Cliff Sloan, publisher of Slate and a former law clerk of Justice John Paul, writes on the new biography of Sandra Day O’Connor by Joan Biskupic. Sounds like it’s a good read.
Slate’s Michael Kinsley has a view of the British democracy, which really is different from American democracy even if we derived something from it. Kinsley says:
Laws, including constitutions, are supposed to have sharp edges. Even without the help of clever lawyers, they define what is permissible in the process of defining what is impermissible, and they send a strong message that if it’s not impermissible, it’s OK. By contrast, a bone-deep desire to be left alone, a tolerance for eccentricity, a quick resentment of bullies—these are qualities that Britain has more than America, I think. And they may be more important.
Newsweek’s Fareed Zakaria notes that Europe really needs to make a change – after all, what do you do when your country has a population of minorities? Zakaria notes:
One country has moved in that direction, with notable results. Britain has over the past 20 years redefined its identity. In a remarkable discussion in Prospect magazine last April, Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown explained his definition of British identity: “A belief in tolerance and liberty, a sense of civic duty, a sense of fair play, a sense of being open to the world.” When pushed as to whether these were really in any meaningful sense “British,” Brown persisted, saying, “[These are] the ideas that underpin our history. We were talking about liberty and opportunity long before America was established. And America is based on British ideas… And if you look at British history, then the fact that four nations eventually came together means that Britishness could never be based on ethnic identity.”
Britain has not solved this problem. But it is searching for a solution that honors the past, embraces the present and prepares it for the future. One cannot say as much for the rest of Europe.
So, Kinsley and Zakaria feel Britain is a model of something? Hmm.
A chilly November couple of days.
And the fall movie madness… Harry Potter. Rent. Ooh.