Sunday, June 17, 2007

While watching birds kill each other on National Geographic Channel, I thought I'd take a moment to say something about a review of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's new book. Although short, I think the New Criterion author Douglas Murray picked a telling title for his review: "A passion for the future." That's the problem, isn't it? Hirsi Ali is a modern in a postmodern world. She believes in the progress that the West promises even when its intellectual leaders have long ago abandoned this outlook in favor of ...who knows? certain doom at the hand of global warming? I mean, we can all become cynics, but where will it get us, right?

Criticism and the battle of ideas (rather than of fists) is still important today; and I'm talking about what we want the world to look like in the future and which principles we think are important enough to apply to everyone, not just our countrymen. We can't always get involved in the discussion ourselves, but we can give people the tools, the room and the support to have this discussion themselves.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

I won't try and describe the whole trip I took recently in detail, but I will say how much we enjoyed Edam, north of Amsterdam. The town was quite important back in the 17th century as a place where whalers lived (I don't quite understand the geography of where exactly they were whaling, ...), and there are a lot of buildings left from that time. We went there on a recommendation for the restaurant (and hotel) "De Fortuna," which is a conservative, lovely restaurant with a patio next to the canal. It's wonderful for walking around, and I suppose it has a cheese market like Alkmaar, although we didn't see it.