"The state, which cannot protect crowds of dating couples and parents with children outside of Camden Yards, is not going to make eastern Ukraine safe for neoliberalism."
It would be absurd to claim that Christian civilization ever achieved a golden age of social harmony and sexual bliss. It is easy to find eras in Christian history when church authorities were obsessed with sexual purity. But as Rieff recognizes, Christianity did establish a way to harness the sexual instinct, embed it within a community, and direct it in positive ways.Rieff, a secularist, understood the point I have been making here. In my estimate, the old order is not coming back, because old orders never do come back. And there are reasons they fade: what was once living faith turns into dogma, what was once a natural unity turns into persecution of those who question it, and so on.
What makes our own era different from the past, says Rieff, is that we have ceased to believe in the Christian cultural framework, yet we have made it impossible to believe in any other that does what culture must do: restrain individual passions and channel them creatively toward communal purposes.
Rather, in the modern era, we have inverted the role of culture. Instead of teaching us what we must deprive ourselves of to be civilized, we have a society that tells us we find meaning and purpose in releasing ourselves from the old prohibitions.
Before heading into the book’s substance, I want to note that Cowen has truly mastered the art of writing a book for the “intelligent layperson.” When I sat down to start reading it, since it was "work reading," I told myself I’d read for an hour before turning to "pleasure reading." Four hours later I had not put the book down: his prose is that engaging.But on his blog he seems to want to deliberately write "in your face" badly. In a quick perusal of the main page today, I found:
def __init__(self, name):
self.ntype = self.__class__.__name__
if not Node.node_added:
# now search the class graph
# to see if the current class
# is there:
if self.ntype not in Node.class_graph:
for c in inspect.getmro(cls):
if c != cls:
if c.__name__ not in Node.class_graph:
# call until all upper classes are in
Napoleon could not repeat the battle of Waterloo a hundred times in the hope that, in a certain proportion of cases, the Prussians would arrive too late. His decision to fight on the field of Waterloo was what I call a crucial experiment, using the word crucial in this sense of a parting of the ways. Had he won, repetition would for a long time have been unnecessary; when he lost, repetition was impossible. (p. 3)I think I am going to like this book.
In the aftermath of the Pazzi Conspiracy and the punishment of Pope Sixtus IV’s supporters, the Medici and Florence suffered the wrath of the Vatican. The Papacy seized all the Medici assets Sixtus IV could find, ex-communicated Lorenzo and the entire government of Florence, and ultimately put the entire Florentine city-state under interdict. When these measures had little effect, Sixtus IV formed a military alliance with King Ferdinand I of Naples, whose son Alfonso, Duke of Calabria, led an invasion of the Florentine Republic still ruled by Lorenzo.Apparently, as he was undertaking the journey, Lorenzo said (I quote from memory), "Either by my life, or by my death, I hope to secure the safety of my people."
Lorenzo rallied the citizens of Florence, yet with little support from the traditional Medici allies in Bologna and Milan, the war dragged on – only diplomacy by Lorenzo ultimately resolved the crisis.
In 1479, Lorenzo took a bold step and traveled secretly with a small party to Naples, placing himself recklessly at the hands of King Ferdinand I. Lorenzo argued to the king that warfare between Italian powers would increase the likelihood of a French invasion. Fearing an impending attack, Ferdinand agreed to sign a peace treaty with Lorenzo.