“Manifesto of the Communist Party” by Karl Marx

Reading Marx and Engels for the first time, I’m amazed how accurate some of their predictions and descriptions of world history are, how incisive and witty their criticisms can be, while at the same time perplexed by their economic theory of property, capital and wage-labor. The Bourgeoisie The bourgeoisie has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations…It has left remaining no other nexus … Continue reading “Manifesto of the Communist Party” by Karl Marx

Antonin Scalia: The Socrates of the SCOTUS

The important thing in the Democracy is not to win, but to take part; the important thing in Life is not to have conquered but to have fought well. Socrates v. Scalia About four years ago, I had an interesting group discussion about the trial and death of Socrates, and how the democracy of Athens that put him to death differed from that of America. … Continue reading Antonin Scalia: The Socrates of the SCOTUS

“Two Treatises of Government” By John Locke

Locke criticizes, Sir Robert Filmer, a proponent of divine right of kings, for not defining terms clearly and building an edifice of political theory on a dubious foundation. I find it ironic that he makes the same mistake, and consequently, “there was never so much glib nonsense put together in well-sounding English”. In this review, I’ll first summarize Locke’s ideas in his own words, and … Continue reading “Two Treatises of Government” By John Locke

“The Code of Hammurabi” by Hammurabi

The Code of Hammurabi, one of the oldest surviving codes of law, was enacted by the sixth king of Babylon, Hammurabi. Like the Mosaic Law, a large portion of the code deals with property rights and family relations. The prominent feature of the code, however, is its emphasis on individual responsibility, imposing heavy penalties on neglect and sloth, from which even the judges and governors … Continue reading “The Code of Hammurabi” by Hammurabi

“The Rise of the Roman Empire” by Polybius

The Roman Constitution The Roman Constitution has three interdependent elements: monarchy (The Consuls), aristocracy (The Senate) and democracy (The Tribunes of the People). Their respective share of power in the whole state are regulated with a scrupulous regard to equality and equilibrium. This, according to Aristotle, is the golden mean of the form of government. Polybius attributes the original conception of this type of constitution … Continue reading “The Rise of the Roman Empire” by Polybius

“Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans I” by Plutarch

The Laws of Lycurgus Long before Adam Smith developed the idea that commerce was necessary for the accumulation of wealth, Lycurgus, the legendary Spartan lawgiver, had used this principle to curb the avarice of his countrymen, and laid down a constitution for one of the most eminent commonwealths in the ancient world. The Spartan Constitution, according to Plutarch, was also the model for Plato’s Republic, … Continue reading “Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans I” by Plutarch