Monthly Archives: July 2013

We greet our new prince and future King as symbol of our hard-fought liberty

The future’s Georgian. But some people seem to have confused the nation’s celebrations at the birth of His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge with slavish adulation at the feet of royal power. Such claims make for good Twitter polemics, but little historical sense. The British are, after all, blessed with both an ancient monarchy and ancient liberties. The idea that our freedom requires an empty throne is foreign here. Continue reading

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Filed under Freedom, History

JK Rowling’s pseudonymous success is a triumph for democratic publishing

I don’t know why I’m bothering to write this. It’s not like Marc Sidwell is a pseudonym for JK Rowling. Few will have missed the recent overnight journey of Rowling’s pseudonymous crime book The Cuckoo’s Calling from bargain bin to the top of the bestseller lists once she was revealed as the author. Apparently not a cunningly timed publicity stunt but a genuine scoop, the story has been read by many as a fairytale gone wrong: a sign that only celebrity can succeed in the modern publishing world. Continue reading

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Filed under Economics, Freedom, Human nature, Publishing

The Greeks have something to teach us about the importance of being idle

BUSINESS and leisure seem like opposites. Ambition’s drive to succeed and achieve has little truck with the pleasures of idleness. With 135 graduates fighting for every opening at investment banks and fund managers, who can afford to be caught with their feet up? Yet leisure is essential, even for the driven. It’s a chance to stand back and train for your next engagement with the enemy. The ancient Greeks understood this, which is why they called leisure skhole – the origin of our English word school – meaning both time held back from the demands of work and a lecture or discussion. Continue reading

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Filed under Finance, Freedom, History, Human nature, Liberal education

Personal warmth is as important as intellectual steel

IT IS a curious truth of human discourse that the possession of powerful arguments is useless if your personal manner undercuts your own case. To the attentive ear, shrill, self-righteous or, worst of all, humourless voices condemn the speaker, and there is no court of appeal. Our instinct knows that, whatever lines of apparently ineluctable logic such a voice may weave before us, there is a crack in its argument somewhere, through which humanity has leaked out. Continue reading

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Filed under Freedom, Human nature