People interested in a thoughtful observance of George Washington’s birthday Presidents Day next Monday might want to drop in (or tune in to the live webcast) AEI’s panel this Friday from noon to 1:30 (eastern) on the subject of “First Among Equals: George Washington and the American Presidency,” which will feature a reading of Washington’s Farewell Address from Leon Kass, and commentary from Richard Brookhiser, Diana Schaub, Harvey Mansfield, and moi, specifically on the modern presidency. (Good thing there’s a new book on this theme.)
Concerning that book, here’s a brief excerpt of what it says about Washington:
Americans in 1787 knew they could count on the “moderation and virtue” of this one man enough to entrust him with this brand new and undefined office. Washington knew his decisions and actions would be crucial to whether the office—and the Constitution—would succeed for the ages. “Few who are not philosophical spectators,” he wrote, “can realize the difficult and delicate part which a man in my situation has to act. . . In our progress toward political happiness my station is new; and, if I may use the expression, I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn into precedent.”
Meanwhile, yesterday’s lunchtime book signing at Barnes & Noble at Union Station was fun, but what was more fun was noting the shelving of my books on the back wall. Because it is a smaller B & N, several categories of non-fiction books are shelved together in alphabetical order, which means, as the photo below shows, that my books are placed next to Hayek’s The Constitution of Liberty. Life doesn’t get much better than that.