America's Other Audubon

America's Other Audubon :: Princeton Architectural Press

I love this:

Inspired by viewing Audubon's lithographs at the 1876 World's Fair in Philadelphia, twenty-nine-year-old amateur naturalist and artist Genevieve Jones began working on a companion volume to The Birds of America, illustrating the nests and eggs that Audubon omitted. Her brother collected the nests and eggs, her father paid for the publishing, and Genevieve learned lithography and began illustrating the specimens. When Genevieve died suddenly of typhoid fever, her family labored for seven years to finish the project in her memory. The original book, sold by subscription in twenty-three parts, included Presidents Rutherford B. Hayes and Theodore Roosevelt among its subscribers.

Only ninety copies of the original book were published in 1886, and fewer than twenty-five copies now remain in institutions and private hands. Featuring reproductions of all sixty-eight original color lithographs, archival photographs, selected field notes, and a key to the eggs and birds, America's Other Audubon chronicles for the first time the story behind the making of this extraordinary nineteenth century book.

via Sadie Stein at the Paris Review.

Buy the book.

Austerity Facts?

Russ Roberts wants the facts:

Which nations in Europe have slashed government spending? I suppose “slash” is an ambiguous term but when you write  that the experiment has been tried, don’t you have to show that spending has at least been cut or reduced, right? Maybe some European states have slashed the growth rate in government spending? Is that what he means? If so, shouldn’t different words be used? And either way, should there be some facts on this “experiment.” The word implies something scientific. But it all appears to be going on in the mind of the writer rather than in the real world

I’d like some facts. I have seen many articles on austerity. I can’t remember seeing any that suggest that government spending in any European country has actually fallen. Yes, there is talk of spending cuts or cuts in growth rates. But I’d like to see the data that shows the cuts have actually been implemented.

Me too. Where should I look?

Daniel Clowes Interview on NPR

Listen here

Clowes says his instructors were mostly minimalists and abstract expressionists. “They were all so beyond figural drawings and all that stuff that was so buried and in the past, they couldn't believe anybody was bringing that up again,” he says. And Clowes didn't just want to do figure drawings, he wanted to make comics.

“They would just say, 'Well, comics are basically inherently stupid.' The preponderance of the evidence was such that that was possibly true. There were just years and years and years of really dumb comics.”

I can relate.

via The Serious Comic Art Of Daniel Clowes : NPR.

Glenn Loury on the Pernicious Influence of James Q. Wilson

“Calling a spade a spade turns out not to be a social policy,” Loury says. More:

Call me unforgiving, but I can still remember sitting at Jim and Roberta Wilson’s dinner table in Malibu, California in January 1993 listening to Murray explain, much to my consternation and with Jim’s silent acquiescence, that social inequality is inevitable because “dull” parents are simply less effective at child-rearing than “bright” ones. (I rejected then, and still do, Murray and Herrnstein’s claim that profound social disparities are due mainly to variation in innate individual traits that cannot be remedied via social policy.) Neither can Glenn Loury in 2012 ignore what he failed to see in 1983: that Wilson and Herrnstein’s Crime and Human Nature—a book that sets out to lay bare the underlying bio-genetic, somatic, and psychological determinants of individuals’ criminal behavior—is an enterprise of dubious scientific value. The behavioral theories of social control that Wilson spawned—see, for instance, his 1983 Atlantic Monthly piece, “Raising Kids” (not unlike training pets, as it happens)—and the pop–social psychology salesmanship of his and George Kelling’s so-called “theory” about broken windows is a long way from rocket science, or even good social science. This work looks more like narrative in the service of rationalizing and justifying hierarchy, subordination, coercion, and control. In short, it smacks of highbrow, reactionary journalism.

But, unlike most tabloid scribblers, Wilson’s writings had a massive effect. The broken windows argument—by cracking down on minor offenses, the police can prevent the perception of disorder that leads to more serious crimes—has influenced urban law enforcement strategists throughout the nation. Even so, as scholarly critics across the ideological spectrum have noted, there is little evidence beyond the anecdotal to show that such “quality of life” policing actually leads to lower crime rates. When I consider the impact of his ideas, I can’t help but think about the millions of folks being hassled even as we speak by coercive state agents who are acting on some Wilsonian theory recommending stop-and-frisk policing.

Neither can I overlook the reinforcement of subliminal racial stigmata associated with the institutions of confinement, surveillance, and patrol that Americans have embraced over the past two generations under the watchful and approving gaze of Professor Wilson.

via Boston Review — Glenn C. Loury: Much To Answer For (James Q. Wilson).

Grover Cleveland on the Communisms of Capital and Toil

From his pretty fascinating 1888 State of the Union address:

Communism is a hateful thing and a menace to peace and organized government; but the communism of combined wealth and capital, the outgrowth of overweening cupidity and selfishness, which insidiously undermines the justice and integrity of free institutions, is not less dangerous than the communism of oppressed poverty and toil, which, exasperated by injustice and discontent, attacks with wild disorder the citadel of rule.

via Sheldon Richman on “The Myth of America's Laissez-Faire Past.”

James Otteson on the Morality of Capitalism

Otteson makes a Smithian case:

What the free-enterprise system—Smith’s “obvious and simple system of natural liberty”—proposes, then, is the adoption of those political and economic institutions that manage to combine not one but two great moral imperatives: allowing people the opportunity to rise from the impoverished existence that seems to be humanity’s miserable, if equal, status quo; and respecting people as the irreplaceable and precious individuals that they are. That is a sublime conjunction of material prosperity and moral agency, the likes of which no other system of political economy has ever contemplated, let alone achieved.

Capitalism is not perfect. But no system created by human beings is, or ever will be, perfect. The most we can hope for is continuing gradual improvement. To this end, we must honestly examine the prospects of the available systems of political economy. The benefits of the free-enterprise society are enormous and unprecedented; they have meant the difference between life and death for hundreds of millions of people and have afforded a dignity to populations that are otherwise forgotten. We should wish to extend these benefits rather than to curtail them.

Would you say that the United States political economy is a “free-enterprise system”? That Smith's “system of natural liberty” tends to function rhetorically as a justification of capitalism-as-we-know-it suggests some confusion.

via Issues 2012 | An Audacious Promise: The Moral Case for Capitalism.

Ron Paul’s Delegate System Hacking

Doug Mataconis says it's not helping his cause:

[I]t’s unclear what Paul’s supporters think they are going to accomplish here. Regardless of how many “wins” they rack up they are not going to be able to stop Mitt Romney from winning the nomination on the first ballot, although I keep running into Paul supporters online who seem to actually believe that Ron Paul can somehow come out of Tampa with the nomination. That delusion aside, though, it’s hard to see what they think they’re accomplishing. By and large, it appears pretty clear that they are antagonizing mainline Republicans every time they pull this stunt. That’s hardly the kind of thing that will win friends and influence people, nor is it the kind of thing you should do if you want to become a voice of influence in the Republican Party as Paul supporters claim that they do.

via Ron Paul’s Delegate “Wins” Won’t Amount To Anything.

Steve Horwitz on Corporate Personhood

Corporations are composed of people. So are unions. So are universities. So are families. The belief that we can somehow “tax corporations” without “taxing people” is the fallacy at the heart of Romney’s exchange. It’s the same with any collective: If we take away union rights, we take away the rights of individual union members. If we strip a university’s accreditation, we also strip credibility from its students and its graduates.

I am composed of cells. The belief that we can somehow tax me without taxing my cells is the fallacy at the heart of [something something.]

Is this not the fallacy of division? Why isn't Steve's version?

via Yes, corporations are people | The Daily Caller.