There aren’t many people who really put their life on the line for human freedom.
I would say I’m a 19th-century liberal, possibly even an 18th-century one.
I think the rise of quantitative econometrics and a highly mathematical approach to risk management was the obverse of a decline in interest in financial history.
It’s all very well for us to sit here in the West with our high incomes and cushy lives, and say it’s immoral to violate the sovereignty of another state. But if the effect of that is to bring people in that country economic and political freedom, to raise their standard of living, to increase their life expectancy, then don’t rule it out.
We historians are increasingly using experimental psychology to understand the way we act. It is becoming very clear that our ability to evaluate risk is hedged by all sorts of cognitive biases. It’s a miracle that we get anything right.
The real point of me isn’t that I’m good looking. It’s that I’m clever. I’ve got a brain! I would rather be called a highly intelligent historian than a gorgeous pouting one.
The rise of the West is, quite simply, the pre-eminent historical phenomenon of the second half of the second millennium after Christ.
One of the main arguments that I make in my new book, ‘The Great Degeneration,’ is that the rule of law in the U.S. is becoming the rule of lawyers.
I think that it is important to be gregarious, and that friendships are not just a leisure pursuit, that they are an integral part of what it is to be human, and one does better work if one has a circle of friends that is active.
As a teacher, my strategy is to encourage questioning. I’m the least authoritarian professor you’ll ever meet.