Newsletter 930

Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

Make Popes Accountable In This Life

John Plender | Financial Times | 14 February 2013

"The longstanding lack of transparency and accountability at the Vatican Bank looks inexcusably anachronistic. It is hard to escape the conclusion that an organisation operating on the principle that accountability is reserved largely for the afterlife must inevitably remain vulnerable to scandals that can only weaken credibility and trust"

How to Start A Battalion (In Five Easy Lessons)

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad | London Review Of Books | 14 February 2013

Report from Syria. Grassroots warfare. "Why would I succumb to your authority as a commander when I can be my own commander and fight my own insurgency?" What you need: $3,000 for weaponry, and a few friends, one of who can work a laptop and upload your videos to YouTube, where they can be seen by potential financiers. A bit of ideology helps

The Question Of Machiavelli

Isaiah Berlin | New York Review Of Books | 14 February 2013

Another 50th-anniversary treasure from the Review archives. Berlin explains how Machiavelli changed the fundamentals of Western morality. He saw that "ends equally ultimate, equally sacred, may contradict each other". There could be no final solution to the question of how all men should live. Different men would want to live in different ways

Ronald Dworkin RIP

Randy Barnett | Volokh Conspiracy | 14 February 2013

There are some pretty competent obituaries of the great Ronald Dworkin in circulation already, but with a high proportion of boilerplate. This short reminiscence gives a narrower but — it seems to me — more persuasive glimpse of his talents in action, and a better sense of his distinction even among the highest-flying legal scholars

Video of the day: Cleverbot: Do You Love Me?

Thought for the day:

"Toleration is historically the product of the realization of the irreconcilability of equally dogmatic faiths. Those who wished to survive realized that they had to tolerate error" — Isaiah Berlin

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