Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Insulation

I'm a big fan of the Slate editor Dahlia Lithwick; I find all of her articles to be edifying and well-written. I particularly enjoyed yesterday's, partly because it includes a quote from The Simpsons.

The substance of the article was also highlighted for me, as I am still reading the excellent Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Ms. Lithwick points to the absurdity and danger of isolating the governors from the governed, excluding dissenting views. Removing dissenters from the room doesn't eliminate dissent. In fact it may increase it. This is a remarkable contrast to Dr. Goodwin's depiction of Abraham Lincoln. She presents him as a leader confident enough to bring dissent into his closest circle of advisers. Additionally, she repeatedly makes the point that the proper role of a national leader is not to follow public opinion, or ignore it, but to help shape it through well-reasoned ideas. If the president feels a policy is correct, let him stand forward and make his case. Perhaps reading this article and this book at the same time made the difference particularly notable to me.

In the book I am well into the Civil War. Please, no spoilers in the comments - I want to see how it ends for myself.

In news of more immediate but no less significant note, a happy birthday to Sarah yesterday. There was homemade ice cream cake from sister-in-law OtherSarah, and it was awesome.

1 comment:

ssh, don't tell said...

SPOILER ALERT: Everyone lives happily ever after.

Really, though, Dahlia Lithwick is a great columnist. Her Supreme Court Dispatches help make that most secretive institution feel infintely more accessible. My favorite was the column dating from that Pledge Of Allegiance case a few years ago, with the guy that represented himself - ballsy.

THE MIND IS NOT A VESSEL TO BE FILLED BUT A FIRE TO BE KINDLED