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Of Mice and Men

(05/13/98 9:00am)

There are essentially two schools of thought on how life is best lived. There are those who believe that the important thing in life is to have a steady, well-paying source of income, to have a nice home and family, to be liked by one's peers and neighbors and to live to old age in good health. In the eyes of such people, exertion too far above and beyond the ordinary seems not only unnecessary but even unseemly: why kill oneself striving to do something extraordinary when it takes so little to be above average? Far better, in the eyes of those who reason in this fashion, to take life easy and to enjoy all the moments of leisure that one can: eating, drinking, watching television, enjoying gossip, playing games -- these are the things that supposedly give meaning to life.

Inequality of Wealth is a Force for Good

(10/22/97 9:00am)

In a just world, there would be no inequalit-es of wealth and income, no winners and losers. No man would wallow in luxury while his neighbor lacked a roof over his head, and secure jobs at good wages would be available for all who wanted them. Oh what a wonderful world this would be! Or that at least is what quite a few people, such as Scott Brown, the Dean of the Tucker Foundation, would have us believe. ["The Growing Economic Class Divide," Oct. 20, The Dartmouth.]

Cash Rules

(10/01/97 9:00am)

It has been amusing to read the responses to Kenji Hosokawa's article on September 24, in which he was charitable enough to venture to the freshmen a few words of advice about how to manage their four years here. The response to his advice as far as I can tell has been uniformly negative, as if he broke some ancient taboo or defiled some sacred idol. As at least two different writers responding to Hosokawa's article have informed us by now, money isn't everything in life, or even the main thing. What's important is to sit back and enjoy one's college education and "expand" one's horizons.

Mann, the Magician

(02/27/97 11:00am)

It has recently been my opportunity to have undergone a truly sublime experience, an experience so fateful in its implications and so richly productive that I feel myself duty bound to communicate, or at least try to communicate, something of the flavor of this experience to my fellow students; I encountered the genius of Thomas Mann's fiction.

The Odyssey

(02/10/97 11:00am)

I am well aware that most readers of The Dartmouth are not accustomed to seeing philosophical musings in their favorite daily, and for this breach of custom I apologize profusely in advance. However, the issue I wish to discuss is an important one, perhaps the most important one of all, and so I think I can be forgiven my lapse in judgment this one time.

Ecce Homo

(10/28/96 11:00am)

It has recently come to my attention that some students at Dartmouth feel that my columns have not been of benefit to the public. While it is a policy of mine not to dignify bilious attacks by responding to them, I nevertheless feel that it is important that I deal with some misconceptions that seem to lie behind these recent outbursts of venom. Following Nietzsche's lead in his wonderful book, "Ecce Homo" (for the Latin challenged, this means "Behold the Man") I wish to lay out the philosophy behind all of my essays.

A Different Sort of Elitism

(10/21/96 9:00am)

The time is nigh for a new elitism. The elitism I speak of is not of the political or social variety, but an elitism of the mind. Just as with human beings, not all thoughts and ways of life are equal, though they should all be considered in a fair-minded fashion. So many people fill their lives with ugliness and triviality, and then they wonder why they can find no good cause for living.

The Lark Ascending

(04/26/96 9:00am)

The act of writing about intellectualism (and the lack of it in certain unmentionable places) naturally leads to a consideration of just what it is that fuels a person to whom the label "intellectual" applies. Why are some men more curious than the rest, more open to new insights, intellectually bolder? These are surely questions worthy of some consideration.

The Fire in the Mind

(04/19/96 9:00am)

I would like to start by describing what I like to call the Intellectual's Youthful Dream. What is this dream? It is that when he comes to college, he will at last find a community of like minded souls with whom he can share his interests, without fear of disfavor. It is the dream of a land of avid historians, free thinkers and poets, of budding classicists, of those striving to understand nothing less than the entire universe.

Why The Capital Gains Tax Must Go

(04/12/96 9:00am)

It should come as no surprise that behavior which usually brings nothing but misfortune isn't likely to be carried out often. A case in point is the issue of the savings rate in America. The average American saves on the order of 4 percent of his income, as opposed to 12 percent and 17 percent for his German and Japanese counterparts respectively. While it is fashionable to blame this disparity on all kinds of supposed shortcomings in American cultural life, there is a much more straightforward, though admittedly less exciting, culprit -- the punitive nature of the American Capital Gains Tax.

Standing Up For Injustice

(04/05/96 10:00am)

There are few phrases more abused today in the English language than the line in the constitution which goes "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal." These words, born of the desire to secure for the citizens of the new nation of America freedoms which had been lacking in the Old World, have today been pressed into the service of all those who would seek to subvert those freedoms.

Those Evil Capitalists!

(03/29/96 11:00am)

A disturbing trend of late in newspapers and magazines has been to bemoan the heartlessness and greed of company shareholders and CEOs. These rapacious elements are accused of exploiting and heartlessly firing thousands of workers, even as their profits spiral ever higher. Newsweek, for instance, had a magazine cover with the phrase "Corporate Killers" emblazoned on it, and the faces of some six very old, very white and very well remunerated white men juxtaposed with information on the vast numbers of workers they had fired. It seemed these avaricious old men and what they stood for were the very incarnation of evil.

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