Apr 5, 2009

Looking at history: the argument for facts over theory

Positivism in historiography means an emphasis on facts over theory, documentary evidence over deductions from premises. It may also be called “nitty-gritticism,” George Akita suggests in “Evaluating Evidence,” a book that recounts the author’s dealing with primary sources and the problems he has come ...

| Mar 1, 2009

What 'prohibition' has wrought

NEW YORK — When I read the news that the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy “blasted the U.S.-led drug war as a failure that is pushing Latin American societies to the breaking point” (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 12), I thought: Someone is ...

| Jan 25, 2009

Repercussions of war gone bad

NEW YORK — A young friend of mine, Rie Nakano, who did some archival research for a university professor, has given me a small batch of documents prepared by the Special Higher Police, known by the Japanese acronym Tokko. (I had told Rie that ...

| Dec 29, 2008

Suppressing more than free speech

I recently read a book that, a decade ago, created a controversy in Japan about homosexuality. In it the prize-winning writer Jiro Fukushima described his sexual relationship with Yukio Mishima dating from 1951. Because of the book, Mishima’s surviving family sued the publisher and ...

| Nov 24, 2008

Burst of U.S. bubble arouses old specters

So the Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman has spoken: The “usual tools of economic policy — above all, the Federal Reserve’s ability to pump up the economy by cutting interest rates — have lost all traction” (“Depression Economics Return,” Nov. 14, The New York ...