The Origins of the Public and Private

Thoughts in and around geopolitics.

Last week, I wrote a piece about the virtues of private life and its centrality to the good life. I want to go deeper into the role of the private and public in Western civilization, and to show how complex and contentious the issue is. The place all such discussions must begin is the two cities that were the origins of Western civilization, Athens and Jerusalem. They were very different cities addressing similar issues in very different ways, but together, they were the foundation of Christianity, which until the recent Western enlightenment was the intellectual and spiritual heart of the West and therefore embodied the tensions between the two cities. Christianity is built on the Hebrew Bible, but also on ancient Greece. One of the strengths of Christianity derives not only from these origins but also from the way it constantly balances their differences. This can be seen clearly in the question of the home and private life. The ancient Greek word for the household was “oikonomos.” Say it out loud and you’ll notice that it gave us the word “economy.” The home was the place not only for sleeping and eating but also for pursuing a broader sense of […]

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George Friedman

George Friedman is an internationally recognized geopolitical forecaster and strategist on international affairs and the founder and chairman of Geopolitical Futures.

Dr. Friedman is also a New York Times bestselling author. His most recent book, THE STORM BEFORE THE CALM: America’s Discord, the Coming Crisis of the 2020s, and the Triumph Beyond, published February 25, 2020 describes how “the United States periodically reaches a point of crisis in which it appears to be at war with itself, yet after an extended period it reinvents itself, in a form both faithful to its founding and radically different from what it had been.” The decade 2020-2030 is such a period which will bring dramatic upheaval and reshaping of American government, foreign policy, economics, and culture.

His most popular book, The Next 100 Years, is kept alive by the prescience of its predictions. Other best-selling books include Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe, The Next Decade, America’s Secret War, The Future of War and The Intelligence Edge. His books have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Dr. Friedman has briefed numerous military and government organizations in the United States and overseas and appears regularly as an expert on international affairs, foreign policy and intelligence in major media. For almost 20 years before resigning in May 2015, Dr. Friedman was CEO and then chairman of Stratfor, a company he founded in 1996. Friedman received his bachelor’s degree from the City College of the City University of New York and holds a doctorate in government from Cornell University.