Alain de Botton’s lecture: How Romanticism Ruined Love (and an antidote from Ancient Greece)

That’s partly my title, anyway. I thoroughly enjoyed this very insightful and humorous lecture (72 minutes). Excellent. The summary posted at the YouTube video:

Twenty-first century depictions of love and marriage are shaped by a set of Romantic myths and misconceptions and with his trademark warmth and wit, Alain de Botton explores the complex landscape of a modern relationship, presenting a realistic case study for marriage and examining what it might mean to love, to be loved – and to stay in love.

If you want to listen to the lecture, as I did, e.g, in the car, convert the video at a site such as SaveTube.

See also:

How Romanticism Ruined Love, and corresponding video, which is a five-minute summary of the above lecture.

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Is Administrative Law Unlawful?

is-administrative-law-unlawful-coverWith president-elect Trump selecting people to head executive branch agencies that both make and enforce administrative law, it’s time to ask: Is such “law” really lawful? The Cato Institute hosted an event with author Philip Hamburger to address this question:

When law in America can be made by executive “pen and phone” alone — indeed, by a White House press release — we’re faced starkly with a fundamental constitutional question: Is administrative law unlawful? Answering in the affirmative in this far-reaching, erudite new treatise, Philip Hamburger traces resistance to rule by administrative edict from the Middle Ages to the present. Far from a novel response to modern society and its complexities, executive prerogative has deep roots. It was beaten back by English constitutional ideas in the 17th century and even more decisively by American constitutions in the 18th century, but it reemerged during the Progressive Era and has grown ever since, regardless of the party in power.

Listen to professor Hamburger discuss his book: Is Administrative Law Unlawful?

See also a series of essays: Questioning Administrative State, at Cato Unbound.

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Why we’re less wealthy than we should: Foolish government policies.

Veronique de Rugy explains how foolish government policies make us poorer and make recessions worse: Making the Most of the Next Recession.

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In defense of the passive voice, argued by Harvard linquist Steven Pinker

If you’re interested in improving the quality of your writing, watch or listen to this lecture by Steven Pinker based on his book The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century. Or check out his recent articles in The Guardian, and other publications, such as Passive Resistance – The active voice isn’t always the best choice in The Atlantic.

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What FDR knew about welfare: “Continued dependence upon relief … a subtle destroyer of the human spirit”

In the Wall Street Journal, Independent Institute research fellow James L. Payne writes that FDR understood that welfare recipients need to be productive and build skills and a work ethic. Payne writes:

Franklin D. Roosevelt was clear as well. “Continued dependence upon relief,” he said in 1935, “induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.” Yet government programs, being shallow and impersonal, tend to drift into handouts. They are like the superficial giver who drops a dollar into the beggar’s cup and walks on, feeling self-satisfied.

Source: What FDR Knew About Welfare (WSJ site). Full text here if WSJ link does not display it.

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Administrative Law as the King’s Prerogative

Donald Boudreaux writes:

… from page 26 of Philip Hamburger’s learned, timely, and important 2014 book, Is Administrative Law Unlawful? (footnote deleted):

The relevance of absolute power for administrative law became more clear when one realizes that Anglo-American law has a history of an extra- and supralegal power in what what known as the “prerogative.”  This was the name of the power claimed by the English kings, and it corresponds to the administrative power claimed by the president or under his authority.

U.S. presidents today, with the complicity of the courts and through the cowardice of Congress, routinely issue diktats of the sort that rightly stoked the anger and fear of the great Anglo-American constitutionalists such as Sir Edward Coke and the framers of the U.S. Constitution.

Source: Quotation of the Day… – Cafe Hayek

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Does Helicopter Parenting Turn Kids into Depressed College Students?

When kids don’t get a chance to play on their own, they grow fearful and depressed because only during playtime do they get to be the adults—to learn how to make decisions, deal with consequences, solve problems and really be a person instead of a precious possession or pet.

Source: Does Helicopter Parenting Turn Kids into Depressed College Students? – Hit & Run : Reason.com

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