From Camels to Capital
Having disappointingly failed to settle the question of whether a camel can pass through the eye of a needle, Slate's "Dispatches & Dialogues" department has moved on to new theological disputes (in addition to ongoing exchanges about divorce and global capitalism). Charles Murray, author of The Bell Curve and a new book, What It Means to Be aLibertarian, is discussing libertarianism vs. communitarianism with America's leading philosopher of community, Harvard Professor Michael Sandel. Andrew Sullivan, former editor of the New Republic and author/editor of a new book about gay marriage, is debating that subject with David Frum of the Weekly Standard. And John Goodman, not Roseanne's TV husband but the president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, is exchanging words with the editor of Slate over the rights and wrongs of a capital-gains tax cut.
Join the Club
Exhausted by the ordeal of trying to deny poor people a capital-gains tax cut, the editor turns this space over to his colleague, Cyrus Krohn:
Users of "The Fray," Slate's reader-discussion forum, have been clamoring for more than a month for special Fray threads devoted to books. Because "The Fray" exists to serve the Fraygrants, we arranged a real-time threaded discussion of Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents last Sunday, March 9.
The thread attracted heavy traffic--so much traffic that we were encouraged to corral a living author to discuss his book with the Fraygrants. Our first "Book Club" guest is Po Bronson, author of The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest, a novel about a Silicon Valley startup. Bronson will join "The Fray" next Thursday, March 20, at 7 p.m. EST to discuss his novel in a thread titled "Readings: Po Bronson." Joining him will be Bill Barnes, whose review of The First $20 Million will run in Slate Tuesday, March 18.
Your assignment--if you should decide to accept it--is to buy the book and read it cover to cover in preparation for asking questions. If reading a whole book sounds like too much work, click here for excerpts of the first two chapters from Bronson's home page.
Or, suit yourself, as Microsoft Corp. Chairman and CEO Bill Gates did. When told that Slate had assigned a couple of chapters to its readers, he roared: "It sounds like homework! Don't they know that that is why I dropped out of Harvard?"
--Michael Kinsley & Cyrus Krohn