The Wilson Quarterly

Articles from Vol. 18, No. 3, Summer

A Doubter's Dictionary
John Ralston Saul, the Canadian novelist and essayist, would probably have felt more at home in the 18th century, a century he visited in Voltaire's Bastards (1992). But he would likely have steered the Enlightenment toward a somewhat different conclusion....
A Faithful Leninist
An examination of Stalin's career reveals that he did not seize power after Lenin's death [in 1924] but ascended to it, step by step, initially under Lenin's sponsorship. Lenin came to rely on Stalin in managing the party apparatus, especially after...
A Hobbesian World
In much of the globe, Michael Mandelbaum, a professor of foreign policy at Johns Hopkins' School of Advanced International Studies, writes in Foreign Policy (Summer 1994), life is becoming "nastier, more brutish, and shorter than [it was] before the...
A Kind Word for Congress
Poor Congress. It is branded cumbersome, meddling, incompetent, and everything in between. As if to compensate, critics often say that it is not the individuals who are at fault but the institution. Legislative government, they say, is a contradiction...
A Postmodernist John Dewey?
Richard Rorty is not exactly a household name. But his provocative philosophical and political views, expressed in several books and countless essays, have attracted unusual interest and controversy, both inside and outside the academy. Rorty, a professor...
A Whale of a Reputation
Despite the academy's "canon wars," Herman Melville's status as a great American writer seems secure. But this dead white male owes his position to more than just the undoubted virtues of his work, maintains Lauter, a professor of literature at Trinity...
By Theory Possessed
My father offered few words on the state of the world, but the few he volunteered were usually shrewd. I remember, in particular, what he used to say about college tuitions - "The more you pay, the less you seem to go." Alas, my father didn't know...
Civilizing Suburbia
A Survey of Recent Articles The 1990 census made it official: The United States has become a suburban nation. Nearly half of all Americans live in suburbs, only about one-third in cities. Yet some thinkers argue that terms such as bedroom community...
Creationism's Design Flaws
"Life's Grand Design" by Kenneth R. Mirer, in Technology Review (Feb. - Mar. 1994), Bldg. W59, MIT, Cambridge, Mass. 02139. Creationists today tout "intelligent-design theory" as an alternative to evolution. They contend that living organisms have...
Dark Days on the Net
The many virtues of Internet are being undermined by the system's sudden popularity and rapid democratization, staff writer Paul Wallich observes in Scientific American (March 1994). Someday the Internet may become an information superhighway, but...
Dueling over Gun Control
A Survey of Recent Articles After years of struggle between advocates and opponents of gun control, the Brady bill was signed into law by President Bill Clinton last December. Proponents, such as the editors of the New Yorker (Dec. 13, 1993), hailed...
Europe's Headless Liberalism
During the years between the world wars, it was hard for even the warmest advocates of European liberalism to imagine the whole of Western Europe living under stable liberal governments anytime soon. The future belonged to communism, fascism, socialism...
Farewell, Arcadia!
"Ecological Collapses of Ancient Civilizations: The Golden Age That Never Was" by Jared M. Diamond, in The Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (Feb. 1994), Norton's Woods, 136 Irving St., Cambridge, Mass. 02138. Environmentalists...
Generation X: A Myth in the Making
Much ink has been spilled about today's "Generation X," "twentysomethings," or--courtesy of Neil Howe and William Strauss, authors of ThirteenthGen.: Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail? (1993)--"thirteeners." (They claim that today's young people are "the 13th...
Hamilton's Legacy
After the revolutions of 1989 brought down communism in Eastern Europe, many of the political and intellectual leaders of guidance to the United States. Americans of all political suasions recommended the writings of such sages as Thomas Jefferson,...
Information Age Auto Da Fe
"Discards" by Nicholson Baker, in The New Yorker (Apr. 4,1994),20 W. 43rd St., New York, N.Y. 10036. Cheerfully, even gleefully, library administrators all over the United States are bidding adieu to their dusty old card catalogues and plugging...
In Search of the Cybermarket
The race is on to build the information superhighway. From "players" in business, government, and other realms comes promising talk of empowering individuals and launching a new age of digital democracy. From critics come warnings that the highway...
Ireland's Own
James Joyce, Sean O'Casey, Samuel Beckett, and a host of others made exile seem the normal condition for influential Irish writers and artists. In recent years, however, many of their successors - including novelist Roddy Doyle, poet Ciaran Carson,...
Language on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Shortages of all kinds contribute to Russia's turmoil today, but none is more damaging than the dearth of meaningful language. Anatoly Naiman here tells how decades of totalitarian rule have enfeebled language, making political discussion next to impossible...
Learning from the Net
The end is NII. That's the National information Infrastructure, of course, the amorphous web-to-be that has become an inkblot test of the national psyche. Some proponents dream of a 24-hour global symposium combining the best of Madame de Stael and...
Legislative Oversights
Congress, the supposed watchdog of the federal government, has acted more like the proverbial pussycat in recent years, asserts Segal, an editor at the Washington Monthly. Not only has it failed to stave off such catastrophes as the savings and loan...
Out of Control?
"The U.S. military is now more alienated from its civilian leadership than at any [other] time in American history," and civilian control over the military is becoming dangerously frayed. So contends Kohn, who was chief of Air Force history from 1981...
Payment Due
Ross Perot and many others who bemoan the mounting national debt and demand deficit cuts claim that today's Americans are unfairly shifting the fiscal burden to tomorrow's. The situation is even worse than these critics realize, according to economists...
Poetry: Katherine Hoskins
If I were still teaching graduate students in modern English and American poetry and had assigned to me an especially gifted student, widely conversant with the whole rich canon from, say, Chaucer right up to the last minute, a student who was enthusiastic,...
Populist Poppycock
Recent populist exhortations to rescue government from the special interests and give it back to the people have a fatal flaw, Jonathan Rauch, author of Demosclerosis (1994), observes in the New Republic (June 6, 1994). In America today, the special...
Religion and Family Planning
Padre Alberto Marquez Aquino's church, Maria Madre, is located in the sprawling western reaches of Mexico City, the second largest city in the world. A Roman Catholic priest for more than 20 years, Marquez is a respected figure in this lower-middle-class...
Rotten in Russia
Though frequently discussed by Western observers, organized crime in Russia is often underestimated, contends Handelman, a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University's Harriman Institute and former Moscow bureau chief for the Toronto Star. It has become...
Shakespeare Lite
" `When Blood Is Their Argument': Class, Character, and Historymaking in Shakespeare's and Branagh's Henry V" by Robert Lane, in ELH (Spring 1994), Dept. of English, Johns Hopkins Univ., Baltimore, Md. 21218. When Kenneth Branagh's much-praised...
Sunny with a Chance of Meltdown
"The Once and Future Sun" by Ron Cowen, in Science News (Mar. 26, 1994), 1719 N St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036. The sun's extinction may not be one of humankind's more pressing concerns, but the star that gives us life appears, like today's baby...
The Antidumping Boomerang
Free trade advocates are often accused of putting the interests of American consumers ahead of the welfare of U.S. industries and workers. Bovard, a Cato Institute policy analyst, argues that all suffer from protectionist American trade policies. Antidumping...
The Birdman of America
"Magnificent Obsession: Audubon's Birds of America" by Stephen May, in American Arts Quarterly (Winter 1994), P.O. Box 1654, Cooper Station, New York, N.Y. 10276. Although John James Audubon's bird prints are familiar around the world, his original...
The Cost of a Solution
Any sound strategy for slowing global population growth will have to include several elements. One is a strong emphasis on economic development, which demonstrably reduces the demand for large families. Another is the promotion of greater equality between...
The Cultural Consequences of the Information Superhighway
The coming of the information superhighway, or, more modestly, the National Information Infrastructure (NII), has reanimated America's running debate about the vices and virtues of technology. It has also reshuffled the ideological deck in interesting...
The Imperial Editors
There is nothing new about news editors using Associated Press (AP) or other "wire" stories to second-guess their own reporters. But information technology has taken the second-guessing to new heights--and that is a very mixed blessing, according to...
The Inimitable Presidency
Should President Bill Clinton and his top aides have spent so much time and effort devising a detailed health-care reform bill? The legendary example of Franklin D. Roosevelt, brilliant mastermind of all that famous New Deal legislation, suggests that...
The New Age of Warlords
After decades of Cold War preparations, the U.S. Army today is finely tuned for battle with Soviet-style armies. But the coming years are likely to bring a very different enemy, warns Peters, an army major assigned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of...
Theology to the Rescue
"Newman, God, and the Academy" by Daniel Cere, in Theological Studies (Mar. 1994), Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass. 02167. In the modern academy, there is "a strange silence about ultimate questions of good and evil, life and death," observes...
The Paradox of Slavery
Historians generally agree that the practice of slavery in the Americas was rooted in economics: Slaves from Africa were used because that was the least-costly source of labor for New World plantations. Curiously, observes Eltis, a historian at Queen's...
The Population Question Revisited
Despite surprising reductions in birth rates in many parts of the world, more than 90 million people are being added to the Earth each year. World population is now approaching six billion, up from only three billion in 1960. During the next 20...
The Urban Explosion
While world population is expected to be at least three times as large in 2025 as it was in 1950, urban population will have increased six times during the same period. In 1950, fewer than one in three people lived in cities, and only two cities--New...
Turkey's Democratic Secret
Democracy has reached the seedling stage in many parts of the globe recently, but has not flourished in the Islamic world. Of the 51 sovereign states in the International Islamic Conference, only one - the Turkish Republic - has experienced more than...
Wilsonian Illusions
Woodrow Wilson is unique among 20th-century American presidents in having spawned an "ism"--and Wilsonianism is far more than just a memory from decades long past. President George Bush's quest for a New World Order, for example, was certainly Wilsonian...
Wired for What?
If you have not yet visited cyberspace - and most Americans have not - no amount of description can quite do it justice. The next best thing to a visit to this nerdy netherworld may be a run through The New Hacker's Dictionary (MIT, 2d ed., 1993),...
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