Saudi Arabia operates according to the belief that God made young men and women so utterly and completely without self-control that they must be physically segregated every moment of the day and night.
Last chances in the Middle East have been two a dirham since the 1950s. Each year the enmities are more profound, the despots more bloodthirsty and clownish, the violence more extreme, and the conditions of ordinary existence more ghastly.
Almost all novels are improved by cutting from the top. On their first pages, authors parade those favourite effects which disgust the impartial reader.
If good history is dispassionate history, it must naturally wait until the passions of the period subside.
Bulls don't read. Bears read financial history. As markets fall to bits, the bears dust off the Dutch tulip mania of 1637, the Banque Royale of 1719-20, the railway speculation of the 1840s, the great crash of 1929.
Nature is not simply a technical or economical resource, and human beings are not mere numbers. To suggest that one can somehow align all the squabbling institutions of science, environmental management, government and diplomacy in an alliance of convenience to regulate the global climate seems to me optimistic.
Unlike despotisms, modern democracies are not supposed promiscuously to accumulate property and then charge their taxpayers to maintain it. But that is what they do. Governments are always trying to extend their responsibilities and their estates, and it is very hard for parliaments to reign them in.
There are about 15 million Muslims in the EU. They face ignorance, insult and even persecution. They cannot be wished away. To impose Enlightenment freedoms is self-defeating. Anyway, the Muslims have their own enlightenment.
Suicidal violence is not the exclusive property of the Muslim world. Suicide bombings were a tactic of nationalist struggles in 19th-century Europe and Russia, the far east during the second world war and the Vietnam war, and in modern Sri Lanka.
Financial crises are like fireworks: they illuminate the sky even as they go pop.
In rising financial markets, the world is forever new. The bull or optimist has no eyes for past or present, but only for the future, where streams of revenue play in his imagination.
Of all the failed technologies that litter the onward march of science - steam carriages, zeppelins, armoured trains - none has been so catastrophic to prosperity as the last century's attempt to generate electricity from nuclear fission.
We read too much Shakespeare at school, and view our parliamentary politics as dynastic drama, in which an impatient crown prince frets at his long subordination and begins to scheme for the throne he knows he merits, was promised and has earned.
Rarely in modern times has there been such a revolution in commercial sentiment as occurred in 2008, or such a display in government and business of panic and helplessness.
A century ago, petroleum - what we call oil - was just an obscure commodity; today it is almost as vital to human existence as water.
Viewed from a distance, or through the eye of the All-Knowing CEO of the Universe, the crash of 2008 followed the usual pattern. A long-lived boom driven by cheap credit, going back as far as 1982 (though subject to interruptions in the mid-1980s and 1990s, and in 2001), came to grief because of a rise in the cost of borrowing money.
It is time to end the western policy of malign neglect. It is in the interest of the whole world to help tackle the actual grievances in Palestine, Kashmir, and in central and southern Iraq, and to help the region out of its economic backwardness.
The world dominion of western thought, forms of organisation, technology and military force is not God-given, nor eternal, nor greatly appreciated by the rest of the world.
In modern society, where most people live in cities, and where both needs and wishes are absolved through the same remote agency - money - the distinction between wishes and needs has altogether vanished.
Up until the Depression, recession had a moral character: it was supposed to purge the body economic of the greed and excess that attends a business expansion.