Mark S. Weiner

Archive for the ‘Rule of the Clan’ Category

A Clan Framework for Foreign Affairs

In Europe, Guest Posts, Rule of the Clan on May 15, 2013 at 5:08 pm

I’m delighted that for the next couple of days my essay “The Call of the Clan” will be the cover story on the website of Foreign Policy.


“Directly challenges what many libertarians currently believe”

In Rule of the Clan on May 9, 2013 at 7:28 am

I’m pleased that The Rule of the Clan has received this thoughtful review by economist Arnold Kling, writing in the Library of Economics and Liberty—which is hosted by the libertarian group Liberty Fund. Kling writes that The Rule of the Clan “makes a libertarian case for a strong central state,” and that it “directly challenges what many libertarians currently believe.” In an earlier notice on askblog, Kling called The Rule of the Clan “the best book I have read this year.”

Update 5/9/13, 9:30 a.m.:

Although I disagree with most libertarians, I have long forcefully maintained that Liberty Fund, Inc. has a fantastic book bag (I have two):



Corporations as Clans

In Corporations, Rule of the Clan on April 25, 2013 at 1:16 pm


One of the things that’s struck me during my public radio interviews these past few weeks is how much callers express regional differences in the questions they ask. Today I was a guest on the Kathleen Dunn Show on Wisconsin Public Radio. We had a thoughtful, stimulating conversation for about an hour, and a number of listeners called in to participate in the exchange. True to democratic Wisconsin form, many of them were especially interested in talking about the danger that concentrated corporate power poses to individual freedom. In The Rule of the Clan, I describe corporations as part of an archipelago of post-modern clans that—if the liberal state grows too anemic—will create a new society of Status as constraining to individual autonomy as traditional tribal systems.

You can download an MP3 file of the show here, or you can stream it by clicking here (then just click on the MP3 or Windows Media Player icons to the right, just below “Kathleen Dunn”).

As anyone who’s ever talked with me about the subject knows, I’m a huge fan of Wisconsin, so I was especially glad to be a guest on public radio there. Above and below are a couple of pictures my wife and I took during a recent visit to the state. The two images below are from the lovely town of Monroe, a capital of Swiss-American cheese making. While we were there, we visited the great Baumgartner’s tavern, where you can get the very best Limburger and onion sandwich you’ll ever have—it’s absolutely delicious (really!).




Interview on KCUR

In Conversations, Rule of the Clan on April 16, 2013 at 8:35 am

I was interviewed yesterday on KCUR, public radio out of Kansas City. To listen to the interview, click here—or just use the audio player below. There was an especially lively set of call-in questions and comments, including from an immigrant to the United States from Ivory Coast (Patrick, if you’re reading this, thanks very much for your contribution to the discussion). I’m posting this again because my post yesterday seems not to have been sent to my subscriber list.

Giving Away My Library

In Autobiographical, Books and libraries, Guest Posts, Rule of the Clan on April 5, 2013 at 2:05 pm

It was great. You can read about it on FSG Work in Progress, here.


“Freedom’s Roots”

In Conversations, Rule of the Clan on April 3, 2013 at 6:46 am

A streaming version of my fifty-minute interview with KERA’s Krys Boyd is now available here.

I’m also happy to say that I’ve been asked to write an essay for the magazine Foreign Policy. I’ll post a link to the article once it’s available.

Chipping away at the state

In Guest Posts, Rule of the Clan on April 1, 2013 at 6:46 am

The Chronicle of Higher Education today published an essay of mine, “The Paradox of Individualism,” which is available through the journal’s gated, subscriber site, here.

Update 4/1/13, 2 p.m.: The article also seems to be available to non-subscribers for the next five days, here.

“Breviosity” Review

In Rule of the Clan on March 29, 2013 at 6:38 pm

The blog Breviosity, created by Martin Hewson, Professor of Political Science at the University of Regina, in Saskatchewan, Canada, has published a brief, very kind review of The Rule of the Clan, here, after publishing an earlier comment about the book (here). I really enjoy the thoughtful, meditative tone Hewson takes on his blog—it’s well worth visiting!


“In Praise of Forced Marriage”

In Afghanistan, Cross-cultural encounters & comparisons, Gender, Pakistan, Rule of the Clan on March 26, 2013 at 9:22 am

This morning the Wall Street Journal published this critical review of The Rule of the Clan by Felipe Fernández-Armesto, a professor of history the University of Notre Dame. I’m happy to receive the review (as I’ve noted here, I begin each morning with a bracing perusal of the Journal’s editorial page), and I send my greetings across the blogosphere to Fernández-Armesto and to readers who support his views—from which, I hope, all right-minded people will recoil in head-shaking disbelief.

Without writing more extensively about the review than it warrants, I’d like to use it as an opportunity to clarify my own views, because Fernández-Armesto’s remarks represent the kind of worrying trend in American political culture and intellectual life I criticize in the book: the rejection of the modernist values of the liberal Enlightenment.

Fernández-Armesto frames his review by recounting a story I tell in Chapter Three involving a civilian analyst for the U.S. Central Command. During one of his tours of Afghanistan, the analyst witnesses the proceedings of a Pashtun tribal jirga adjudicating a case of murder. In a practice known as swara, the council prevents a blood feud between the victim’s family and the perpetrator’s family by forcing the sister of the murderer to marry the brother of the murdered man.

As Fernández-Armesto notes, I indicate that “the young woman had no choice in the matter,” and I criticize the custom because it violates her autonomy.

Fernández-Armesto takes me to task for precisely this criticism, suggesting that I “can’t appreciate” that the “Afghan newlyweds may feel fulfilled as peacemakers.” He accuses me of endorsing “one-size [fits all] individualism.” Read the rest of this entry »

Why Clans Now? An Interview on Concurring Opinions

In Conversations, Guest Posts, India, Rule of the Clan on March 19, 2013 at 2:03 pm

The blog Concurring Opinions has published this interview with me about The Rule of the Clan conducted by Deven Desai. I talk with Deven about some of the ideas in the book and how I came to write it.

My only regret is that we sensibly decided to cut part of the interview in which I warn Deven that my ability to sing Bollywood songs in the original Hindi has expanded beyond this classic—and that he’ll be subjected to my expanded repertoire the next time he visits Connecticut:

Indian friends will know the meaning of the words.