Monday, February 17, 2014

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Proust on Richard Epstein

My friend and fellow Epstein enthusiast Brian Denton emailed this to me, and it's too good not to share. This is from Proust writing about Beethoven, but I think it applies just as well to Epstein:
The reason why a work of genius is not easily admired from the first is that the man who has created it is extraordinary, that few other men resemble him. It is his work itself that, by fertilising the rare minds capable of understanding it, will make them increase and multiply. It was Beethoven's quartets themselves (the Twelfth, Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth) that devoted half a century to forming fashioning and enlarging the audience for Beethoven's quartets, thus marking, like every great work of art, an advance if not in the quality of artists at least in the community of minds, largely composed today of what was not to be found when the work first appeared, that is to say of persons capable of appreciating it.

Proust, Marcel. Remembrance of Things Past, Volume 1. Translated by C.K. Mocrieff and Terence Kilmartin (New York: Vintage Books,1982), 572.

NYU Symposium on Richard Epstein's Book

NYU recently hosted a symposium on Epstein's new book, The Classical Liberal Constitution. The critiques are some of the smartest and most thoughtful I've heard. Ultimately I think Epstein survives the gauntlet intact and vindicated, but not for a lack of worthy challenges. So far I haven't found any video of Epstein's response, but if you find it please let me know. Enjoy!



Sunday, February 9, 2014

Epstein Symposium at NYU Law

NYU Law is hosting a symposium celebrating Richard Epstein's new book The Classical Liberal Constitution tomorrow (2/10/2014). It is an all-day event at the law school, with panels focusing on three main aspects of the book. If you're a fan of Epstein and you live in NY you'd be a fool to miss it! Click here to check out the event page for more info.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Mycroft Holmes or Richard Epstein?

The following passage is from Arthur Conan Doyle's The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans :
The conclusions of every department are passed to him, and he is the central exchange, the clearinghouse, which makes out the balance. All other men are specialists, but his specialism is omniscience.
Is it describing Mycroft Holmes' (Sherlock's older, even smarter brother) or Richard Epstein?

     or     ?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Richard Epstein On Originalism

UPDATE: There's a better version of the video (below) here on the CATO site.

Here's a great video on Epstein's latest book, the Classical Liberal Constitution. At about 10:15 he gives a concise explanation of his stance on Originalism and why he is so obsessed with Roman law:




I think you could teach a whole semester on just this one talk. He hits on most of his major themes all without taking a breath.

Also, his latest Hoover article is a particularly good one: http://www.hoover.org/publications/defining-ideas/article/163681

Here's a great example of how Epstein draws analogies to corporate rules to help interpret legal rules:
Indeed, the vital element in this clause is that it prohibits any transfer payment from one group of individuals to another, as those cannot serve the “general welfare of the United States.” To see why, take the analogous case where a corporate charter allows the Board of Directors to adopt only those measures that advance the general welfare of the corporation. Without question, the so-called business judgment rule insulates corporate officers and directors when they work in good faith to advance the welfare of the corporation, and thus all its shareholders, in transactions with third parties. But it is a per se violation of that rule for the directors to tax one subclass of shareholders in order to pay dividends to a second subclass. All transfer payments among shareholders clearly violate their duty to advance the welfare of shareholders as a group.
He links to this great diagram which I think complements his "law and geometry" stuff (discussed elsewhere).

As always, great stuff!