Few intellectuals can match the extraordinary popular success of Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari. In two best-selling books, Sapiens and Homo Deus, he tackles the big questions about the human condition and its future. Harari’s wide-ranging, macro-histories have clearly struck a nerve with the public. Yet his account of our collective past assumes that the biological, scientific version of human nature provides the true and full explanation of what we are. Writing in City Journal, Sir Roger Scruton notes that Harari’s reductive view of history skirts the rather gaping matters of human self-consciousness and self-awareness. In the end, writes Scruton, Harari’s histories are about homo without the sapiens.
Day: September 7, 2019
The renowned Canadian physician Sir William Osler once observed that “the greater the ignorance, the greater the dogmatism.” No issue fits Osler’s words better than climate change. Contrary to global dogma, climate science is far from settled. Among the basic challenges facing climatologists is securing accurate records of the Earth’s temperature. John Steele Gordon, writing in Commentary, reports that when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration installed 114 state-of-the-art weather stations in 2005, it didn’t quite confirm global warming. As Mark Twain summarized, “Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.”
Three years after the British people voted to leave the European Union, Britain is still stuck. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s threat to leave without a formal Brexit deal has triggered a crisis in Parliament. Behind this commotion is an intransigent E.U., mindful that without the threat of a “no-deal” Brexit, the U.K. has no bargaining power. Christopher Caldwell, writing in The Claremont Review of Books, deftly fills in the blanks on the Brexit debate, especially regarding the Eurocrats. The E.U.’s ability to evade democratic responsibility, Caldwell warns, may be even more robust than its most vocal critics feared.