After the Vienna terrorist attack, my siblings across the Atlantic texted to check on family members who live in Austria. I reported that all were safe, but that one of my sons had been working in the immediate area and had heard the gunfire. My sister wrote back: “Active shooter situations are terrifying.” This short … Continue reading Active Shooter Situation
We are all so proud in Austria that Donald Trump has praised us for our excellent forestry management skills. If you missed the interview with Fox News, Mr. Trump explained that as a “forest nation” we live in “forest cities.” Also, although we have “more explosive trees” than in California we don’t have forest fires … Continue reading Austrian Tree Culture
Recently an article by Gudula Walterskirchen in the Austrian daily Die Presse about evidence based policy making (EBPM) caught my eye. EBPM has been kicking around since the 1980s. Essentially it is the idea that policy decisions should be based on comprehensive, meticulously established, objective evidence as opposed to intuition, ideology, or common sense. It … Continue reading Can EBPM work?
I am Austrian by choice and people often ask me: “What makes one Austrian?” To paraphrase F. Scott Fitzgerald: “Being Austrian is the ability to express two opposing emotions at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” Allow me to illustrate with an anecdote. This morning at the post box I saw one of my neighbors … Continue reading How to be Austrian
Astrid’s next book will be out in January, and her next manuscript is at the publisher – a Styrian noir. The protagonist: grumpy Inspector Semper in the violent crime unit of the state police. Astrid’s literary shift gave me reason to reflect on Austria’s crime novel boom. If you were to analyze Austria based on … Continue reading Murder & Mayhem
The Viennese have a macabre fascination with death and funerals. Strolling in Europe’s second largest cemetery is a common pastime and the city even boasts a funeral museum. Ensuring that one is a schöne Leich – a beautiful corpse – when passing is of primary importance to many Viennese. Although I no longer live in … Continue reading … i brauch ka schöne Leich …
Der griechische Philosoph und Staatstheoretiker Platon entwickelt in seinem Werk Politeia im 4. Jahrhundert vor Christus eine Theorie der Staatsformen, in der er von einem Verfassungskreislauf ausgeht, der schrittweise von der besten zur schlechtesten Verfassung führt. Durch Dekadenz, Tugendverfall und nachlassende Orientierung am Gemeinwohl werden gerechte Verfassungsordnungen korrumpiert. Die Demokratie ist darin nach Aristokratie, Timokratie … Continue reading Ist die Demokratie eine Verfallsform?