Monday, December 19, 2011

Rights of Man, Part II

Rights of Man, Part II
by Thomas Paine

Rights of Man presents an impassioned defense of the Enlightenment principles of freedom and equality that Thomas Paine believed would soon sweep the world. He boldly claimed, "From a small spark, kindled in America, a flame has arisen, not to be extinguished. Without consuming ... it winds its progress from nation to nation." Though many more sophisticated thinkers argued for the same principles and many people died in the attempt to realize them, no one was better able than Paine to articulate them in a way which fired the hopes and dreams of the common man and actually stirred him to revolutionary political action.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Vindication of the Rights of Woman

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects
by Mary Wollstonecraft

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects (1792), written by the 18th-century British feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, is one of the earliest works of feminist philosophy. In it, Wollstonecraft responds to those educational and political theorists of the 18th century who did not believe women should have an education. She argues that women ought to have an education commensurate with their position in society, claiming that women are essential to the nation because they educate its children and because they could be "companions" to their husbands, rather than mere wives. Instead of viewing women as ornaments to society or property to be traded in marriage, Wollstonecraft maintains that they are human beings deserving of the same fundamental rights as men.

Wollstonecraft was prompted to write the Rights of Woman after reading Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-PĂ©rigord's 1791 report to the French National Assembly, which stated that women should only receive a domestic education; she used her commentary on this specific event to launch a broad attack against sexual double standards and to indict men for encouraging women to indulge in excessive emotion. Wollstonecraft wrote the Rights of Woman hurriedly in order to respond directly to ongoing events; she intended to write a more thoughtful second volume but died before completing it.

While Wollstonecraft does call for equality between the sexes in particular areas of life, such as morality, she does not explicitly state that men and women are equal. Her ambiguous statements regarding the equality of the sexes have since made it difficult to classify Wollstonecraft as a modern feminist, particularly since the word and the concept were unavailable to her. Although it is commonly assumed now that the Rights of Woman was unfavourably received, this is a modern misconception based on the belief that Wollstonecraft was as reviled during her lifetime as she became after the publication of William Godwin's Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1798). The Rights of Woman was actually well-received when it was first published in 1792. One biographer has called it "perhaps the most original book of [Wollstonecraft's] century".

Architects of Ruin

Architects of Ruin: How Big Government Liberals Wrecked the Global Economy--and How They Will Do It Again If No One Stops Them
by Peter Schweizer

Was the financial collapse caused by free-market capitalism and deregulation run amok, as liberals claim?

Not on your life, says Peter Schweizer. In Architects of Ruin, Schweizer describes how a coalition of left-wing activists, liberal politicians, and "do-good capitalists" on Wall Street leveraged government power to achieve their goal of broadening homeownership among minorities and the poor. The results were not only devastating to the economy, but hurt the very people they were supposedly trying to help.

This tale of liberal "Robin Hood capitalism run wild" has never been told. But more than just a story about the past, Architects of Ruin is also an urgent warning about the future. The very same people who planted the seeds of the collapse are back in Washington, determined to use the crisis they caused as cover for a massive overhaul of the American economic system. These people have learned nothing from their past mistakes and are busy applying the same methods to other sectors of the economy—health care, the auto industry, real estate (again!), and above all the promotion of "green" technologies—inflating bubbles that are sure to bring about another crisis. Ordinary Americans who foot the bill for the last state-capitalist bubble have reason to be afraid—very afraid—of the inevitable result.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Vindication of the Rights of Men

"A Vindication of the Rights of Men"
by Mary Wollstonecraft

A Vindication of the Rights of Men, in a Letter to the Right Honourable Edmund Burke; Occasioned by His Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790) is a political pamphlet, written by the 18th-century British feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, which attacks aristocracy and advocates republicanism. Wollstonecraft's was the first response in a pamphlet war sparked by the publication of Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), a defence of constitutional monarchy, aristocracy, and the Church of England.

Wollstonecraft attacked not only hereditary privilege, but also the rhetoric that Burke used to defend it. Most of Burke's detractors deplored what they viewed as his theatrical pity for Marie Antoinette, but Wollstonecraft was unique in her love of Burke's gendered language. By saying the sublime and the beautiful, terms first established by Burke himself in A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1756), she kept his rhetoric as well as his argument. In her first abashedly feminist critique, which Wollstonecraft scholar Claudia Johnson describes as unsurpassed in its argumentative force Wollstonecraft indicts Burke's justification of an equal society founded on the passivity of women.

In her arguments for republican virtue, Wollstonecraft invokes an emerging middle-class ethos in opposition to what she views as the vice-ridden aristocratic code of manners. Driven by an Enlightenment belief in progress, she derides Burke for relying on tradition and custom. She describes an idyllic country life in which each family has a farm sufficient for its needs. Wollstonecraft contrasts her utopian picture of society, drawn with what she claims is genuine feeling, with Burke's false theatrical tableaux.

The Rights of Men was successful: it was reviewed by every major periodical of the day and the first edition sold out in three weeks. However, upon the publication of the second edition (the first to carry Wollstonecraft's name on the title page), the reviews began to evaluate the text not only as a political pamphlet but also as the work of a female writer. They contrasted Wollstonecraft's "passion" with Burke's "reason" and spoke condescendingly of the text and its female author. This analysis of the Rights of Men prevailed until the 1970s, when feminist scholars began to read Wollstonecraft's texts with more care and called attention to their intellectualism.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Reflections on the Revolution in France

Reflections on the Revolution in France
by Edmund Burke

Burke's seminal work was written during the early months of the French Revolution, and it predicted with uncanny accuracy many of its worst excesses, including the Reign of Terror. A scathing attack on the revolution's attitudes to existing institutions, property and religion, it makes a cogent case for upholding inherited rights and established customs, argues for piecemeal reform rather than revolutionary change - and deplores the influence Burke feared the revolution might have in Britain. "Reflections on the Revolution in France" is now widely regarded as a classic statement of conservative political thought, and is one of the eighteenth century's great works of political rhetoric.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Organizational Behavior

Organizational Behavior: Essentials
by Steven L. McShane and Mary Ann Von Glinow
Organizational Behavior [Essentials] 2e offers the same quality of contemporary knowledge, excellent readability, and classroom support that has made the hardback book by the same author team one of the best-selling OB books around the world - but in a smaller package. It applies four fundamental principles: linking theory with reality, organizational behavior for everyone, contemporary theory foundation, and active learning support. McShane and Von Glinow have sliced out the extended or secondary topics so students can drill down to what is really essential. Although this book is less than two-thirds the length of their comprehensive hardback textbook, it doesn’t skimp on classroom support. In this era of active learning, critical thinking, and outcomes-based teaching, these supplements are becoming more “essential” than ever.