A Curious Miscellany of Items Philosophical, Historical, and Literary

Manus haec inimica tyrannis.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Blood Cotton Affair

Down on the ol' plantation
Nearly two months ago, I listened to a CBC radio program as I cooked dinner. This program had on one of those “humorous” little items it regularly airs, to give the listener a brief chuckle and a sense of superiority over someone who has said or done something silly. In this case, it was a quote from an anonymous book review in the September 6, 2014 issue of The Economist magazine, pp. 86-87. It was cleverly titled "Blood Cotton". The book it reviewed was The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and American Capitalism, by Edward Baptist.

The quote, criticizing the author of a book on American slavery, was this:

“Mr. Baptist has not written an objective history of slavery. Almost all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites villains.”
Oh boy.

That was it. The radio host gave no commentary on the line. After all, it speaks for itself, no? The listener is supposed to be boggled at the appalling obtuseness of the reviewer. Of course the blacks were victims of slavery, and of course the whites were its villains! The reviewer has somehow managed to miss the moral point of the story of US slavery. A snicker and a shake of the listener’s head is supposed to ensue. The overall effect is presumably amplified by the leftish CBC audience’s hatred of the stuffy old Economist magazine, a reviled organ written by and for smartypants ruling-class types. “O brother, can a journalist truly be that stupid?” asks the listener. (Don’t answer.)

The whole effect is that pleasurable mixture of superiority and righteous indignation on behalf of unknown others that is the peculiar enjoyment of politically-correct middle class white folk, who are ever ready to feel much – and do little – on behalf of unknown others. It is the easy and undemanding new morality of the affluent, along with yoga and kale.

Now, I happen to be an Economist subscriber (just the sort of educated listener the CBC is actively trying to get rid of in favour of knuckle-dragging hockey fans). As such, I had actually read the review in question. I therefore knew that the CBC had done a hatchet job on it.

Unfortunately, the story was not only picked up by the CBC. The egregious quote had been making the rounds in other media sources too. The author of the original book himself has been getting quite a bit of mileage out of the review, appearing in several media outlets taking The Economist to task, conveniently deflecting attention away from the review’s core criticism, which if true, is that Baptist’s book — methodologically speaking — is simply shoddy history. This is the main point the reviewer was trying to make, and it is a criticism that hasn’t really been refuted, amidst all the moralistic cheap shots.

I don’t frankly know which is more saddening to me: the misguided moral outrage, or The Economist’s abject, groveling retraction of a review that to my mind raised valid questions of scholarship. Although the review was pulled from their main website, it can still be read here.

Now here is The Economist’s shameful retraction:

“In our review last week of ‘The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism’ by Edward Baptist, we said: ‘Mr Baptist has not written an objective history of slavery. Almost all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites villains.’ There has been widespread criticism of this, and rightly so. Slavery was an evil system, in which the great majority of victims were blacks, and the great majority of whites were willing participants and beneficiaries. We regret having published this and apologise for having done so.”
I was left confused as to what, precisely, they were apologizing for. The reviewer never denied that slavery was an evil system.  Nor did he deny that the majority of its victims were blacks. (To claim, as the retraction does, that the great majority of whites were willing participants and beneficiaries is debatable, but I'll leave that aside.) The reviewer's implied criticism was that there was little attempt made by the author to present any other than the standard caricatured narrative of slavery as a moral evil. Yes, slavery was evil. Tell me something I don't know. But it was also a complicated evil, and the author fails to bring out that complexity. That was what the reviewer's sentence was awkwardly trying to point out. I was very disappointed that The Economist threw its reviewer under the bus in the name of political correctness. I personally found the review to be interesting and thoughtful, and so I’d like to do it a little justice. I am glad for the reviewer's sake that at least The Economist does not name their contributors, as it would be a shame for his or her career to have been ruined by this needless debacle.

Aside from a lack of nuance, the reviewer has two main criticisms of Baptist’s book. I must make it clear that I have not personally read the book, and so I am not well-placed to verify whether these criticisms are valid or not. But as I said, I haven’t really seen a plausible refutation of them amid all the fuss, so I shall assume them valid for argument’s sake, as one must do with a review of any book one hasn't read yet.

The first criticism is that the book is mostly anecdotal and therefore lacking in objectivity. In this connection, here are the reviewer’s words:

“Mr Baptist cites the testimony of a few slaves to support his view that these rises in productivity were achieved by pickers being driven to work ever harder by a system of ‘calibrated pain’. The complication here was noted by Hugh Thomas in 1997 in his definitive history, ‘The Slave Trade’; an historian cannot know whether these few spokesmen adequately speak for all.”

Methodologically, a work of sound scholarship in history, as in other social sciences, ought not to rely too heavily on the self-reporting of a small sample of subjects. Anecdotes may suffice for an autobiography or memoir, but not for a work of history. That is not to say that anecdotes have no place in such works, to function as illustrations of a broader point. But that broader point should not – indeed cannot – be demonstrated by anecdotes. Now, if Baptist’s book is largely anecdotal, and if it presents itself as a history, and in any way a scholarly one, then this is a problem. I leave it to readers of the book to determine whether this is the case. However, it is what led the reviewer to question the book’s rigour, and it is also the point behind his criticism that the chosen heroes and villains may be as much of the author’s creation as they are of history’s. How many (white) heroes and (black) villains get left out in the cherry picking of sources? We know there must have been some, if only as a matter of the law of large numbers.

The second criticism comes in the form of a very interesting historical puzzle raised by the reviewer, which is this: After the first decade of the 19th century, importation of slaves from Africa to the US was abolished. Once the external source of slaves had dried up, slave owners were forced to rely on the domestic “stock”. Although slaves were always a valuable commodity, they became more so as time went on. How is this fact to be squared with Baptist’s thesis that the productivity of slave labour was increasing over the same period, and that this productivity increase was largely driven by the increasing meanness of slave owners? If slaves were becoming more valuable (and productive), how much economic sense does it make for owners to risk damaging their property by beating them? How much can productivity be increased by starving one’s producers? As the reviewer notes, “Slave owners surely had a vested interest in keeping their ‘hands’ ever fitter and stronger to pick more cotton. Some of the rise in productivity could have come from better treatment.” Note that he said “could have”. It is a puzzle that at least deserves to be honestly examined. And since it is also an economic puzzle, it is entirely appropriate that it be aired in a magazine called The Economist.

The reviewer’s alternative hypothesis regarding slave productivity doesn’t sit comfortably with the knowledge that US slavery was an evil institution. And I believe it was inherently evil, in that even were we to make the laughable assumption that all slave owners fed and pampered their slaves luxuriously, slavery would still be a moral stain. Thus, to consider the reviewer’s conjecture and explore the question she poses is not to justify slavery. She could be right, and slavery would still be wrong. So why the reluctance to consider and explore? This is one of the dangers of unthinking political correctness. If a supposedly scholarly book cannot be honestly reviewed according to the accepted standards of rigorous scholarship merely because it is about a certain topic, then woe to scholarship, and woe to us all.

I will end this post with the following point: In most sources, including the CBC, the controversial quote is characterized as ending the review in which it appears. This is not entirely true. As a matter of fact, the first part of the sentence is cut out, and one more sentence follows it, which if reprinted might do much to soften the impact of the whole. Even The Economist presented the butchered version of the quote in its own retraction of the piece. To set the record straight, here is the actual ending of the review (I have bolded parts that were removed from quoted versions):

Unlike Mr Thomas, Mr. Baptist has not written an objective history of slavery. Almost all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites villains. This is not history; it is advocacy.”


US slavery victimized many, black and white. As I have read more and more on the topic, I have come to believe that this was one of its greatest evils, the fact that it could damage or corrupt all who came into contact with it. White “victims” can be found who bravely opposed slavery and suffered dearly for their beliefs, as well as many white villains who kept, traded, and drove slaves. It seems both of these, along with slavery’s innumerable black victims, are easier to write about than the black “villains” who were implicated in it — a much less palatable topic of study. But they existed. We forget that, at the source of supply, for a long time it was blacks in Africa who sold their brethren to white slavers. Many overseers were themselves black, and although I can't say whether on the whole they were any less or more cruel than the white overseers, I suspect they were probably a mixed bag. And I leave it to the reader to consider such an interesting figure as Anthony Johnson of Virginia.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Teen Suffrage

This past Sunday afternoon I was listening to the CBC radio program Cross Country Checkup, hosted by Rex Murphy. For the benefit of non-Canadians, or for the majority of Canadians who couldn’t care less about the CBC, the program is a phone-in show airing once a week, where people nationwide are invited to call and voice their opinions — no matter how half-baked — on a selected topic. Usually the topic concerns some current event, but every fourth show or so it is hockey-related, for no apparent reason other than to curry favour with CBC’s elusive and much sought-after knuckledragger demographic.

It is the only phone-in show I have ever listened to, and even so, I sometimes have to turn it off, when the stupidity of the mob makes me cringe just too much. I typically avoid phone-in shows, for the main reason that they’re too democratic. The fact is, democracy is ugly and probably doesn’t work, and this is largely because of the people. Intelligence is not evenly distributed amongst a population. There is more stupidity in the world than its opposite, so without rigorous filtering by producers, a phone-in show will necessarily be a curiosity cabinet of folk stupidity. But I listen to Cross Country Checkup nevertheless, because as we live in a putative democracy, it is necessary to have some idea of what the mob is thinking, if only to be better able to defend oneself from it.

The relative rarity of non-stupidity among the general populace may partly explain why the host of the program, Rex Murphy, will so shamelessly suck up to, and abase himself before, any caller who presents himself as either a doctor, clergyman, or professor and who seems to have mastered the art of multisyllabic speech, or even better, speaks with a British accent, no matter how affected. These traits are for Mr. Murphy signs of education and therefore of non-stupidity This is, of course, a mistake, since the correlation between education and non-stupidity is weak at best. In any case, when such a caller comes forward, he is received by Mr. Murphy with utter deference and a linguistic fawning that I find highly amusing and literally nauseating at the same time.

(I should qualify the above remarks in two ways: First, to be the object of Mr. Murphy’s fawning deference, one should also usually be over 65 years of age, male, and white. Second, in order to burnish his dubious credentials as a “man of the people” he will occasionally — and inexplicably — fawn over a caller who is clearly “not up to it” intellectually, or who is lamentably hindered by non-whiteness, non-Englishness, non-agedness, or non-maleness. But I digress.)

To return to this past Sunday afternoon, the topic of the program was the recent Scottish referendum. It should be mentioned that Rex Murphy normally does his best to portray himself as a neutral who doesn’t take sides. By “does his best”, I mean he does it not terribly well. He has a tendency to subtly denigrate callers of an opposite view to his own, or else he gives them short shrift by cutting their time on the program short. At the same time, he will lavish time and attention with abandon on the like-minded. In any case, on this occasion he was clearly pro-Unionist. Fortunately, either through filtering or happenstance, the great majority of callers were pro-Union too. The program also seemed to attract more than its usual share of elderly white males of British descent.

One thing that seemed to outrage many of these callers was the decision to allow 16-year-olds to vote in the Scottish referendum. Naturally, this didn’t go over well with the over-65 callers, most of whom came off sounding much like what they probably were — unpleasant, crotchety, and plainly bigoted against the young. The two most common complaints about it were that (i) it unfairly favoured the “Yes” campaign, since younger voters were presumed to be more likely to vote that way, and (ii) 16-year-olds are too stupid/contrarian/rebellious/capricious/clueless to be trusted with the franchise. Let us consider these claims for a moment.

First, there was little empirical support for the claim that 16-year-olds tended to support independence. Many polls indicated the opposite. Of the available evidence, there was nothing that would decisively point one way or the other; depending on the source, it seemed to point in both directions, and hence, in no direction. In this effective absence of evidence, I would offer a counter-claim, one that also touches on the claim that teenage voters would be too contrarian or rebellious or whimsical. It is a claim I have put forward on this blog before: It is possible that 16-years-olds, insofar as they would bother to vote at all, are more likely to vote the way their parents vote, on the assumption that a greater proportion of their political knowledge is imparted to them by their parents. If this were the case, then the problem with allowing them to vote is not that they would do so rebelliously or capriciously, but rather that it would unfairly weight the vote in favour of whichever side has the support of parents of teenagers. If every teenager reliably voted as their parents did, then allowing teenagers to vote would effectively give each parent of a teenager one and a half votes instead of one (a half vote extra each to mother and to father, more if they have more than one teenager).

Second, I suspect that old people’s fear that the young will misuse their votes is, at bottom, the fear that the young will not vote the way that those old people want them to. This is effectively to privilege the views of the old, by assuming that whatever they vote for is the “proper use” of the vote, against which any deviation by the votes of the young is an improper use. Since the old folks who were most objectionable to the young voting also happened to be pro-Unionist, — hence the complaint that it favoured the “Yes” side — this “misuse of vote” argument in effect says that a vote for the “Yes” side is a misuse of one’s vote. This view has the unwelcome consequence that it implies almost half of all Scots somehow “misused” their vote in the referendum, which hardly makes such misuse a problem of voters’ age per se. If 16-year-olds misused their votes, they were in good company.

Third, on a related note, I would assert that old people are equally given to misuse their votes, if by “misuse” we mean something like “use for selfish or perverse ends rather than for the common good”. You see, statistics showed support for the “No” side to be higher amongst old folks, many of whom were afraid of what would happen to their pensions and other vested economic interests should  Scotland vote for independence. Younger people, lacking such vested interests, were less concerned about this. The motivation of the old, while eminently intelligible, is also selfish.

Fourth, there is a moral argument to be made that not only should the young have a say, but that their say should even be given extra weight, insofar as they are the ones who must live with the consequences of the outcome in the longer term. Old people, by definition nearing the end of their allotted time on earth, have less time in which to live with the outcome of the vote. Young people, having their entire lives ahead of them, have a lifetime in which they will live with the outcome. If humans were perfectly rational (which they aren’t), from which side would you expect a more considered use of the vote, with an eye to the long term? Not from the old, I suspect. After all, après moi, le déluge, as the saying goes.

Fifth, and perhaps most interesting, was a point made by a female caller to Cross Country Checkup. She was originally from Aberdeen, and her soft, calm accent reminded me of my great-grandfather’s and brought pleasing childhood memories flooding back. Although she didn’t give her age, she sounded not young. She was obviously well-educated, enough so that Rex Murphy was grudgingly obliged to treat her with the deference he normally reserves for the old men. In any case, her point was simply this: In Scots law, the age of legal capacity is 16, while in the rest of the UK it is 18. While one can argue whether 16 is too young an age for such responsibility, one can at least say that allowing 16-year-old Scots to vote in a referendum on their nation’s destiny is consistent with Scots law, which is really the law that ought to apply in such a case.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Eight Political Illusions

With apologies to Lord Rochester (“A Ramble in St. James’s Park”),

Much wine had passed, with grave discourse, /
Of who’s liberal, conservative, or even worse.

Liberals and conservatives accuse each other of many political sins, sins of which they are themselves guilty. In many cases, they also attribute to themselves the same political virtues as their opponents take credit for, while in reality, they are possessed by neither. Let us call these “symmetric political illusions” (“symmetric” because they are shared by liberals and conservatives alike, and “illusion” because they are wrong). I would like to look at some of these, after which I will also describe one asymmetric political illusion (“asymmetric” because liberals and conservatives hold entirely opposed beliefs, while again both are wrong).

This is purely an opinion piece. It makes no claim to any kind of empirical truth. Although I believe there is probably empirical evidence out there for the political illusions I describe, I am alternately too lazy and too busy to go out and hunt for it. So I present the following political illusions as hypotheses, while much welcoming your thoughts on them.

Illusion #1:
Liberals tend to view conservatives as stupid. Conservatives tend to view liberals as stupid. Reality: Both are equally stupid, each in their own particular ways. Ideology makes people stupid. Like a bad pair of glasses, it imposes blind spots, and constricts rather than widens one’s field of vision. Whether the flaw is in the left lens or the right, the ultimate effect is much the same.

Illusion #2:
Liberals tend to think they know more than conservatives about how the world really works. Conservatives tend to think they know more than liberals about how the world really works. Reality: I’d like to think conservatives might know slightly more, but that’s probably my own bias talking. I’m still enough of a philosopher to admit I’m not certain whether “reality has a conservative bias”. I do believe that conservatives are not as good as liberals at articulating what they know. We might also say that both sides are ignorant in their own ways.

Illusion #3:
Liberals tend to see conservatives as angry all the time. Conservatives tend to see liberals as angry all the time. Reality: Power tends to bring with it a feeling of self-satisfaction, so that whichever side happens to be out of power always tends to seem angry to those that are in power. Right now, in my city, since a conservative mayor took power liberals seem to be very angry, but a few years ago it was the reverse.

Illusion #4:
Liberals see the mainstream media as having a conservative bias. Conservatives see the mainstream media as having a liberal bias. Reality: Although there are certain media sources that are unabashedly liberal or conservative, in Canada at least, there is possibly a very slight liberal bias, but it is easily exaggerated. And it very much depends on what is meant by “mainstream” media. The CBC undoubtedly has a liberal bias, but they are not the whole of the mainstream media. Overall, the mainstream media is probably unbiased to a fault. The mainstream media purveys precious little real information at all; even biased information from that quarter would, frankly, be refreshing.

Illusion # 5:
Liberals tend to view conservative politicians as backed by powerful and moneyed interests. Conservatives tend to view liberal politicians as backed by powerful and moneyed interests. Reality: Both liberal and conservative politicians are backed by powerful and moneyed interests. A union is no less a powerful and moneyed interest than a corporation is, nor is it a jot less selfish. A union may sometimes act from better motives that extend beyond the particular interests of its membership. The same may be said of a corporation. And in both cases, the concentration of wealth and power has a pernicious and distorting effect on political institutions.

Illusion #6:
Liberals view themselves as champions of democracy and upholders of the will of the people, while viewing conservatives as elitist and anti-democratic. Conservatives view themselves as champions of democracy and upholders of the will of the people, while viewing liberals as elitist and anti-democratic. Reality: Both conservatives and liberals are champions of democracy and upholders of the will of the people ― at least until the people fail to vote the way they’re supposed to, at which time the people are to be denounced as vicious, benighted, and ill-informed, while democracy is to be denounced as a lamentable hindrance.

Illusion #7:
Liberals tend to see themselves as more virtuous and public-spirited than conservatives. Conservatives tend to see themselves as more virtuous and public-spirited than liberals. Reality: Neither is necessarily more virtuous or public-spirited than the other. Perhaps liberal virtue and public spirit tends to manifest itself in universalized claims to equality and social justice, while conservative claims to the same tend to be more particularized. For example, while a liberal might advocate for some broad notion of metaphysical, social, and economic equality, conservatives might circumscribe their quest for equality to something like “equality before the law” or “political equality”. While liberals might advocate for global or human rights both abroad and at home, conservatives tend to restrict their advocacy to legal or constitutional rights at home. Liberals tend to see their own moral advocacy as what plain morality requires, and to look at the more limited conservative moral advocacy as parochial, even selfish. Conservatives tend to look at the liberal approach as unfeasible, too broad and ill-defined, and even as meddling in the affairs of others, and may also look at the liberal approach as selfish, insofar as it involves pursuing one’s own goals using other people’s money. Here again, both points of view have merits worth considering. I suppose then, that this is not technically an illusion, for neither side is completely wrong. However, there is a remarkable failure to see the possibility of virtue in the other, so I’ll classify it as a political illusion anyway, taking the form of a kind of cognitive blindness.

CONCLUSION: Overall, there is no prima facie reason to presume that liberals are more stupid or intelligent, ignorant or knowledgeable, angry, media-controlling, virtuous, or public-spirited than conservatives. And overall, there is no prima facie reason to presume that conservatives are more stupid or intelligent, ignorant or knowledgeable, angry, media-controlling, virtuous, or public-spirited than liberals.

So far I have been concentrating on illusions that those at the ends of the political spectrum seem to hold with respect to their opposing counterparts. Each side attributes to the other the very same vices, and attributes to itself the very same virtues. But on closer examination, it seems that neither side has a monopoly on any of these virtues or vices.

An Asymmetric Illusion

Next, I’d like to introduce an illusion that each side has about itself, that has some pretty serious implications for each side's conduct. I will introduce this illusion by first discussing a particular issue on which liberals and conservatives typically have opposed stances.

Canada formally abolished the death penalty in 1976, by a narrow vote in Parliament. An interesting legislative history of the death penalty can be found on the Department of Justice’s website. What that website does not disclose is the fact that at the time, a solid majority of Canada’s population was not in favour of abolition. Thus, this may be one of those relatively rare instances in my lifetime in which the Canadian government has taken a more or less purely moral stand on something despite widespread public opposition. As a matter of fact, almost every poll ever taken from that time (and before) to the present has shown that a majority of Canadians support the death penalty, at least in principle.

Now, the death penalty is usually taken as one issue on which there is a pretty reliable ideological divide: generalizing, liberals are more likely to oppose the death penalty and conservatives are more likely to support it. To the extent that the death penalty debate tracks an ideological split in Canadian society, it would seem that more Canadians are conservative than liberal, by a considerable margin. Aside from the death penalty, I see this thesis borne out in other areas, including electoral politics.

Issue by issue, there are exceptions, of course: the legalization of pot and publicly-funded health care (although this latter has seen some erosion of support of late) have broad-based support and don’t tend so much to follow the left-right divide. But I would say that, on a majority of issues, and certainly on bread-and-butter economic issues, conservatives form a majority. Which brings us to Illusion #8.

Illusion #8:
Despite signs that conservatism, broadly speaking, and in one form or other, is a majority view in this country, I would contend that liberals (again, speaking broadly and in one form or another) tend to view themselves as forming a majority, while conservatives tend to view themselves as a minority, the exact reverse of what I believe is more likely the case. I don’t have a completely plausible explanation for this phenomenon. Perhaps more liberals live in cities than in rural areas, and since people generally hang out with their own kind, it’s easier for liberals to hang out with each other and form the belief that they are the majority, whereas conservatives are more spread out geographically, and perhaps feel more isolated? This would require empirical verification.

In any case, this strange cognitive illusion has some interesting consequences. On the liberal side, it results in a certain complacency, with liberals mistakenly tending to assume that their political view on a given issue is the consensus one. When reality rudely intervenes, they are shocked, surprised, and can only conclude that dark, secret forces are at work to thwart the will of the people. Or if they are brought to perceive that perhaps the people truly have spoken, then they conclude that said people must be vicious, benighted, or ill-informed puppets being manipulated by a few plutocrats.

For their part, conservatives are led by this illusion of minority status into a sort of siege mentality, believing that an ever-growing legion of decadents and evildoers is massing on the frontier, waiting for the opportunity to stage the coup that will bring some Marxist or atheistic despot to power. When they win political battles, as they do more often than not, they too are surprised, but they believe it to be an aberration in the overall tendency towards creeping liberalism. Thus they are neither contented nor gracious in victory. And because they see themselves as so utterly disadvantaged, I would contend that they are more likely than liberals to view underhanded means as justified in the political struggle.

On both sides, I would contend that Illusion #8 has a tendency to lead to a corrosive distrust of democracy. When the democratic game doesn’t go their way, liberals will tend to view it as a roulette wheel rigged by dark plutocratic interests. When conservatives in their turn seem to be on the losing end of the game, they tend to see democracy as a mental asylum run by the patients.

If we could dispel this illusion, then assuming my suspicion about the base rate of liberalism versus conservatism in Canadian society is correct, the benefits of the truth might be good to both sides. Liberals, with a correct view of their situation, might lose their infuriating tendency to speak on issues in the “royal we” where it is not necessarily warranted — “We all know that the death penalty is wrong”. This will only alienate the people who know no such thing. This is especially infuriating when framed in terms of the putative barbarism or moral or cognitive deficiency of those who do not “know” what “we” all know. Who knows, it might also have the effect of eliminating much of their complacency about their views and make them a more effective political force than they currently are in Canada.

Conservatives, with a correct view of their situation, might lose their unpleasant siege mentality and paranoia, which is a huge turnoff to many people who might otherwise be disposed to support many of their views. No longer viewing every political issue as a matter of existential gladiatorial combat in which they are outnumbered by their foes, they might devote more effort to explanation and persuasion, and less to attacking and denigrating.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Spectacled Avenger's Reading List, 2013

In keeping with a long-standing tradition in this blog, below is the list of books read by yours truly during the past year. As in other years, repeat entries are not mistakes, but rather represent books read more than once this year. Bolded entries denote books I particularly enjoyed.

Otherwise, I have little comment on the list, other than to note the obvious fact that so few of the books listed were written later than the 18th century. I suppose also noteworthy is the relatively concentrated nature of my reading this year (e.g. Pepys, Chandler, Bolingbroke).

*    *    *    *

ADAMS, John. Revolutionary Writings 1775-1783. New York: Library of America, 2011.

ADDISON, Joseph. The Freeholder. James Leheny (ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979.   

ADDISON, Joseph and Richard STEELE. The Spectator (Vol. IV). Edinburgh: J. and J. Ruthven, 1809.

BACON, Francis. The Elements of the Common Lawes of England. London: Assigns of J. More Esq., 1630 (facsimile, Amsterdam: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, 1969).

BARDACH, Eugene. A Practical Guide for Policy Analysis: The Eightfold Path to More Effective Problem Solving (4th edition). London: Sage Publications, 2012.

BECCARIA, Cesare. On Crimes and Punishments and Other Writings. Aaron Thomas and Jeremy Parzen (trans.). Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008.

BLACKSTONE, Sir William. Commentaries on the Laws of England (Vol. I). Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1765 (facsimile, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979).

BLAKE, Sara. Administrative Law in Canada (5th edition). Markham, ON: LexisNexis, 2011.

BOLINGBROKE, Henry St. John, Viscount. Political Writings. David Armitage (ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

BOLINGBROKE, Henry St. John, Viscount. A Collection of Political Tracts. London: T. Cadell, 1788.

BOLINGBROKE, Henry St. John, Viscount. Historical Writings. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1972.

BURKE, Edmund. Selected Works (Vol. I). Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999.

BURKE, Edmund. Selected Works (Vol. III). Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999.

BURNET, Gilbert. The History of My Own Times (Vol. I). London: A. Millar, 1753.

BUTLER, Joseph. Five Sermons Preached at the Rolls Chapel. Stephen L. Darwall (ed.). Indianapolis: Hackett, 1983.

[CHANDLER, Richard.] The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons (Vol. II). London: Richard Chandler, 1742.

[CHANDLER, Richard.] The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons (Vol. IV). London: Richard Chandler, 1742.

[CHANDLER, Richard.] The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons (Vol. V). London: Richard Chandler, 1742.

[CHANDLER, Richard.] The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons (Vol. VI). London: Richard Chandler, 1742.

CLARENDON, Edward Hyde, Earl of. The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England (Vol. II, Part I). Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1816.

CLARENDON, Edward Hyde, Earl of. The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England (Vol. II, Part II). Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1816.

CLARENDON, Edward Hyde, Earl of. A Brief View and Survey of the Dangerous and Pernicious Errors to Church and State, in Mr. Hobbes's Book, Entitled Leviathan. Oxford, 1676 (print-on-demand facsimile, EEBO Editions, 2013).

COWPER, William. Poems of William Cowper, of the Inner Temple, Esq. (Vol. II). London: J. Johnson, 1800.

CULVERWELL, Nathaniel. An Elegant and Learned Discourse of the Light of Nature. Robert A. Greene and Hugh MacCallum (eds.). Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1971.

DOLCE, Lodovico. Aretin: A Dialogue on Painting. W. Brown (trans.). London: P. Elmsley, 1770 (facsimile, Menston, UK: Scolar Press, 1970).

ELSTER, Jon. Solomonic Judgments: Studies in the Limitations of Rationality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

FIELDING, Henry. Jonathan Wild. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

FLETCHER, Andrew. Political Works. John Robertson (ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

FORTESCUE, Sir John. On the Laws and Governance of England. Shelley Lockwood (ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

FOX, Charles James. A History of the Early Part of the Reign of James the Second. London: W. Miller, 1808.

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