Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Book Review

I'm presently reading Toqueville's Democracy in America, and I think this is quite possibly the most important work on politics ever written. When I say this I mean important to modern study, not important to the development of the polity. Obviously the circumstances of its authorship never occur without other important political luminaries laying the groundwork for 1776, but 1776 (and, for that matter, 1688 and 1215) has come and gone. I don't think it likely that humanity regresses toward the idea that some men were born to rule others, so the important question from 1776 to today is not whether or not men are created equal but whether government exists to bestow equal rights or equal results and what the causes and effects of these two types of government are.

In light of its importance, I'm seriously cosidering embarking on an extended review of it and my impression of its application today. I'd love for my reader (is there more than one of you) if you think this would be useful or interesting. I'll be reading the 2004 update of the Library of America edition but I linked a free translation above I may reference.

Monday, November 9, 2009

UN Human Rights

I missed this because I was traveling, but evidently the UN sent a "special rapporteur" to New York to investigate human rights abuses due to inadequate housing.

I can only assume that "inadequate housing" to the UN is substantially below the level of the average Somali, or the average citizen of a Favela outside the Rapporteur's hometown in Brazil.

Or are human rights violations due to inadequate housing only possible in the US?