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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 19, 2011 / 15 Iyar, 5771

Critique of Pure Reason

By Paul Greenberg


Lanny Friedlander in his youth



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "I followed his argument

With the blank uneasiness which one must feel

In the presence of a logical lunatic." . . .

He would be the lunatic of one idea

In a world of ideas, who would have all the people

Live, work, suffer and die in that idea

In a world of ideas. . . .

His extreme of logic would be illogical.

--Wallace Stevens, "Esthetique du Mal (XIV)"

Lanny Friedlander had pretty much disappeared from the world's sight for 40 years. As a college student back in 1968, he'd started a little magazine in his dorm room at Boston University -- with a ream of paper, a ditto machine, and a boundless enthusiasm for his own ideas.

But he had to give up both college and the magazine, which he called Reason, when the first symptoms of his mental illness appeared. He wouldn't appear in the public prints again until his obituary was published in the New York Times a couple of weeks ago, and stirred thoughts of What Might Have Been.

Before he dropped out of sight, he'd had time to issue Reason's manifesto, charter, and ideological battle cry. Marked by typos, misspellings, ALLCAPS, and general pizzazz-and-vinegar, it was as clear a paean to the goddess Reason as any pronunciamento since the French Revolution. To quote its first issue:

"When REASON speaks of poverty, racism, the draft, the war, studentpower, politics, and other vital issues, it shall be reasons, not slogans, it gives for conclusions. Proof, not belligerent assertion. Logic, not legends. Coherance, not contradictions. This is our promise: this is the reason for REASON."

If that paragraph had been a musical composition, it could have been titled Fanfare for a Magazine. You can almost hear the drums and bugles.

And if young Friedlander hadn't been so ardent a pamphleteer, he might have made an even more effective graphic designer, for his cover art and illustrations were among the most striking and effective since the Soviet poster art of the 1920s.



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The Times, whose obituaries remain the best thing about that newspaper as it steadily dissolves into general NPRness, described Reason's founder as "an intuitive genius of design, publishing issues in the magazine's post-ditto period that had stark, evocative graphics; coolly elegant sans serif typefaces; and layouts that reinforced the editorial content." He seemed well on his way to stardom as a graphic artist with a minor in political philosophy of the Ayn Rand school.

For an ideologue dedicated to the worship of reason, Lanny Friedlander had a decidedly romantic streak that made his little magazine a work of art, its every issue anticipated.

Then something happened. The something had a name, or at least a catchall label: schizophrenia. It struck him in his early 20s and set him adrift. Unable to cope, Reason's editor and publisher had to sell the magazine to a group of its writers.

The magazine would eventually become a glossy publication with a circulation of 50,000, complete with a website that now records four million hits a month. Not to mention Reason.tv, which offers both original broadcasts and archival videos online. But its founder foundered.

An opponent of the draft, he enlisted in the Navy during the Vietnam War, but didn't make it overseas before his illness was noticed and he was discharged. He surfaced in New York, where he found work as a graphic designer and may have driven a taxi, like Robert de Niro's character in "Taxi Driver." He made a pilgrimage to Paris to visit the grave of Jim Morrison of The Doors, but the authorities there sent him home when his behavior grew erratic.

After that, he slipped from sight. Nick Gillespie, who runs Reason.tv, remembers looking for a picture of its founder to hang on the wall when Reason opened its Washington office in 2007. He couldn't find one. Any more than Lanny Friedlander could be found. He was lost in more ways than one. People wondered, when they did wonder about him, if he was dead or alive.

Then, last December, after Reason ran an article about recent advances in genomics -- the study of genes and the mapping of the genome -- the magazine's science editor got a letter from Mr. Friedlander. "I think you should take your thinking one step further," he wrote the editor, "and write about the prospects of immortality in the immediate future. I also wonder if magicians can reverse the effects of old age." The letter ended: "P.S. I started Reason magazine in 1968."

Sad.

Maybe he'd written the letter from one of the succession of psychiatric hospitals where he would largely spend the rest of his life. Or he might already have moved to the Veterans Affairs halfway house in Lowell, Mass., his last known residence. He resisted taking his medication, saying it slowed everything down -- like a 78 rpm record played at 33 1/3. The trajectory of his final years might be summed up as sad, sadder, saddest.

No more was heard of him till his obituary appeared. ("Lanny Friedlander, 63, of Reason Magazine, Dies"--New York Times, May 7, 2012) Requiescat in pace. At last.

Who knows what contributions such a mind unhindered by his mania might have made to the American political tradition? He might have founded a party of Pure Reason, or become a raging liberal in his old age, or somehow steered past the libertarian shoals and found safe harbor in the traditional conservatism of a Burke or Tocqueville.

Lest we forget, the godfather of American neoconservatism, Irving Kristol, began his intellectual parabola as a Trotskyite at City College of New York. He, too, founded a modest little magazine in his youth.

Lanny Friedlander's one, guiding idea still lives. It is the belief that all the issues in the world can be resolved by pure reason. Without reference to experience, prudence, tradition, custom or what Edmund Burke called moral sentiments. But this great believer in reason had lost his reason. Or rather everything but. To quote Chesterton: "The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. He is the man who has lost everything except his reason."

In the eyes of those who make a cult of reason, politics (and everything else in life) is reduced to a problem in logic, and the answer -- to everything -- should be as clear as a proof in plane geometry. That, too, is a form of madness.

Paul Greenberg Archives

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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