Five Best Tuesday Columns

Wael Ghonim on Egypt, Austin Goolsbee on Europe, Charles Lane on the death penalty, Jeffrey Goldberg on the Arab Spring, and Tom McNichol on Steve Jobs.

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Wael Ghonim in The New York Times on optimism in Egypt It was easy for Egyptians to be pessimistic about their revolution yesterday, even as they voted in Parliamentary elections; they've gone months without real change. Yet, "when it comes to Egypt's future, I am an optimist. Revolution is a process; its failure and success cannot be measured after only a few months, or even years. We must continue to believe," writes Ghonim, an engineer and internet activist. Ghonim outlines the demands of revolutionaries for the military to cede control and open dialogue with young protesters. He lists his reasons for optimism, including a young and newly outspoken generation, a proliferation of mass media, and  "a new sector of civil society." "The issue is not absolute optimism, but optimism through action. Beyond a demonstration or a sit-in or a march, our revolution will succeed only if we transform anger and fear into real actions intended to solve real, specific problems."

Austin Goolsbee in The Wall Street Journal on growth in Europe Goolsbee, a former economic adviser to President Obama, opens with a description of Bavarian king Ludwig II's misguided and incomplete construction of Neuschwanstein, a 19th century German castle on which Disney's theme parks are based. These days, "Europeans argue that the crisis comes from too much spending in the South, so they demand cuts. They believe that cuts can restore stability to the euro zone, but the endeavor feels increasingly Ludwiggian," Goolsbee argues. He says that reductions in excessive spending won't solve the crisis unless southern Europe finds a way to spur economic growth. And he uses historical example to show the dangers from regional economic imbalances. "Without growth there will always be another fiscal crisis ahead for yet another country unable to balance its budget but prevented from devaluing and exporting its way forward," he says.

Charles Lane in The Washington Post on Oregon's death penalty  Last week, Oregon Governor John Kitz­haber temporarily reprieved Gary Haugen, a death row inmate, from execution and put all state executions on hold until the end of his term. "If the death penalty is 'morally wrong,' as Kitzhaber says, and if Haugen's death sentence is the product of a 'broken' system, then the thing to do is permanently commute that sentence to life without parole, not offer a reprieve that the next governor might undo," writes Lane. He details Kitzhaber's argument that the issue is not just for him to decide, but he notes that the state's constitution gives governors the right to overturn death sentences, and governors have exercised the right in the past. Lane says the governor is trying to take both sides of the issue. "Kitzhaber claims to heed both his conscience and the voice of the people. It looks to me as though he is trying to get credit for moral courage without alienating anyone politically."

Jeffrey Goldberg in Bloomberg View on anti-Semitism in the Arab Spring There is much to praise about the Arab Spring, and it at first seemed the movement would be free of anti-Jewish sentiments that historically distracted Middle Eastern populations from taking on their own domestic problems. "But now in Cairo, and across the Arab Middle East, Israel and the Jews are serving once again as universal boogeymen," Goldberg writes. "This truth doesn't conform to the generally accepted narrative of the Arab Spring, but ignoring it won't make it disappear." Goldberg notes that Muammar Qaddafi, radically anti-Jewish in life, has been accused of being part Jewish in death. He outlines other anecdotal examples of anti-Jewish sentiment in Tunisia, Syria, and Egypt. "The Arab Spring should liberate people not only from oppressive rulers, but also from self-destructive and delusional patterns of belief," Goldberg says. "Anti-Semitism, the 'socialism of fools,' not only threatens the Israel-Egypt peace treaty and dehumanizes Jews. It also undermines rationality."

Tom McNichol in The Atlantic on Steve Jobs's jerkiness Reading Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs reveals not just his uncanny business sense, but also his ability to be a huge jerk, and it may mistakenly lead some managers to wonder whether they should emulate this side of him. "This sort of flawed thinking -- call it asshole logic -- isn't something that's necessarily endorsed by Jobs's biographer," writes McNichol. He argues that the rude side of Jobs's nature can be separated from many other qualities that contributed to his success, and he quotes research that shows that in most cases, fostering a hostile and cruel workplace is usually bad for business. Still, he notes that managers who are already kind of jerky will likely take the wrong lessons from Jobs's life to excuse their own behavior. "Being an asshole was part of the Steve package, but it wasn't essential to his success. But that's not a message most of the assholes in the corner offices want to hear."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.