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A Note from Dick Meyer, Author of Why We Hate Us July 9, 2008

Posted by shawnnicholls in Uncategorized.

Thanks for checking out this little Author’s Notes part of the site Crown have kindly built to pull together some of  the activity around my book, Why We Hate Us. As I have written an online column for many years, have lots of relatives and more than seven close personal friends, there are a few people mildly interested in this project. That’s not even the counting the people how always hated my column and put me on their enemies list.

Today I just want to share that I have resumed my column. I wrote it for CBSNews.com for many years. Some of those columns can be found here. Search and ye shall find many more, however.

The debut column at NPR.org is here. I called it “Consuming the 2008 Campaign.” It’s sort of a recovering cynic’s guide to what to be grateful for in this long campaign. A good blog called The Moderate Voice kindly linked to it.
As it was on CBS, the column is called “Against the Grain.” It’s actually a tribute to Sir Isaiah Berlin, the British historian of ideas who published a wonder collection of essays called Against the Current.  I had a chance to study with Berlin and as a graduate student and actually wrote my unreadable thesis about his political philosophy. Berlin came back to my life in a big way this past year as I worked on my book.

The last chapter of the book is the result of thinking about Berlin’s ideas for 25 years and coming back to them as a father, journalist and citizen, not just as a student. Berlin understood the anthropology of philosophy without degrading philosophy. He could empathize with why people believed what they did; he understood the questions they sought to answer and the inherited ideas they wanted to reject. All this made ideas more interesting to Berlin, not less. He believed in measuring a philosophy by its utility and honesty, not its internal coherence or grandiosity.

I’ve perpetrated enough grandiosity here.  I expect my columns will now run regularly on Thursdays on NPR.org. Check them out if you’re bored at work.



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