Martin Center staffers highlight current reading lists

The Martin Center highlights the books its staffers have been reading.

Jenna A. Robinson, President

Jacques Barzun’s magnum opus, From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, has been a revelation—of my own inadequate history education. As the title says, the book covers 500 years of Western culture from 1500 to (almost) 2000. Barzun organizes the book around four important “revolutions:” religious, monarchical, liberal, and social. He also explores ten themes throughout the book, helpfully identified in all capital letters, such as EMANCIPATION, PRIMITIVISM, and SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS.

This careful organization makes the 800-page work more easily digestible, which means that the book is thorough but also appealing—even to a history amateur. …

… Jay Schalin, Director of Policy Analysis

I just finished an article entitled “Groupthink” by Yale psychologist Irving Janis that first appeared in Psychology Today in 1971. Janis’s primary example of the phenomenon was the highly prominent group clustered around President John F. Kennedy who advised him to go ahead with the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961. He also cited President Lyndon Johnson’s “Tuesday Cabinet,” who encouraged the military build-up in Vietnam, and Admiral Husband Kimmel’s advisors who, in 1941, scoffed at the thought of the Japanese attacking Pearl Harbor.

But it seemed as if Janis had just emerged from some sort of academic meeting to report on the social dynamics he had just witnessed. …

… George Leef, Director of Editorial Content

The National Association of Scholars publishes a quarterly journal called Academic Questions. Each issue is worth reading cover to cover.

Working my way through the Summer 2019 issue, I came across a fascinating and disturbing essay by professor Mike Adams of UNC-Wilmington. He has taught criminology there for many years and his essay is entitled “Queer Criminology: New Directions in Academic Irrelevance.” (Unfortunately, the essay is currently behind a paywall.) Professor Adams writes that his department “has identified queer criminology as necessary for all criminology undergraduates.”

But exactly what is “queer criminology?” It is so vague as to defy easy definition, Adams explains.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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