Review of ‘Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future’ by Johan Norberg

Johan Norberg, Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future (London, OneWorld, 2016). “Nothing is more responsible for the good old days,” wrote Franklin Pierce Adams, “than a bad memory.” The good old days, in other words, weren’t so … Continue reading Review of ‘Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future’ by Johan Norberg

The Wandering Appetite (Ecclesiastes 6:1–12)

Some time ago, I was speaking with a friend about the men she works with. They all are very well educated, hard working, and successful, at least in monetary terms. Most of them are married, and although they do not spend much time with their wives, they compensate for their personal absence with monetary presents. Are they happy? Do they have the ability to enjoy the wealth they have accumulated so far? Could they call it quits today and take pleasure in their wives, children, and hobbies? Evidently not. They are too competitive. They feel too strongly a need to … Continue reading The Wandering Appetite (Ecclesiastes 6:1–12)

Wealth, the Problematic Gift of God (Ecclesiastes 5:8–20)

In Ecclesiastes 5.8–20, the Preacher lists three problems with wealth but then, surprisingly, concludes that it is nevertheless a gift from God.[1] The first problem with wealth the Preacher identifies is the unholy nexus between wealth and oppression. Verses 8–9 are notoriously difficult to interpret because the Hebrew underlying them is enigmatic. The English Standard Version translates them as referring to corrupt government officials who oppress the poor, but are protected in their injustice by their bureaucratic superiors. This is probably the best reading of the text, and it highlights a perennial problem with government. In the words of Lord … Continue reading Wealth, the Problematic Gift of God (Ecclesiastes 5:8–20)

Vanity at Fashion Island (Ecclesiastes 2:1–11)

When I’m on vacation in California, I like to while away the hours at Fashion Island in Newport Beach. Not because of the fashion, mind you; I cannot afford the clothes most of the stores sell. No, I like to grab a Venti Chai Latte from Starbucks followed by book browsing at Barnes and Noble and lunch at La Salsa, capped off with a movie at the Big Edwards, which advertises itself “the largest screen west of the Mississippi.” If I am able to do all that when I visit California, I consider the trip to be a huge success. … Continue reading Vanity at Fashion Island (Ecclesiastes 2:1–11)