-style theology – and was arrested at 16. She spent more than two years in Evin Prison, that dungeon, that nightmare of rape, torture, and murder.

Since the early 1990s, she has lived in Canada, and has written “Prisoner of Tehran” and “After Tehran: A Life Reclaimed.” She is an extraordinary and inspiring woman. Ms. Nemat and Jay have known each other for several years, and they talk over some of the key issues, personal, national, and international.

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No Pop in the Culture

antennaWhen I got into the television business in 1983 I pulled into the station parking lot every morning just as the sun began to cast long shadows of our tower across the black asphalt.

I was a broadcaster. Appealing to the largest possible audience was bred into me. Broadcasting with the emphasis on the broad.

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GLoP Culture with Goldberg, Long, and Podhoretz Episode 42: Where’s Wolf Boy?


Back by popular demand, Rob Long, Jonah Goldberg, and John Podhoretz reconvene for another GLoP romp through popular culture. This week: The trials and tribulations of Hillary Clinton, a mid-season look at Game of Thrones, and is Silicon Valley not only the best show on TV but also the most conservative? Also, the Duggars dig in, and Deep Blue Sea is the best shark movie you’ve never seen. You’re welcome.

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The Ricochet Travel Guide

ZionJay Nordlinger has an interesting Impromptus up at NRO today where he reveals the results of the following survey:

The other week, I had a journal from Istanbul. I said I had been wowed by the Topkapi Palace. And maybe a little less wowed by Hagia Sophia, by which the whole world is wowed. In a separate blogpost, I quoted an old colleague of mine, Christopher Caldwell. He once said, “The least overrated place in America is the Grand Canyon. The most overrated place is Yankee Stadium.” I then had a question for readers, a question in two parts: What places have you found “least overrated”? And what places have you found “most overrated”?

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Question Time!


Hello Ricochet Podcast listeners! As long time devotees of the podcast know, a couple of times a year we open the floor to you, our faithful listeners to ask questions directly to the hosts (two of which also happen to be Ricochet’s Founding Fathers). Anything and everything is on the table — politics, showbiz, pop culture, questions about Ricochet, even (if you must) pole vaulting. So leave your questions in the comments below and tune in on Thursday to hear the answers. We’ll get to as many questions as we can.

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Of Men and Mars and Maine — and Mainstream Media

20veeck_1A special thanks to the good folks at nationalpastime.com for unearthing this tidbit: on yesterday’s date in 1959, Chicago White Sox owner Bill Veeck arranged for four midgets, all dressed up as space aliens, to be helicoptered onto the playing field at Comiskey Park — the joke being that they’d arrived from another planet to help the ChiSox’s vertically-challenged double-play tandem of Nellie Fox and Luis Aparicio. Actually, the joke was on baseball that year: the “Go-Go Sox” made it to the World Series, air-raid sirens and all.

It’s the same Bill Veeck who gave baseball its first exploding scoreboard and fans a chance to manage a game — and, while running the Cleveland Indians, integrated the American League.

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