Societies raise their grandest monuments to what their cultures value most highly. As the tallest buildings in a city noted for tall buildings, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were certainly monumental.
After all, the past is our only real guide to the future, and historical analogies are instruments for distilling and organizing the past and converting it to a map by which we can navigate.
The cardinal sin in sports, what could really wreck it, is not cheating to win, which has gone on forever, but cheating to lose. That threatens a fundamental aspect of sports' appeal, which is their spontaneity. If games are fixed, they're no different from movies; they're scripted.
Words matter, especially words defining complicated political arrangements, because they shape perceptions of the events of the past, attitudes toward policies being carried out in the present, and expectations about desirable directions for the future.
First of all, the world criticizes American foreign policy because Americans criticize American foreign policy. We shouldn't be surprised about that. Criticizing government is a God-given right - at least in democracies.
The great thing about baseball is the causality is easy to determine and it always falls on the shoulders of one person. So there is absolute responsibility. That's why baseball is psychologically the cruelest sport and why it really requires psychological resources to play baseball - because you have to learn to live with failure.
Read the news section of the newspaper and there is confusion and uncertainty, a world buffeted by large forces people neither understand nor control. But turn to the sports section and it's all different.
Inequality of any kind, once considered a normal, natural part of human existence, came to be seen in the course of the twentieth century as increasingly illegitimate.
To call the American role in the world imperial was, for many who did so, a way of asserting that the United States was misusing its power beyond its borders and, in so doing, subverting its founding political principles within them.
The attacks of September 11, 2001, were spectacular, riveting, grim, costly and searing. The shock that they caused reverberated throughout the world. What happened in New York and Washington and Pennsylvania ended the lives of thousands of people and changed the lives of many more. But they did not change the world.
The amount of military force necessary to provide reassurance depends on how dangerous people think the world is. And that I think ultimately depends upon the kinds of government that hold sway in major countries.
The United States will continue to be number one, and I do not see any country or group of countries taking the United States' place in providing global public goods that underpin security and prosperity. The United States functions as the world's de facto government.
Economic growth is necessary to keep the promise - enormously important to individual Americans - that each generation will have the opportunity to become more prosperous than the preceding one, the popular term for which is 'the American dream.'
Certainly, protecting oppressed people, stopping ethnic conflict and promoting responsible governance are worthy goals. But none is as important for American security and prosperity as keeping the peace in the Middle East, Europe and East Asia.
The attacks of September 11 persuaded many Americans that what might seem to be obscure or distant potential threats can very quickly materialize and it therefore makes sense to attend to them even before they become urgent.
American power confers benefits on most inhabitants of the planet, even on many who dislike it and some who actively oppose it, because the United States plays a major, constructive, and historically unprecedented role in the world.
American influence in the world is certainly considerable, but the United States does not control, directly or indirectly, the politics and economics of other societies, as empires have always done, save for a few special cases that turn out to be the exceptions that prove the rule.
In truth, every American administration since that of Franklin D. Roosevelt has maintained close ties with the Saudi rulers, and for a single, simple reason: oil.
In the past when a country became as powerful as the United States, other countries would band together to clip its wings. But that isn't happening now and I don't think it's not going to happen, because other countries are not threatened by us, and they secretly appreciate the services that we provide, even if they don't usually say so.
In my experience, it's not just that serious books get a hearing on comedy shows. But serious books get a serious hearing, as well as a funny one, on comedy shows.