I am home again after a short but very enjoyable visit to D.C. to see my big sister, Barbara, and my younger son, Tobias [who came down from Philly for a day]. All that was missing was my older son, Patrick, for me to be with the three smartest people I know. My sister, at eighty-one, has found her true metier as a teacher of cutting edge developments in molecular biology and evolutionary genetics. When I was a little boy, she taught me to read, and she is still teaching me more than three-quarters of a century later.
While on the plane and in my hotel room, I began the re-reading of Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, in preparation for my next mini-tutorial. It is more than fifty years since I read the book, and though I had recalled quite clearly the core thesis, I had forgotten the astonishing richness and subtlety of Weber's exposition and argument. It is going to be a great challenge to caputre even a small part of that in my tutorial, and I hope you will be patient with me as I struggle to do so.
Meanwhile, Rick Perry, in an apparently desperate effort to pull himself out of single-digit territory, is flirting with Birtherism [the bizarre cult of people who think Barack Obama was not born in the United States.] You will all recall that Karl Marx said that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce [referring to the reign of Louis Napoleon in France in the middle of the 19th century.] I am afraid that in the Republican Party, history repeats itself, first as farce, then as desperation.
Later today, I shall try to launch the Weber mini-tutorial with some preliminary remarks.