Meanwhile, at Harvard . . . We note that a frequent and valued contributor to these pages, Harvey C. Mansfield, has weighed in on the controversy there over the renaming of the House Masters (overseers, if you can forgive that word, of the college's undergraduate residences). Mansfield offered some constructive suggestions in a letter to the editor of the Crimson, which we reprint here:
To the Editors of The Crimson:
To aid in the furious thinking going on in the administration for a name to replace "Master" of a House, I would like to propose a College competition to decide a suitable replacement.
To start things off, I will offer two possible new titles: "Marshmallow"
Stephen Greenblatt’s book on the influence of Lucretius is clever and curious—and notable for the ambition expressed in its title. Written as a scholar’s lecture but with a writer’s finesse in its many useful asides and pleasing digressions, his account of the Roman poet-Read more
The latest Conversation With Bill Kristol, featuring Harvard professor Harvey Mansfield:
"In this conversation, Mansfield explains why we should consider Machiavelli not only the founder of modern politics but also a founder of modern science and economics. What was the character of Machiavelli's critique of Christian morality? Why did he reject the political teaching of the ancient political philosophers like Plato and Aristotle? Harvey Mansfield addresses these and other questions in this provocative discussion of one of the most famous political thinkers of all time," writes the Foundation for Constitutional Government, the sponsor of the series.Read more
Two friends of mine, Walter Berns and Harry Jaffa, died on January 10. They had not been on friendly terms for many years, but death took them together. They were joined also by being leaders, with Herbert Storing, Martin Diamond, and Ralph Lerner, of a group of a dozen or so students of Leo Strauss (who died in 1973), the philosopher who revived philosophy and especially political philosophy from decline and irrelevance.Read more
The latest from Conversations With Bill Kristol, featuring Harvard professor Harvey Mansfield:Read more
Feminism is in control of America’s colleges and universities, where its principles at least are held as dogmas unquestioned and unopposed. Yet in what should be a paradise with those principles at work, women speak of a “rape culture” that sounds like the patriarchal hell we thought we’d left behind.Read more
Last week, a headline in the Harvard Crimson confirmed that Harvard is continuing its depressing slide from an elite educational institution to a really expensive way to boost the self-esteem of America’s overachieving youth: “Substantiating Fears of Grade Inflation, Dean Says Median Grade at Harvard College Is A-, Most Common Grade Is A.” The plain facts here are bad enough, but should you want further confirmation that today’s Harvard students aren’t nearly as smart as they think they are, The Scrapbook would refer you to the embarrassing editorial the student newspapeRead more
On board the ms Noordam sailing from Italy to Greece, with a break from both sightseeing and panels, it seemed advisable to me 1) to ignore the goings-on in Washington, and 2) to find time for an article I'd set aside to read, Harvey Mansfield's "Machiavelli's enterprise" in the October New Criterion. Mansfield uses the occasion of the 500th anniversary of The Prince to provide an explanation of the famous first paragraph of its fifteenth chapter. In doing so, Mansfield provides an extraordinarily compressed but accessible account of Machiavelli's significance as the founder of modern philosophy and of the modern world. It's my pick for best article of the year.Read more
Elsewhere in this issue you can read Harvey Mansfield’s elegant résumé of the Romney-Obama debate.Read more
Actually BS here stands for “benevolent sexism.” An article by two New Zealand psychologists has come my way that deserves to become a classic of social science. The title “Why are Benevolent Sexists Happier?” promised to warm my conservative heart, and it did—but not so much with approbation as with wonder at the whole enterprise of social science.Read more
James Q. Wilson, a longtime teacher in the government department at Harvard, and an all-time political scientist, has died. He was a Californian who went to college at the University of Redlands, got his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, and then came to Harvard. At the end of his career, he went back home, taught at UCLA and Pepperdine, and with his wife Roberta, made a dream home in Malibu.Read more
As his 80th birthday approaches, TWS contributor and friend (and my teacher) Harvey Mansfield is profiled in the Harvard Crimson. It's a perceptive and fair article, and provides further evidence for the hopeful view that today's students are surprisingly open-minded and intelligent despite—or because of—the fog of political correctness and intellectual vapidity that has descended on the faculties and administrations of our great universities.Read more
What with Arnold and DSK, male transgression is once again in the news. Let’s not equate the two cases—one is forgivable, the other, if the accusations are true, is not. Together with these male transgressions is the reaction to them, still more interesting. The reaction shows the power of morality to produce disgust and disgrace at the sight of these male weaknesses. Even though morality can’t prevent such excesses, it won’t let go of us.Read more
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