Most people seem to enjoy liberalism and its spin offs, but what is it exactly? Where did the idea come from?
- Liberalism, for all its influence, is only a few hundred years old.
- Many great philosophers formulated the ideology, but their arugments often don't make it into popular discourse.
- While classical liberalism endures, modern liberalism dominates current political discussions.
Liberalism: explained<iframe width="730" height="430" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/hVNgLEvhL5Y" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p> Liberalism begins with the assumption that people are or should be free and that restrictions on their liberty must be justified. Liberal thinkers debate the proper role of the state and often agree that it is a limited one which would result in very few restrictions beyond those needed to secure the rights of everybody living under its jurisdiction. When this was first proposed, during an era of absolute monarchy and nearly unchecked power of institutions over individuals, it was a radical claim.</p><p>For classical liberals, "liberty" usually means what might be called "<a href="https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/liberty-positive-negative/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">negative liberty</a>" today. These liberties are "negative" in the sense that they can be seen as "freedoms from interference." This contrasts with "<a href="https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/liberty-positive-negative/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">positive</a>" liberties, which are "freedoms to do" or the capacities to accomplish something. Classical liberalism is very concerned with the right of people to be left alone to live their own lives.</p><p>This means a liberal society will let people decide things like their own religion, their idea of what constitutes a good life, and what organizations they want to be a part of, among other things. Importantly, since cohesion is not applied in these areas of choice, people are free to join a church or civic group when it suits them and leave when it suits them and face no government reprisals for it. Liberal theorists typically advocate for tolerance of others to assure that these freedoms of choice are applied to everyone. </p><p>Classical liberals also tended to argue that the economy, or some version of it, existed before or independently of the state. As a result, they maintain that the right to private property is natural and should be fairly unlimited. For some thinkers, this also ties into ideas of independence from external authority, as a person with enough property to be more or less financially self-sufficient would be able to tend to themselves and select when to engage with institutions that could help them but might infringe on their rights.</p><p>Let's take a closer look at three of the more prominent classical liberal philosophers, what they thought, and why they thought it. </p>
John Locke<iframe width="730" height="430" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yDLhVZ-RB3o" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p> Considered the Father of Liberalism, John Locke wrote<a href="https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/locke/#TwoTreaGove" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> two treatises on government </a>attacking absolute monarchy and supporting a more limited view of government. While his conception of liberalism is explicitly based on a theology many people would dispute, his reasoning has been applied in secular conditions to great success. </p><p>Like many other thinkers at the time, Locke turned to an idea of what life was like before the existence of governments, known as the state of nature, to make his arguments. For Locke, people in the state of nature were free within the boundaries of "natural law" and generally get along. However, in this condition, there is nobody to turn to if somebody else violates your rights, like if they steal from you, and no neutral arbitrator to turn to if you and somebody else have a dispute. </p><p>Locke argues that these issues eventually drive people to want to create a state to protect people's rights by enforcing natural law and acting as a neutral arbitrator when people have disputes.</p><p>The <a href="https://iep.utm.edu/locke-po/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">state</a> he envisions people would create in this situation is a minimal one that focuses almost exclusively on protecting people's natural rights of "life, liberty, and property." It does not try to determine how people live their lives within the confines of natural law. It tolerates various religions and worldviews- since to promote one above all others would go beyond its <a href="https://iep.utm.edu/locke/#SH4c" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">prerogatives</a>. It cannot operate in ways contrary to the rule of law, features a representative legislature with majority rule, the separation of powers, and is founded by people explicitly consenting to be governed this way. </p><p>His defense of private property is <a href="https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/locke-political/index.html#Prop" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">noteworthy</a>. He argues that some variation of the economy exists in the state of nature and that nobody would willingly create a state if it were going to take away their property.</p><p>However, he holds that property can only be held if it will be used before it spoils, was acquired by the labor of the person who owns it, and if after acquiring it there is still enough of the resources it is made of left in the commons for the next person. What limits these principles place on a person going into Sherwood Forest in 1690 to cut down a tree to make lumber with and a person trying to start a business today is still debated.</p>
Immanuel Kant<iframe width="730" height="430" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nltgkGs5G_s" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p> A German philosopher, Kant is widely considered one of the most influential thinkers of all time. He worked in every area of philosophy there was to work in, <a href="https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kant-social-political/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">political philosophy</a> among them.</p><p>Kant based his liberalism on the idea of freedom from other people's choices and universal rationality. He maintains that all people have a fundamental dignity as rational and moral beings. This both obligates us to act accordingly and to respect the dignity of others. From this starting point, he argues that the state should exist to assure that individuals enjoy <em data-redactor-tag="em">"Freedom, insofar as it can coexist with the freedom of every other in accordance with a universal law."</em></p><p>This freedom is limited by what is consistent with reason but is wide-ranging; a large number of liberties are required for a rational, autonomous person to be able to utilize those capacities. These liberties include the freedom of speech, religion, and the right to pursue happiness in any way a person wants to, so long as it is consistent with everybody else being able to do the <a href="https://iep.utm.edu/kantview/#H6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">same</a>. Anything less than this conflicts with a person's moral autonomy and borders on treating them as a child. </p><p>He further argues that no state should make a law that "<em data-redactor-tag="em">a whole people could not possibly give its consent to.</em>" That means things like laws granting privileges to one group of people and not others would be prohibited, as no rational group would sign a contract giving them the short end of the stick. It allows for other things, such as a generally applied tax of debatable value, as a rational person could consent to such a thing if the arguments for it were sound.</p><p>While he thought that an elected representative government was the best option for providing these protections, but didn't rule out other models. He also strongly asserted the necessity of constitutional governance.</p><p>While most interpretations of Kant maintain that his idea of freedom is "negative," there is some ambiguity in his writings which led some <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VoJps1803I" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">commentators<strong data-redactor-tag="strong"></strong></a> to suggest he is open to ideas of positive liberty as well. Given his reliance on and admiration for some of <a href="https://bigthink.com/culture-religion/rousseau-philosophy-explained" target="_self">Jean-Jacques Rousseau's ideas, </a>this idea is not absurd, though it is difficult to prove. </p>
Adam Smith<iframe width="730" height="430" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KL-SDoEO9VU" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p> While better known as an economist, Adam Smith was also a <a href="https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/smith-moral-political/#SmiPol" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">philosopher</a> who considered the problems of society as a whole. Between how important his economics are to classical liberalism and the nuanced approach of his political philosophy, Smith remains an essential figure in the liberal tradition.</p><p>Unlike some of the other thinkers we're looking at, Smith thought it was a legitimate goal of government to help the poor and promoting the virtue of society. He went so far as to say:</p><p>"...[the] civil magistrate is entrusted with the power <em>not only of … restraining injustice, but of promoting the prosperity of the commonwealth</em>, by establishing good discipline, and by discouraging every sort of vice and impropriety; he may prescribe rules, therefore, which not only prohibit mutual injuries among fellow-citizens, but command mutual good offices to a certain degree."</p><p>However, this isn't a call for a moralizing government. It is a call for the government to do less than it was at the time. </p><p>As he thought with economics, Smith thought society would work best when people were generally left alone to handle things themselves. He argues that people can only develop virtue on their own; if they are only doing it because the government is telling them to do so, they aren't actually virtuous. Additionally, he didn't think that politicians would be very good at promoting virtue or prosperity, suggesting that they can handle issues like defense and criminal justice while leaving other tasks to individuals with better knowledge of the conditions on the ground than far off bureaucrats. </p><p>His <a href="https://iep.utm.edu/smith/#H3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">economics</a>, based on the idea that markets often provide the best possible outcomes when left alone, became the basis for the classical liberal stance on capitalism. While he wasn't quite as opposed to government intervention as many people <a href="https://iep.utm.edu/smith/#SH3c" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">think</a>, his arguments in favor of fewer restrictions on business meshed well with other liberal ideas on property and freedom. </p><p>This overall approach is important in how it differs from our two other thinkers. While Locke and Kant both appeal to natural rights or individual autonomy to support their ideas on liberty, Smith leans on arguments showing how a society that values liberty will be a better place to live in than one that does not, in addition to it being morally defensible.</p><p>While few people will want to base their freedom on the idea that it is expedient, the appeal to tangible benefits has proven to be one of the more convincing arguments for liberty. </p>
These ideas seem a bit different from how we run things today; why is that?<p> Many philosophers, arguably starting with John Stuart Mill, continued to work within the liberal tradition but considered the new problems of industrial society, market failures, and what happens when there is no longer a "nature" to take resources from like there was in 1690. Their work, combined with critiques of liberalism from other ideologies, notably socialism and conservatism, led to an evolution of liberal philosophy into the modern version we see today. </p><p>Despite some elements of liberal thought dating back to ancient times, the political philosophy of classical liberalism, which changed the world by elevating the rights of man and continues to influence our thinking even as we move past it, is surprisingly young. It achieved a lot in its few hundred years of existence, and its arguments for liberty, equality, democracy, and the right to get on with our lives and business continue to resonate today.</p><p> While most people may not be classical liberals anymore, taking time to consider the philosophy is an exercise that we can all benefit from.</p>
While not the first such minister, the loneliness epidemic in Japan will make this one the hardest working.
- The Japanese government has appointed a Minister of Loneliness to implement policies designed to fight isolation and lower suicide rates.
- They are the second country, after the U.K., to dedicate a cabinet member to the task.
- While Japan is famous for how its loneliness epidemic manifests, it isn't alone in having one.
The Ministry of Loneliness<iframe width="730" height="430" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/I5FIohjZT8o" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p><a href="https://www.jimin.jp/english/profile/members/114749.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Tetsushi Sakamoto</a>, already in the government as the minister in charge of raising Japan's low birthrate and revitalizing regional economies, was appointed this <a href="https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/02/21/national/japan-tackles-loneliness/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">month</a> to the additional role. He has already announced plans for an emergency national forum to discuss the issue and share the testimony of lonely <a href="https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/02/12/national/loneliness-isolation-minister/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">individuals</a>.</p><p>Given the complexity of the problem, the minister will primarily oversee the coordination of efforts between different <a href="https://www.insider.com/japan-minister-of-loneliness-suicides-rise-pandemic-2021-2" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">ministries</a> that hope to address the issue alongside a task <a href="https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/02/21/national/japan-tackles-loneliness/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">force</a>. He steps into his role not a moment too soon. The loneliness epidemic in Japan is uniquely well known around the world.</p><p><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hikikomori" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Hikikomori</em></a><em>,</em> often translated as "acute social withdrawal," is the phenomenon of people completely withdrawing from society for months or years at a time and living as modern-day hermits. While cases exist in many <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00247/full" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">countries</a>, the problem is better known and more prevalent in Japan. Estimates vary, but some suggest that one million Japanese live like this and that 1.5 million more are at <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/article/japan-hikikomori-isolation-society" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">risk</a> of developing the condition. Individuals practicing this hermitage often express contentment with their isolation at first before encountering severe symptoms of loneliness and <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/01/200110155241.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">distress</a>.</p><p><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kodokushi" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Kodokushi</em></a>, the phenomenon of the elderly dying alone and remaining undiscovered for some time due to their isolation, is also a widespread issue in Japan that has attracted national attention for decades.</p><p>These are just the most shocking elements of the loneliness crisis. As we've discussed before, loneliness can cause health issues akin to <a href="https://www.inc.com/amy-morin/americas-loneliness-epidemic-is-more-lethal-than-smoking-heres-what-you-can-do-to-combat-isolation.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">smoking</a>. A lack of interaction within a community can cause social <a href="https://bigthink.com/in-their-own-words/how-religious-neighbors-are-better-neighbors" target="_self">problems</a>. It is even associated with changes in the <a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/loneliness-brain" target="_self">brain</a>. While there is nothing wrong with wanting a little time to yourself, the inability to get the socialization that many people need is a real problem with real <a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/brain-loneliness-hunger" target="_self">consequences</a>.</p>
The virus that broke the camel's back<iframe width="730" height="430" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Hp-L844-5k8" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p> A global loneliness pandemic existed before COVID-19, and the two working in tandem has been catastrophic. </p><p>Japanese society has always placed a value on solitude, often associating it with self-reliance, which makes dealing with the problem of excessive solitude more difficult. Before the pandemic, 16.1 percent of Japanese seniors reported having nobody to turn to in a time of need, the highest rate of any nation <a href="https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/02/21/national/japan-tackles-loneliness/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">considered</a>. Seventeen percent of Japanese men surveyed in 2005 said that they "rarely or never spend time with friends, colleagues, or others in social groups." This was three times the average rate of other <a href="http://www.oecd.org/sdd/37964677.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">countries</a>. </p><p>American individualism also creates a fertile environment for isolation to grow. About a month before the pandemic started, nearly<a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/01/23/798676465/most-americans-are-lonely-and-our-workplace-culture-may-not-be-helping" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> 3 in 5</a> Americans reported being lonely in a <a href="https://www.cigna.com/about-us/newsroom/studies-and-reports/combatting-loneliness/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">report</a> issued by Cigna. This is a slight increase over previous studies, which had been pointing in the same direction for years. </p><p>In the United Kingdom, the problem prompted the creation of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness. The commission's <a href="https://www.ageuk.org.uk/globalassets/age-uk/documents/reports-and-publications/reports-and-briefings/active-communities/rb_dec17_jocox_commission_finalreport.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">final report </a>paints a stark picture of the U.K.'s situation in 2017, with millions of people from all parts of British society reporting feeling regular loneliness at a tremendous cost to personal health, society, and the economy.</p><p>The report called for a lead minister to address the problem at the national level, incorporating government action with the insights provided by volunteer organizations, businesses, the NHS, and other organizations on the crisis's front lines. Her Majesty's Government acted on the report and appointed the first Minister for Loneliness in <a href="https://time.com/5248016/tracey-crouch-uk-loneliness-minister/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2018</a>, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tracey_Crouch" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Tracey Crouch</a>, and dedicated millions of pounds to battling the problem. </p><p>The distancing procedures necessitated by the COVID-19 epidemic saved many lives but exacerbated an existing problem of loneliness in many parts of the world. While the issue had received attention before, Japan's steps to address the situation suggest that people are now willing to treat it with the seriousness it deserves.</p><p>--</p><p><em>If you or a loved one are having suicidal thoughts, help is available. The suicide prevention hotline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.</em></p>
The opening lines of Smartmatic's $2.7 billion lawsuit against Fox News lay bare the culture of denial in the US.
- Smartmatic, an election technology company, has filed a $2.7-billion-dollar defamation suit against Fox News for making false claims about its voting machines during Fox's dishonest campaign against the 2020 US presidential election results.
- The lawsuit opens with three powerful statements of fact: A scientific truth, a mathematical proof, and an objective political fact: More people voted for Joe Biden than for Donald Trump.
- We owe the Smartmatic lawyers a debt of gratitude for so cleanly demonstrating what this ongoing election battle is all about. What is at stake is not a political ideology. It's a fight to acknowledge the shared reality we all live in.
Voting is a democratic mechanism that helps us "get along." Here, former vice president Mike Pence and house speaker Nancy Pelosi preside over a joint session of Congress to certify the 2020 electoral college results.
Credit: Erin Schaff / POOL / AFP via Getty Images<p>This "how to get along" question is an old, old problem for humans, and we have tried many approaches including kings, dictators, and tyrants. Voting was a pretty radical idea when it was first tried out in ancient Greece. But by the time it was proposed in places like the nascent United States, it had taken on an entirely new character. Proposals for democracy in the 18th century emerged from the constellation of ideas we now call the Enlightenment. More than anything else, Enlightenment-era thinkers believed they had found a path toward a better world. It was a path laid down by reason and by science.</p> <p>For <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/feb/11/reason-is-non-negotioable-steven-pinker-enlightenment-now-extract" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Enlightenment</a> thinkers, "knowledge, innovation, freedom, and social advancement go together," <a href="https://www.foreignaffairs.com/reviews/capsule-review/2010-03-01/science-liberty-democracy-reason-and-laws-nature" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">writes Timothy Ferris</a> Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin saw their new nation as an "experiment" in self-rule. John Adams thought that the data gained from the experiment could be combined with reason to produce a <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/42294-the-science-of-government-it-is-my-duty-to-study" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">"science of government."</a> Science as both metaphor and reality were so important to the framers of the US Constitution that they put the patent system into the document's very first <a href="https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/intellectual_property_clause" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">article</a>. </p> <p>The framers of American democracy wanted a political system that would reflect the order and transparency they found in the natural world through science. And in science, such order and transparency occur because there are clear mechanisms for establishing facts. Even more important there are, indeed, facts to be found. There is a shared reality we all inhabit regardless of religion or disposition or party affiliation. In this way, the number of votes cast in an election is an objective fact. By establishing the system for self-governance and agreeing to its rules, a tally of votes cast for a candidate is a reality of our shared civic space. </p> <p>What denial, in all its modern forms, wants is to destroy that civic space. It hopes to break the agreement about shared reality. But, in doing so, it also destroys the capacity for science, our most powerful tool for understanding the world.</p>
American teacher John Thomas Scopes (second from left) standing in the courtroom during his trial for teaching Darwin's Theory of Evolution in his high school science class. Dayton, Tennessee, 1925.
Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images<p>I've been writing about science denial for <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/22/opinion/welcome-to-the-age-of-denial.html" target="_blank">some time now</a>. It began a century ago in arguments over evolution. After <a href="https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/monkey-trial-begins" target="_blank">the famous</a> <a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2011/07/13/137792164/inheriting-the-wind-film-science-and-religion" target="_blank">Scopes Monkey trial</a>, it seemed that battle was over. It was climate change, however, that mainstreamed denial in the modern era. Through <a href="https://www.merchantsofdoubt.org/" target="_blank">climate denial</a> we first began to see people in positions of power make blatantly false claims about the shared reality revealed by science. It was, more than anything, a rejection of the possibility of knowing anything, of having <a href="http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-19-046941-2" target="_blank">expertise</a>. Then, over the last five years, denial exploded beyond claims of science to touch all domains of public life including the most basic facts about the world (i.e., which inauguration was attended by more people). The "Big Lie" about the 2020 elections was the most egregious attempt to deny that there are shared facts about a shared world.</p> <p>By explicitly linking facts about the physical, mathematical, and civic worlds, the Smartmatic suit explicitly rejects that denial. While it's impossible to know what will happen to their legal case, we owe the Smartmatic lawyers a debt of gratitude for so cleanly demonstrating what this ongoing battle is all about. What is at stake is not a political ideology. It's not about Democrats or Republicans. Instead, what lies before us is an effort to reestablish the core beliefs that underpin the continuing global experiment in democracy and science.</p>There <em>is</em> a world we share, and we <em>can</em> know something about it. We can agree on what we know and, most importantly, we can use that knowledge to make things better for everyone.
Even tyrants and despots offer wisdom worth heeding.
- Rome's famed emperors have seen a resurgence thanks to Stoicism, but many philosophies date back to the Empire.
- While the range of rulers vary from tyrannical despots to benevolent political forces, they all have something to say.
- These 10 quotes seem suited to our modern political situation in America and beyond right now.
A List of the Roman Emperors and their Deeds<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a43797445c2c57af139e30573388cfde"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/R9OCA6UFE-0?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><blockquote>If you want a rainbow, you have to deal with the rain. — Augustus</blockquote><p>Who knew that Dolly Parton took cues from the very first Roman Emperor, who began his culture's run of global domination in 27 BCE? With wisdom like this, we can imagine how he inspired the <em>Pax Romana</em>. Eternal advice: You have to suffer life's tragedies in order to know its glory. Those shiny colors are only revealed after the mud is cleaned off. </p><blockquote>The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. — Marcus Aurelius </blockquote><p>Being a rebel is common currency in the social media age, even if many modern rebellions are really signs of following a herd mentality. Marcus Aurelius was both Stoic and ruler, holding the seat of power from 161-180 CE. His wisdom fills books, yet this simple sentence says so much: don't slip so far down your conspiracy thinking that you lose the rope to pull yourself back up. </p><blockquote>Because of a few, disasters come upon a whole people, and because of the evil deeds of one, many have to taste their fruits. — Basil I </blockquote><p>Was this written over the last four years? Or the last 40 in trickle-down America? Basil I, aka The Macedonian, ruled the Byzantine Empire from 867-886. Born a Macedonian peasant, Basil is an example of rags to riches, dropping truth bombs along the way: a simple reminder of the interconnectedness of societies. </p><blockquote>What we wish, we readily believe, and what we ourselves think, we imagine others think also. — Julius Caesar</blockquote><p>Officially, Caesar was not an emperor. He led the charge in dissolving the Roman Republic so that the Empire could begin, however. Caesar's power move in becoming the first <em>dictator perpetuo</em> (dictator for life) inspires authoritarians around the world today; it also led to his assassination. Regardless, Caeser has been the subject of fascination for over two millennia, and though often viewed as a tyrant, he greatly expanded Rome's territory and influence. Given the above quote, you can say he imagined himself as a world ruler — and really believed it. </p><blockquote>How absurd to try to make two men think alike on matters of religion, when I cannot make two timepieces agree. — Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor</blockquote><p>This 16th-century Austrian ruler was at the tail end of Roman rule, yet his sentiment is perfectly timed for the social media age. We might enjoy universal time (and tech companies willing to supply digital clocks). We're certainly no closer on a consensus about topics of religion, politics, and, during an age in which everyone has a voice, much anything else.</p>
Statue of Marcus Aurelius in Campidoglio, Rome, Italy.
Credit: Nicodape / Adobe Stock<blockquote>Say not always what you know, but always know what you say. — Claudius</blockquote><p>The first Roman emperor born outside of Italy, the son of Nero was inflicted with a limp and slight deafness at an early age, making him a bit of an outcast. These events might have tuned him into a level of empathic intelligence, as displayed in this quote—one which should be required reading for anyone signing up for a Twitter account today. </p><blockquote>Our great mistake is to try to exact from each person virtues which he does not possess, and to neglect the cultivation of those which he has. — Hadrian</blockquote><p>As with many emperors, Hadrian's rise to power and reign was filled with treachery and greed alongside vision and social reform. Well known for being a walking contradiction—compassionate one moment, murderous the next—Hadrian might have been doing a bit of self-reflection (or self-evasion) when speaking this quote. Either way, it's a powerful reminder not only to stay in one's lane but to own that lane completely. </p><blockquote>Keep cool and you will command everyone. — Justinian I</blockquote><p>Justinian the Great ruled over the Eastern Roman Empire from 527-565 CE. Known as the "Last Roman," he rose from peasantry to power and tried to instill many social reforms. Perhaps the sentiment above was his own guide for navigating the treacherous world of politics. Sadly, cooler heads don't seem to prevail in our current landscape. Maybe Justinian saw something we don't. </p><blockquote>Hidden talent counts for nothing. — Nero</blockquote><p>Let your light shine, says the debaucherous and tyrannical fifth Roman emperor. Five years into his reign he had his overbearing mother killed. Perhaps his talents were all centered in his dictatorship? Regardless, we'd do well to heed these five words. If you have something to offer the world, don't play small. </p><blockquote>It is the duty of a good shepherd to shear his sheep, not to skin them. — Tiberius</blockquote><p>The second Roman Emperor offers this timeless piece of advice: you need to prune plants to keep them from overgrowth, yet you can't cut back too much. This call to level-headedness is yet another piece of wisdom needed in today's social media climate. Hold people accountable for their actions while remembering the more you tear everything down, the harder it becomes to repair and rebuild.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Facebook</a>. His most recent book is</em> "<em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08KRVMP2M?pf_rd_r=MDJW43337675SZ0X00FH&pf_rd_p=edaba0ee-c2fe-4124-9f5d-b31d6b1bfbee" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy</a>."</em></p>
From making their own swabs to staying in constant communication across the board, Northwell Health dove headfirst into uncharted waters to take on the virus and save lives.
- Preparing for a pandemic like COVID-19 was virtually impossible. Northwell Health president and CEO Michael Dowling explains how, as the largest healthcare provider in New York, his team had to continuously organize, innovate, and readjust to dangerous and unpredictable conditions in a way that guaranteed safety for the staff and the best treatment for over 128,000 coronavirus patients.
- From making their own supplies when they ran out, to coordinating with government at every level and making sense of new statistics and protocols, Northwell focused on strengthening internal and external communication to keep the ship from sinking.
- "There was no such thing as putting up the white flag," Dowling says of meeting the pandemic head on and reassuring his front line staff that they would be safe and have all the resources they needed to beat the virus. "It's amazing how innovative you can be in a crisis."