links for 2009-06-20

  • "On March 4, 1929, Herbert Hoover took the oath of office as the thirty-first president of the United States. America, its new leader told the rain-soaked crowd of 50,0000 around the Capitol and countless more listening to the radio, was 'filled with millions of happy homes; blessed with comfort and opportunity.'

    He spoke in a monotone, but his words were oracular. 'We are steadily building a new race, a new civilization great in its own attainments,' he claimed. 'I have no fears for the future of the country. It is bright with hope.' One assertion more than any other articulated the theme of his inaugural address: 'In no nation ‘are the fruits of accomplishment more secure.'"

  • "In 1802 Georg W.F. Hegel wrote an impassioned treatise on faith and reason, articulating the major philosophical conflict of the day. Among European intellectual circles, the Enlightenment credo, which celebrated the "sovereignty of reason," had recently triumphed. From that standpoint, human intellect was a self-sufficient measure of the true, the just, and the good. The outlook's real target, of course, was religion, which the philosophes viewed as the last redoubt of delusion and superstition. Theological claims, they held, could only lead mankind astray. Once the last ramparts of unreason were breached — our mental Bastilles, as it were — sovereign reason would take command and, presumably, human perfection would not be long in coming."