HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

October 1, 2007
From the Editor

John Turner


Back home in Vermont, I've found the temperatures occasionally dipping into coolness. But September passed with nothing like the levels of frigidity that would have been certain thirty years ago. Leaving aside what's causing it, we clearly are experiencing climate change.

Last week Robert Gates went to Congress and said we need to spend $190 billion to carry out our adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan next year. And he justified the cost, in part, with the usual sentimental goop -- the honor, courage, and great sense of duty we have witnessed in our troops since September 11th.

Thomas Friedman announced he won't vote for any presidential candidate who is running on 9/11. We don't, he said, need another president of 9/11. That being the case, maybe we ought to begin getting rid of the obnoxious term itself.

I hope Naomi Klein will get many readers  for her new book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. It will be denounced as extreme, but only by extreme capitalists who actually do believe in money as people in the past claimed to believe in God.

Roger Cohen, writing in the New York Times,  said that our next president mustn't be a nasty S.O.B. like George Bush has been. He didn't use that actual term, but it was clear that's what he meant. And he makes a good argument for the change.

John Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group, appeared on the Bill Moyers show and announced that trading pieces of paper doesn't add much value to society. I knew that already, but it was pleasant to hear him say it. It appears that more and more of our financial moguls are recognizing that things are getting out of hand, and that a pack of rich guys are not the ones to restore order.

On my personal web site -- wordandimageofvermont.com -- I've begun a page titled "After Nietzsche," devoted to thoughts that come to me after reading the philosopher's books and books analyzing his work. I'll be grateful if any of you can find time to take a look at it and tell me what you think.


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