I recall on first readingOedipus Rex how I and my classmates were outraged by the injustice of it all. Oedipus had tried all he could to avoid the awful fate foretold at his birth, and while he could be blamed for having violently reacted when he encountered a stranger at the place where three roads meet—a stranger he could not have known was his father—that hardly seemed adequate grounds for the suffering the gods inflicted upon him. His punishment seemed to us so unfair that it could only be explained by the relative primitivism of the ancient Greeks (who were to us obviously primitive because they were ancient).
Putting together my reading list for 2017. I usually don't stick to it, but I at least make an effort. Anything I should read? That I would enjoy, would learn from, that would challenge my views, etc.? Email me, comment below, tweet, or whatever.
I respect your opinion, so I was just wondering if you had read the article in the NYT on Tuesday, How Stable Are Democracies? ‘Warning Signs Are Flashing Red.’ I'd be curious to hear any thoughts you'd be willing to share. What is your level of concern on this issue, particularly for your country? Many of my U.S. liberal friends, who have been losing their minds since Trump's victory, think the country is on the road to dystopia, which is easily my least favorite Hope and Crosby movie. BTW, I just received my copy ofThe Permission Society, and I'm looking forward to reading it this weekend. Also, I watched your Cato book forum appearance online the other day and enjoyed it. Keep up the great work!
Thanks! I have read the article. I do have my worries about the future of American democracy, but this article, I think, is not a strong basis for concern, on its own. It reports on a poll that shows a lot of Americans answering that they do not consider it crucial that the U.S. remain a democracy. That may be worrisome, but I think there are other factors at work. For one thing, the word “democracy” is a loaded one—many people, including myself, prefer to use terms like constitutional republic to describe our system. Such people might answer a poll question like this in the negative, without meaning that they approve of military dictatorship or whathaveyou.