The Dark Side of a Renaissance

Detail of portait of King Henry VIII by Hans Holbein the Younger, 1540. (Public domain/Wikimedia)
Liberalism in culture, education, and economics does not guarantee liberalism in the state. In fact, it more often produces the opposite.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE ‘R enaissance” is one of those words with almost exclusively positive connotations, like “democracy” and “equality.”

And if “renaissance” is a word that gives us warm fuzzies, it is because the original Renaissance was associated with a great many things we cherish — or at least pretend to cherish.

One of those (purportedly) cherished things is reading books. Before the development of Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press in the 15th century, books in the Western world had been mostly handwritten. Books were extraordinarily expensive, which meant that access to them was largely restricted to religious institutions and to a few very wealthy individuals. The availability

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