Culture

  • In This Number
    August 2020

    In This Number

    Chronicles Editor-In-Chief Prof. Paul Gottfried introduces the August 2020 issue and the four marquee pieces on the 75th anniversary of the atomic bomb drop.
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  • Polemics & Exchanges
    August 2020

    Polemics & Exchanges

    Paul Craig Roberts replies to Tom Pauken's comments on Buckley and Reagan from the June number. Prof. Trifkovic replies to a critique of his 'Monocultural Resilience.' And, Michael Leaser and Prof. Mark Brennan tussle over Pennsyltucky.
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  • A Bit of British Virtue Signaling
    August 2020

    A Bit of British Virtue Signaling

    The unrest in both America and Britain had a sense of mania, likely brought on by the fact that both populations were emerging from the lockdowns. Ordering people to stay inside for fear of catching a deadly virus can make people behave strangely.
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  • Don't Know Much About History
    August 2020

    Don't Know Much About History

    The most important step conservatives can take is to introduce younger Americans to history. The left has made sure that a sense of pervasive oppression is all most young Americans know about the past.
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  • Alien Intuitions
    August 2020

    Alien Intuitions

    George McCartney with commentary on The Vast of Night (2019), Shirley (2020), and Shadow of a Doubt (1943).
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  • U.S. Dream Turned UK Nightmare
    August 2020

    U.S. Dream Turned UK Nightmare

    The real agenda behind these riots is the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of a socialist police state. Racism is the excuse and the vehicle, but capitalism is the target.
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  • Seattle's Summer of Hate
    August 2020

    Seattle's Summer of Hate

    The Summer of Love signified an experiment in unfettered freedom of expression and peaceful self-rule which seemed to promise great things then. It bears little resemblance to the scenes on Seattle’s Capitol Hill as I have recently experienced them.
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  • Books in Brief
    August 2020

    Books in Brief

    The Shortest Way With Defoe—Robinson Crusoe, Deism, and the Novel, by Michael B. Prince (University of Virginia Press; 350 pp., $69.50). Simon the Fiddler, by Paulette Jiles (William Morrow; 352 pp., $27.99).
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  • Remembering George Grant
    August 2020

    Remembering George Grant

    Grant valued the particularity of the Canadian nation, her culture, history, traditions, and way of life. He predicted that technological capitalism and American imperialism would destroy this particularity. His admirers consider him prophetic.
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  • Antifa: Nazis Without a Plan
    August 2020

    Antifa: Nazis Without a Plan

    The antifascist left resembles the Nazis in a striking way, particularly when these earlier advocates of violence were on their way to power. Political movements often imitate those that they purport to stand in opposition to.
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  • Hobbes, the First Individualist
    August 2020

    Hobbes, the First Individualist

    Too many conservatives get Thomas Hobbes wrong. He was conclusively an individualist. Rather than pointing toward Hobbes as the progenitor of today’s authoritarian cultural revolutionists, conservatives might find more deserving culprits.
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  • A Decadent Diagnosis
    August 2020

    A Decadent Diagnosis

    In his most recent book, Ross Douthat analyzes our decadent society from several perspectives—cultural, political, and philosophical. He insists that decadence has interconnected economic, demographic, intellectual, and cultural factors.
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  • What the Editors Are Reading
    August 2020

    What the Editors Are Reading

    Catharine Savage Brosman reviews Marie-Henri Beyle's La Chartreuse de Parme and Stephen B. Presser reviews Saul Bellow's The Adventures of Augie March.
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  • Defending Ourselves Without Hate
    August 2020

    Defending Ourselves Without Hate

    Antifa and BLM are determined to wage war upon Christian patriots who love God and America. We need to find like-minded people, support their causes, and gather together to support one another in the defense of America and Western civilization.
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  • Artists, Punks, and Techies in the Golden City
    July 2020

    Artists, Punks, and Techies in the Golden City

    Time stands still for no one, and San Francisco’s neighborhoods are evolving organisms whether one likes it or not. Jay Kinney reflects on the changes he's seen in his four decades living there as a cartoonist, writer and editor.
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  • The Chinese Exclusion Act
    July 2020

    The Chinese Exclusion Act

    In 1882 Congress took steps to control Chinese immigration. From the start, the Chinese were different than other immigrants. They were sojourners in the U.S. who rejected the values of American society and carefully maintained their own culture.
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  • Aiming Aimlessly
    July 2020

    Aiming Aimlessly

    Chronicles Film Editor George McCartney reviews The Hunt (2020) and reflects on The Most Dangerous Game (1932) and The Candidate (1972).
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  • The Benefits of Solitude
    July 2020

    The Benefits of Solitude

    Solitude can offer a blissful disengagement from the horrors of modern-day life, even if it’s forced upon us by a government lockdown. Enforced solitude could even be a spiritual blessing...
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  • Greater Than the French Revolution
    July 2020

    Greater Than the French Revolution

    At the time, the Franco-Prussian War was a shocking and apocalyptic global event. We should not expect any explosion of commemoration on this 150th anniversary, but such neglect is badly mistaken.
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  • Anti-Semitism in Antiquity: The Case of Apion
    July 2020

    Anti-Semitism in Antiquity: The Case of Apion

    Contra Apionem is likely the first attempt in history to undermine an opponent through the charge of anti-Semitism: Josephus charged Apion with disrespecting the Jews by invidiously comparing them with the ancient Greeks.
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  • The Philosopher's Ball Game
    July 2020

    The Philosopher's Ball Game

    Vito Chiaravalloti artificially altered his body to become a better baseball player. He reviews Alva Noë's book Infinite Baseball, and reflects on the sport and what it means to be a modern human "cyborg," a mix of biology and technology.
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  • Remembering James Burnham

    Remembering James Burnham

    James Burnham gave us an understanding of what he termed the “managerial revolution,” in which the bourgeoisie has been replaced by a new class of managerial elites, educated technocrats that specialize in the management of large organizations.
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  • Cultural Radicalism Is the Problem, Not Bolshevism
    July 2020

    Cultural Radicalism Is the Problem, Not Bolshevism

    Today's cultural upheaval is not about Marxism, but the cultural radicalism of America's wealthy elites. The moneyed advocates of gay marriage and transgendered rights have abandoned the traditions of those devout Christians who created this country.
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  • Learning From Our Hard Corona Days
    June 2020

    Learning From Our Hard Corona Days

    The world has reached a new level of boredom, it seems. “The sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room,” wrote Blaise Pascal. That sentence, like others from the Pensées (1670), is deservedly famous.
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  • <em>Black Power</em> and the 1619 Project
    June 2020

    Black Power and the 1619 Project

    Radically recasting America’s formative years would be damaging enough, but The New York Times’ “1619 Project” is applying that same radical intellectual perspective on American history to contemporary social issues and problems.
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  • Monocultural Resilience
    June 2020

    Monocultural Resilience

    At the end of the ongoing global melodrama’s first quarter, it seems reasonable to predict that this will be a two-act play with the final curtain coming down in July. It will end as a tragedy, not because the outcome was preordained…
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  • The Pandemic of Godlessness
    June 2020

    The Pandemic of Godlessness

    It is a universally acknowledged truth that when epidemics strike, men and women turn to God.
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  • Virginia's Creeping Authoritarianism
    June 2020

    Virginia's Creeping Authoritarianism

    Even before the nationwide government crackdown in the wake of the COVID-19 virus, the unprecedented reaction of Virginia’s government against civilian protesters showcased the potential for authoritarianism to rear its head in America…
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  • Praying Alone
    June 2020

    Praying Alone

    When Americans look back on 2020, the year of the virus, they will see multiple transformations. I fear that some of the most sweeping changes will come in the realm of religion, marking a grim turning point in the story of American faith.
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  • Plague Literature: The Threshing Floor
    June 2020

    Plague Literature: The Threshing Floor

    Since plague is one of those natural disasters whose origin cannot be assigned to human agency, it can pose seemingly insoluble moral problems…Does God in fact directly will suffering, or does he merely permit it?
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  • Remembering Whittaker Chambers

    Remembering Whittaker Chambers

    At first glance, the personal history of Whittaker Chambers does not suggest a conservative frame of mind.
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  • <em>Books in Brief</em>
    June 2020

    Books in Brief

    The Art of Statistics, by David Spiegelhalter (Basic Books; 448 pp., $32.00). Uncanny Valley: A Memoir, by Anna Wiener (MCD; 288 pp., $27.00).
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  • What Price Victory—in the Coronavirus War?
    April/May 2020

    What Price Victory—in the Coronavirus War?

    The same day the number of U.S. dead from the coronavirus disease hit the 15,000 mark, we also crossed the 15 million mark on the number of Americans we threw out of work to slow its spread and "bend the curve." For each American lost to the...
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  • The Old Left Wasn't Very Leftist
    April/May 2020

    The Old Left Wasn't Very Leftist

    It would be impossible to imagine any shared moral ground between the left that existed in the 1930s and what today presents itself as their intellectual descendants.
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  • Family Finances
    April/May 2020

    Family Finances

    Parasite may be both the most amusing and the most horrifying movie of the year. That is, if you can get past its inept attempt at making a political statement.
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  • The Unclubbable
    April/May 2020

    The Unclubbable

    The late Joe Sobran used to refer to liberal high society as "the hive.” What Joe was highlighting were certain qualities that he associated with the fashionable left, e.g., extreme clannishness, the exclusion of those who deviated from...
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  • Books in Brief
    April/May 2020

    Books in Brief

    John DeJak reviews Václav Benda's The Long Night of the Watchman
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  • What the Editors Are Reading
    April/May 2020

    What the Editors Are Reading

    Reviews of Nassim Nicholas Taleb's Antifragile and Diego Gambetta's The Sicilian Mafia
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  • Polemics & Exchanges
    April/May 2020

    Polemics & Exchanges

    Prof. Brion McClanahan answers a critic of his "Reinventing Reconstruction" article in the February number
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  • #MeToo for Me, But Not for Thee
    April/May 2020

    #MeToo for Me, But Not for Thee

    Human nature does not change, at least not where the Hollywood types who hung around with Harvey Weinstein are concerned. Hypocrisy, not talent, is the number one commodity in Tinseltown.
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  • Letter from Twickenham: In Deepest Remainland
    April/May 2020

    Letter from Twickenham: In Deepest Remainland

    One would be hard pressed to find a more pleasant London neighborhood than the leafy suburb of Twickenham, where this author resides. Situated on the Thames River and immersed in history, Twickenham was for years a bastion of conservatism. In the...
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  • Loveline: Stealth Conservative Talk Radio
    April/May 2020

    Loveline: Stealth Conservative Talk Radio

    Some conservative converts got there by reading National Review and Whittaker Chambers’ Witness. Others watched leftist comrades become too radical, or saw the Soviet Union collapse, or recoiled at political correctness. The Loveline caller made a di
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  • Traditionalism Redux
    April/May 2020

    Traditionalism Redux

    War for Eternity strives to show that many modern national conservative and populist movements are paradoxically informed by the arcane intellectual current known as traditionalism.
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  • Coins of the Realm
    April/May 2020

    Coins of the Realm

    It is hard for us to imagine that ordinary people used to care about the design of public objects: coins, dollars, bridges, court houses, town halls, churches, schools, and even factories.... We need new coins to reflect our modern reality.
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  • The Politics of the Coronavirus
    March 2020

    The Politics of the Coronavirus

    In the United States, political biases have also been evident in responses to the virus. Republicans are stressing the dire economic consequences of the shutdown and warn about doing irreparable destruction to our material well-being.
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  • Must We Kill the Economy To Kill the Virus?
    March 2020

    Must We Kill the Economy To Kill the Virus?

    President Trump is said to be privately expressing a deepening concern at the damage the coronavirus shutdown is doing to the U.S. economy and debating whether it can be safely reopened. Though castigated for his remark, Trump has a point.
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  • Are Americans All-In for a Long Coronavirus War?
    March 2020

    Are Americans All-In for a Long Coronavirus War?

    Will Americans suffer in social isolation, inside their own homes for months, while a state-induced Great Depression washes over the land?
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  • The World's Values
    March 2020

    The World's Values

    1917 • La Grande Illusion (1937) • Paths of Glory (1957) • Uncut Gems

    Sam Mendes’ new film, 1917, is a rigorous examination of what it was like to be a low-ranking officer in the Great War. The film follows—literally, with a...
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  • Sir Roger Scruton: Britain's Culture Warrior
    March 2020

    Sir Roger Scruton: Britain's Culture Warrior

    I first heard Roger Scruton speak at the 1993 regional Philadelphia Society meeting in Dearborn, Michigan, organized to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Russell Kirk’s The Conservative Mind. Scruton spoke on the topic of “The Conservative Mind...
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  • <em>Books in Brief</em>
    March 2020

    Books in Brief

    Journalist Tyler O’Neil of PJ Media has been busy. From roughly around the time of the Charlottesville racial conflagration in 2017 to the filling of the inkwells that were used to print this book, O’Neil has covered various aspects of the...
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  • The Myth of Nazi Inevitability
    March 2020

    The Myth of Nazi Inevitability

    Lately, I’ve been studying a segment of German history about which I knew little as compared with the period before World War I or the great German cultural awakening between 1770 and 1820, sometimes characterized as die Goethezeit. Germany’s...
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  • How Communism Saved the Eastern Bloc from Cultural Marxism
    March 2020

    How Communism Saved the Eastern Bloc from Cultural Marxism

    Despite living under nearly a century of oppressive, conformist, Soviet-style Communism, Eastern Bloc nations have somehow maintained strong senses of cultural, religious, linguistic, and ethnic identities. What’s more, they arguably have...
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  • Meet the Markles
    March 2020

    Meet the Markles

    I never thought I’d get back to this silly subject for Chronicles ever again, but the Markles—as I now refer to them—have a way of getting our attention, and embarrassing Al Capone in the process. As the Feds were closing in on him, Al was told...
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  • And a Little Child Shall Mislead Them
    March 2020

    And a Little Child Shall Mislead Them

    Swedish activist Greta Thunberg has become a vastly influential force in the discussion of global climate change. Even so, policy makers are reluctant to challenge her because her global reputation verges on the hagiographic. Conservative...
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  • Remembering H. L. Mencken

    Remembering H. L. Mencken

    H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) may no longer seem relevant, but that is not his fault. Mencken was a well-read bon vivant with a taste for Teutonic philosophy and a fidelity to what he understood as truth. He was also a brilliant satirist, a longtime...
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  • White Man's Soul Music
    March 2020

    White Man's Soul Music

    Johnny Cash’s At Folsom Prison was the first album I ever had of my own, a Christmas gift from my parents. I listened to that album over and over on the stereo my parents had given me that year, sprawled out on the floor of the living room of the...
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  • Singin' the Publishing Blues
    March 2020

    Singin' the Publishing Blues

    I like a traveling circus. The American Historical Association’s annual conference periodically sets up its tent at the New York Hilton. Since I live nearby, I subject myself to its clown car of characters every half decade. But this year, I saw...
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  • <em>What the Editors Are Reading</em>
    March 2020

    What the Editors Are Reading

    Perhaps the greatest American autobiography in both the quality of its writing and the import of its content is Whittaker Chambers’ Witness (1952). Sadly, it’s also one of the most neglected by the country’s leftist-dominated intelligentsia.
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  • Lighting Up History
    March 2020

    Lighting Up History

    When it comes to social hierarchy, smokers are only a few notches above pedophiles. Yes, smokers are bad, they smell terrible, and they cost us money—and everyone knows it. One would expect the “smokers bad” message to saturate The Cigarette. Surp
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  • The Real White Negro
    February 2020

    The Real White Negro

    There were many wannabe Lucifers in mid-century America, from Saul Alinsky to Herbert Marcuse, but nobody combined sulfur with venom, hate with dead-on aim, the way Norman Mailer did. East Coast revolutionary to the core, Mailer—who once nearly...
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  • Remembering Albert Jay Nock
    February 2020

    Remembering Albert Jay Nock

    As a conservative “anarchist” and non-interventionist with anti-vocational views on education, Albert Jay Nock (1870-1945) can seem paradoxical. His influence was lasting and he took unconventional stances on many topics. He viewed conservatism...
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  • It's Not Okay to Be White
    February 2020

    It's Not Okay to Be White

    The left now roundly denounces anyone to the right of Jeb Bush as a “white nationalist,” which it appears is now being equated with “white supremacist,” with the apparently immortal Adolph Hitler acting as the once-and-future ringleader of a...
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  • Culture and Peoples
    February 2020

    Culture and Peoples

    In a widely noted commentary on the achievements and failures of Sam Francis in the October issue of First Things, author Matthew Rose offers this conclusion: Francis claimed that he sought only to defend Western culture. It is impossible to...
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  • Dabney's Blind Spot
    February 2020

    Dabney's Blind Spot

    I read with interest the article by Zachary Garris on Robert Lewis Dabney (“Remembering R. L. Dabney,” December 2019). Having myself graduated from Hampden-Sydney College, where he taught, and being Presbyterian, I have had some interest in his...
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  • Afghan Disinformation
    February 2020

    Afghan Disinformation

    During the Second World War the German High Command issued regular bulletins about the situation on various fronts. They had a triumphalist tone in 1940, when France fell, and in 1941, when it looked like the Red Army would collapse, but the core...
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  • Hot Air Raids
    February 2020

    Hot Air Raids

    Global warming is still a “maybe,” but in the Swiss Alps the visual evidence is undeniable. The glacier I used to ski on has disappeared, and man-made snow is pumped out daily in its place. The once-small alpine village from where I write this...
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  • Self-Sufficient Faction
    February 2020

    Self-Sufficient Faction

    I much enjoyed Prof. Gottfried’s response in the January issue, “Was Civil Rights Right?”, in which he wrote, “Although I am happy that racial segregation has ended, I am far less pleased with other changes that have come about because of social...
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  • Outrage and Censorship
    January 2020

    Outrage and Censorship

    I began my journalistic career under strict censorship. It was imposed on the press and media by the Greek colonels who had seized power in a bloodless coup in Athens on April 21, 1967. Censorship, however, suited me fine. That’s because I was an...
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  • Remembering the Twenty-Teens
    January 2020

    Remembering the Twenty-Teens

    Decades provide a useful, if not infallible, structure for organizing and understanding our historical experience. However frayed and disputed their limits, terms like “the twenties,” or “the eighties” each conjure their particular images and...
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  • An Austrian Frame of Mind
    January 2020

    An Austrian Frame of Mind

    Professor Janek Wasserman, to his credit, is not a polemicist. His new book is indeed a leftist critique of the broad school of economic thought now colloquially referred to as “Austrian,” but it is not only that. It is also a lively and...
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  • Is Seattle Dying?
    January 2020

    Is Seattle Dying?

    Not long ago, I found myself sitting one sunny Friday afternoon in the Unity Museum in Seattle, notebook in hand, as a group of fresh-faced college undergraduates participated in a debate over whether or not their city is dying. The general...
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  • Zombie Theology
    December 2019

    Zombie Theology

    I teach theology courses at a non-denominational, evangelical Christian high school outside of Fort Worth, Texas. We study the history of the Christian faith, work our way chapter and verse through at least 15 books of the Bible over the span of...
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  • Twitter Princess
    November 2019

    Twitter Princess

    The Republic is in crisis. America’s intellectual class is working to discredit our past. The media is waging war against the middle-class values of hard work, religion, and family. In order not to be outdone, Hollywood’s message is more...
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  • Ohio Gets Nice on Crime
    November 2019

    Ohio Gets Nice on Crime

    In my new home of Ashland, Ohio, there is a sign that welcomes all comers to “The World Headquarters of Nice People.” It seemed to me as if the entire town conspired to make my move as pleasant as could be. This is “Midwestern Nice” in a...
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  • Think of the Children
    November 2019

    Think of the Children

    It seems things don’t change much after all. Consider these recent hysterical comments. “There’s scientific consensus that the lives of children are going to be very difficult,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, age 30. “And it does lead, I...
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  • NY Cops Retreat From the Heat
    October 2019

    NY Cops Retreat From the Heat

    The English actor Beatrice Lillie had no inkling of 2019’s sweltering summer heat in 1931 when she debuted Noël Coward’s ditty “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” in the Broadway musical The Third Little Show. The...
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  • Our Culture of Narcissism
    October 2019

    Our Culture of Narcissism

    Most Chronicles readers will no doubt recall the sordid Jussie Smollett hoax, which played out over the course of almost three months early this year in a scenario that might have been scripted for reality TV. Given the media’s...
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  • The Grip on Comedy Slips
    October 2019

    The Grip on Comedy Slips

    Comedy has long been under the left’s control, as just one province of the U.S. entertainment empire centered in Hollywood—which is itself a bastion of leftist control over mainstream culture. But comedy is a rebellious province by its nature, as...
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  • The Broken Promise of American Cities
    September 2019

    The Broken Promise of American Cities

    There is a saying used in California when the going gets tough: “At least we have the weather.” No matter how expensive, dangerous, unclean, and generally inhospitable the state’s cities become, “at least we have the weather,” Californians say, as if
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  • The British Invasion of the Ozarks
    September 2019

    The British Invasion of the Ozarks

    Chronicles readers may recall my “Old Route 66” (September 2013) and “Keep the Water on Your Right” (February 2015) motorcycle travelogues, in which I rode through small towns and rural areas to reconnect with the land and people of America. A...
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  • That Culture Thing
    August 2019

    That Culture Thing

    We have been long-time subscribers and readers. Chronicles is one of many periodicals, newspapers, journals, magazines, books we read expressing thoughts that span the political idea spectrum. You state that you are a magazine of American culture. I
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  • Big Tech Joins the Culture War
    July 2019

    Big Tech Joins the Culture War

    The Silicon Valley censors have struck again. This time it’s against James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas for sins related to the practice of journalism, namely publishing documents allegedly exposing anti-Christian bias on the social media platform Pinte
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  • Against the Barbarians
    July 2019

    Against the Barbarians

    The 21st century is a return to the Age of Walls. As historian and archeologist David Frye writes in his important new book, Walls: A History of Civilization in Blood and Brick, few have noticed that a new era of wall building is now upon us,...
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  • Getting Real About Reparations
    June 2019

    Getting Real About Reparations

    The call for slavery reparations is reverberating throughout the land once again. It will be entertaining to watch the Democratic presidential candidates for 2020 position themselves on this topic.
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  • Tethered and Beleaguered
    June 2019

    Tethered and Beleaguered

    Jordan Peele is the executive producer of the revived Twilight Zone series now streaming on CBS All Access. The original series fascinated him when he was a boy and he was determined to revive it.
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  • Notre Dame and the Lost ‘Means of Culture’
    June 2019

    Notre Dame and the Lost ‘Means of Culture’

    The fire that gutted Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris during Holy Week was no doubt caused by nothing more banal than negligent builders doing restoration work on the roof. Nevertheless it compelled all of us to search for a deeper explanation.
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  • Covington Catholic and the Hour of Decision
    June 2019

    Covington Catholic and the Hour of Decision

    Except for my time in college and a few years living in Washington, D.C., I have spent my entire life in Central Kentucky. I live less than 90 miles from Covington Catholic High School, and like most Kentuckians, I was familiar with the school ...
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  • The Death of Comedy
    June 2019

    The Death of Comedy

    The left hates comedy. It subverts and challenges the dicta of the liberal hegemony, and is closed down whenever possible. The Left has had notable successes, especially in Britain, where I can point precisely to the roughly two decades in which...
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  • Not ‘Woke’ and Not Sorry
    June 2019

    Not ‘Woke’ and Not Sorry

    “Woke” is the concept that everything must be inclusive and inoffensive. Oh dear! Being hyperaware of everyone’s sensitivities makes one a hell of a bore. I recently flew down to Charlottesville, Virginia, where I had gone to university, to speak...
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  • The Lady of the Camellias
    June 2019

    The Lady of the Camellias

    I once asked a most discriminating gentleman, who had studied singing, which opera he would call his favorite. He named La traviata. Since then, René Weis has lent support to his opinion at fascinating length in his book, The Real Traviata: The...
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  • Healthcare in a Humane Society
    May 2019

    Healthcare in a Humane Society

    The night had started off great. A few weeks earlier I had agreed to speak at the New York premiere of the American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks’s forthcoming documentary The Pursuit.
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  • The Left: A History of Violence

    The Left: A History of Violence

    The sight of American leftists getting on their moral high horses to attribute blame to conservatives for the growth of political violence in America is exasperating, to say the least.
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  • Rough Men, Rough Language

    Rough Men, Rough Language

    My father is an Army veteran, a former auto-body worker, and a retired policeman who for many years worked undercover in vice and narcotics. Needless to say, associating with his friends and colleagues and loitering around the body shop while...
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  • Protectionism as a Path to Piety
    May 2019

    Protectionism as a Path to Piety

    Frédéric Bastiat’s Candlestick Makers’ Petition, an open letter to the French Parliament written in 1845, gets trotted out by free-trade fundamentalists every time anyone says the word tariff.
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  • Sufficient to the Day
    May 2019

    Sufficient to the Day

    I take a lot of pictures. I am old enough to have spent thousands of dollars on film and photo developing over three decades, from my late single digits up until about the age of 35.
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  • Unplug Your P.C.
    May 2019

    Unplug Your P.C.

    OK, sport fans, get your wallets out and start giving. That’s the latest brainstorm from a New York Times columnist who makes an unconvincing case for reparations to black people.
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  • Borders and Other Silly Concerns
    April 2019

    Borders and Other Silly Concerns

    My housekeeper personifies the American Dream. Her journey from rags may not have ended in riches. But she now enjoys a solid middle-class existence after decades of backbreaking labor. Born and raised in the Mexican state of Puebla, Laura...
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  • Happy Warriors
    April 2019

    Happy Warriors

    For decades, conservative commentators and writers have told anyone who would listen that America is going to hell in a handbag. James Burnham’s Suicide of the West, John Derbyshire’s We Are Doomed, Pat Buchanan’s Suicide of a Superpower, Mark...
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  • Returning to Earth
    April 2019

    Returning to Earth

    What lies at the root of the abstractionism that I discussed last month, which afflicts the modern world like a mania, especially here in the United States? Walker Percy dubbed the phenomenon angelism, by which he did not mean that those who...
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  • Opera Near & Far
    April 2019

    Opera Near & Far

    My relationship with Barnes & Noble is fraught with emotion simply because it is a big bookstore, among other things. And I am one of those types—an inveterate reader—who is easily hooked.
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  • Poet Against Empire
    April 2019

    Poet Against Empire

    When I mention that I am reading Robinson Jeffers, even cultivated and well-read people look bemused; the name seems obscure. By way of explanation, I borrow the closing words of the classic gangster film The Roaring Twenties: “He used to be a...
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  • Migrant Dreams and Nightmares
    April 2019

    Migrant Dreams and Nightmares

    On Thursday January 17, news broke in the Netherlands that a Dutch journalist had been expelled from Turkey. Ans Boersma, 31, had been detained the day before in Istanbul when she applied to renew her residence visa.
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  • James Howard: Two-Theater Double Ace
    April 2019

    James Howard: Two-Theater Double Ace

    One would think the only American fighter pilot to earn the Medal of Honor in World War II in Europe would be remembered and honored, or at least mentioned in history textbooks in high school and college. No such luck today.
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  • The Thousand Faces of “Me”
    April 2019

    The Thousand Faces of “Me”

    In 1976 New York published a lengthy essay, “The ‘Me’ Decade and the Third Great Awakening,” by the reporter and novelist Tom Wolfe, who died last year, aged 88. Wolfe argued that mass prosperity in the postwar era had erased the historical...
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  • Race and the Classless Society
    April 2019

    Race and the Classless Society

    A few months ago I was on a long plane ride when something rather startling happened: Someone sitting near me was actually polite. He was in the seat immediately in front of mine, and before reclining he turned to look over his shoulder and...
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  • No Message Could’ve Been Any Clearer
    April 2019

    No Message Could’ve Been Any Clearer

    Michael Jackson is the mirror of the children of liberal America, even though he is dead. Obsessed with their appearance, they keep hacking away at their features until they are unrecognizable as humans.
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  • Homage to Edward Abbey
    March 2019

    Homage to Edward Abbey

    The March issue of Chronicles coincides with the 30th anniversary of the passing of novelist, essayist, poet, and conservationist Edward Abbey.
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  • Steve Bannon’s Gladiator School: A View From Within
    March 2019

    Steve Bannon’s Gladiator School: A View From Within

    Here, in this huge deserted monastery founded in 1204, which has 15,000 square meters of roof, President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist and the former chief executive of Breitbart News, Stephen K. Bannon, has founded what he told me will...
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  • Ignoble Savages, Part 3
    March 2019

    Ignoble Savages, Part 3

    Toxic is the combination of equality and evolution, of Rousseau and Darwin. Blended together and served upon the paps of public schools, television, and social media, they are the essential ingredients of the gall-milk of the postmodern world.
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  • Life Is Not a Fantasy
    March 2019

    Life Is Not a Fantasy

    The reality of place has weighed heavily on me from a very young age. My knowledge of self has always been inseparable from the place in which I live.
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  • From Such Turn Away
    March 2019

    From Such Turn Away

    Dr. Daniel Mahoney, the Augustine Chair in Distinguished Scholarship at Assumption College, has written a most scholarly and challenging book, in which he argues that “humanitarianism” without grounding in faith is a danger to our civilization.
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  • Opera Without Meaning
    March 2019

    Opera Without Meaning

    Last year, in a January 3 review published by the Daily Telegraph, Hannah Furness made some remarkable assertions concerning the presentation of traditional operas on the modern stage.
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  • Your Pink Hat Is Transphobic
    March 2019

    Your Pink Hat Is Transphobic

    If Madonna were a standard white person, her appearance at the August 2018 MTV Video Music Awards . . . would have brought the leftist brownshirts snarling like rabid coons into the streets and onto the Sunday talk shows.
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  • An Infrastructure of Crumbs and Bananas
    February 2019

    An Infrastructure of Crumbs and Bananas

    The current American cultural and economic transformation, which arguably started in the late 20th century, is now approaching its nadir. Americans will more likely mourn this transition than celebrate it.
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  • Ignoble Savages, Part 2
    February 2019

    Ignoble Savages, Part 2

    The body of the hapless American missionary John Chau has been abandoned to the North Sentinelese. By the lights of the Indian government and the leaders of the Western world, the savages may do with it as they please.
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  • What Beto Revealed
    February 2019

    What Beto Revealed

    For Texas conservatives, a surprisingly strong showing by Democrats in their deep-red state in November’s midterm election was an unexpected wake-up call. The results also set me to thinking about my own personal history with the Lone Star State.
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  • Dowering Our Daughters
    February 2019

    Dowering Our Daughters

    The world lacks drinking games relating to women’s studies, so here’s a suggestion: If you can get a women’s studies stalwart to say the word coverture before the conversation’s second minute elapses, throw one back for the 21st Amendment.
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  • Designer Asylum
    February 2019

    Designer Asylum

    Because of the Internet, old-fashioned travel agents are nearly as obsolete as ocean-going passenger liners. In their place a new sort of agent is arising: the migrant or asylum agent, formerly known as the people smuggler.
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  • The Fatherland and the Nation
    February 2019

    The Fatherland and the Nation

    Allen Tate, in 1952, argued that the first duty of the man of letters in the postwar world was to purify the language from the corruptions introduced by ideology and the destruction, more than physical, wrought by the recent world war.
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  • What Is Populism?
    February 2019

    What Is Populism?

    Dining out with my wife in a restaurant in Paris recently, I became aware of the well-dressed Frenchman seated with his wife two tables away from us listening in on our conversation. The table for two between us was unoccupied.
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  • March On
    February 2019

    March On

    What you might find on a long walk, a determined walk, a walk of exploration, you never know, of course, until you take the next step. And the next; and the next—in Rory Stewart’s case, across the constantly revelatory terrain of the borderlands...
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  • Picture This
    February 2019

    Picture This

    Last year, just before his 21st birthday, my son Jacob learned of a condition called aphantasia. In its strictest form, aphantasia is the inability to create mental images.
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  • The <em>Carnaval</em> Prank Was On Me
    February 2019

    The Carnaval Prank Was On Me

    Sometimes the best things come in distorting packages, no matter how good they are. And sometimes that good is itself misleading when it has great appeal, or even particularly then.
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  • Tucker Carlson’s Firebell
    February 2019

    Tucker Carlson’s Firebell

    Tucker Carlson shook the punditariat, liberal and conservative alike, with his incisive analysis, delivered during one of his show monologues, of the breakdown of the American family, a genuine four-alarm crisis that cannot be exaggerated.
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  • Ignoble Savages, Part 1
    January 2019

    Ignoble Savages, Part 1

    Hardly anyone thought much about the mysterious inhabitants of North Sentinel Island, whom we call the Sentinelese (because we have no idea what else to call them), until the close of November in the Year of Our Lord 2018.
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  • Displaced Persons
    January 2019

    Displaced Persons

    In an age of anti-elite anger, it might seem otiose to publish an academic analysis of aristocratic ideas in Western thought. But as the post-1945 order rattles itself to pieces, it is time to look past its bankrupted beliefs and discredited...
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  • Pontius Pilate, Ora Pro Nobis
    January 2019

    Pontius Pilate, Ora Pro Nobis

    To the leaders of the Free Speech Movement of the 1960’s, self-censorship was as dangerous as the social enforcement of civility by private organizations and by public educational institutions, and those social norms were, in turn, just as...
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  • Chopin’s Life and Times
    January 2019

    Chopin’s Life and Times

    Alan Walker has insisted, at the very beginning of his massive new biography of Chopin, that the composer has today a unique global reputation and appeal. And when we consider the evidence that justifies his claims, we must admit that this...
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  • Mortal Coils
    January 2019

    Mortal Coils

    Homosexuals make up two-to-four percent of the population, yet many assume their number is higher, much higher: 23 percent, according to a 2015 Gallup poll. It’s easy to understand why.
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  • Degenerate <em>Homo</em>
    January 2019

    Degenerate Homo

    Let’s begin 2019 with some truths and a few admissions: We humans have been evolving for some time now, but not really. Only a few decades ago we were certain that the oldest human fossil was a small-brained female by the name of Lucy.
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  • Clashes of Cultures
    January 2019

    Clashes of Cultures

    Events this past week in Paris remind me of my step-sister Amanda, Lady Harlech, who is usually described—much to her chagrin—as the “muse” of the 85-year-old gay kaiser of the fashion world, Karl Lagerfeld.
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  • #MeToo: Stalinism in Drag
    January 2019

    #MeToo: Stalinism in Drag

    We live in a Puritan country, in which self-righteousness is eternally wedded to cheap theatrics. This explains the dual phenomena of Meryl Streep and Hollywood’s earnest commitment to distributing her films to every country on the planet.
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  • Lost and Found in America
    January 2019

    Lost and Found in America

    One Saturday night last summer I found myself sitting on a warm, grassy knoll outside Missoula, Montana, watching a blood-red sun set behind a cup in the hills with the snow-fringed Bitterroot Mountains beyond, while in the foreground an elfin,...
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  • Citizen Sunflower and America’s Future
    December 2018

    Citizen Sunflower and America’s Future

    Cancer imposes innumerable indignities on its victims. In addition to possible death, the disease, its complications, and its treatment also force patients through the most inhumane gauntlet of our health-care system.
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  • Meet the Tiger
    December 2018

    Meet the Tiger

    “When I was young and stupid,” said George W. Bush, and we have no reason to doubt him on it, “I was young and stupid.” It is a double tautology. He might as well have said, “When I was young,” and left it at that.
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  • Blowing for Elkhart
    December 2018

    Blowing for Elkhart

    Hobbled as I am by residual injury—I wear an ankle brace and limp a bit—and wheeling a large cornet/flugelhorn case, I was grateful when a man much younger than I held open a door for me as I entered the lobby for Elkhart’s Lerner Theatre.
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  • Lost Generations
    December 2018

    Lost Generations

    “You are all a lost generation,” Gertrude Stein is said to have told Ernest Hemingway when he and his first wife were living in Paris after the Great War.
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  • Christmas in Sodom
    December 2018

    Christmas in Sodom

    How do you celebrate Christmas in Sodom? I know—it’s not a cheery thought. And by posing the question, I run the risk of anachronism.
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  • Quod Scripsi, Scripsi
    December 2018

    Quod Scripsi, Scripsi

    Words have meaning. We live our lives, for the most part, in a world in which, on a clear spring day, one can say, “The sky is blue,” and everyone else will cheerfully agree (or wonder why you’re bothering to state the obvious).
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  • <em>Books in Brief</em>
    December 2018

    Books in Brief

    I need to be fair to this book, because the author, a concert pianist and writer who worked for a decade as a classical-music critic for the New York Times, certainly knows her stuff so far as opera goes.
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  • Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music
    December 2018

    Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music

    I had long been in search of a pretext for writing a column on sex, drugs, and classical music when I discovered that, by extraordinary coincidence, just such a subtitle adorned Blair Tindall’s memoir, Mozart in the Jungle (2005).
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  • Out of Troy
    December 2018

    Out of Troy

    Author of several novels and a memorable autobiographical work entitled Our Father’s Fields (1998), as well as a leading light of the Abbeville Institute, James Kibler has produced in the present work an indispensable study of the classical...
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  • A Tour of Overtures
    November 2018

    A Tour of Overtures

    We somehow owe it to ourselves to contemplate the useful word sinfonia, one that once denoted the overture to an opera and suggested a pleasing combination of sounds. So yes—the term that denotes the tradition of symphony is derived from another...
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  • Lilliputian Fantasies
    November 2018

    Lilliputian Fantasies

    I’m late commenting on Alexander Payne’s Downsizing for the simple reason that the film became all but unavailable within what seemed a couple of weeks of its opening in December 2017.
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  • From Silent Sam to Screaming Selfies
    November 2018

    From Silent Sam to Screaming Selfies

    In the wake of the August 20 toppling of Silent Sam, a monument to North Carolina students who volunteered to become Confederate soldiers in 1861-65, our television screens were filled with images of scraggly, rough-bearded Millennial men and...
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  • A Generation in Need of Editing
    November 2018

    A Generation in Need of Editing

    As I noted last month, conservatives in the United States have long ceded the realms of literature and art (here broadly construed to include all forms of imaginative media, including music, theater, and film) to the forces of the left.
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  • Our Inner Mason-Dixon
    November 2018

    Our Inner Mason-Dixon

    About a hundred years before the Civil War, two British surveyors, Jeremiah Mason and Charles Dixon, with a crew of ax-men, marked out 270 miles of wilderness. They set a stone at every mile, and another grander one embossed with the arms of the...
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  • Age of the F-Bomb
    November 2018

    Age of the F-Bomb

    The suppression of manners and the power of the halfwit elite
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  • Egon Richard Tausch, R.I.P.
    October 2018

    Egon Richard Tausch, R.I.P.

    Chronicles has lost a longtime writer and friend, Egon Richard Tausch, who passed away on July 27. In Egon was found both brilliance and humility, a rare combination reflecting his Christian faith.
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  • Stepping Up to the Plate
    October 2018

    Stepping Up to the Plate

    At the end of Garet Garrett’s Rise of Empire, the grizzled old prophet of the dystopia we’re living in held out hope to his conservative comrades and their intellectual descendants.
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  • The Legacy of Leon Redbone
    October 2018

    The Legacy of Leon Redbone

    Leon Redbone left the scene in 2015—I don’t mean that he expired, but simply that he retired. There was mention at the time of health concerns, but he was through with television appearances and concerts and touring, and with recording as well.
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  • Butch Cassidy, Part 1
    October 2018

    Butch Cassidy, Part 1

    Starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was a smash success when it was released in 1969. Surprisingly, the movie generally follows the actual events of Butch Cassidy’s outlaw life.
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  • Racing
    October 2018

    Racing

    Spike Lee’s latest film, BlacKkKlansman, is an adaptation of Ron Stallworth’s memoir of his experiences as Colorado Springs’ first black policeman in 1972. As you might imagine his tenure was not without its trials.
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  • The Angry Summer
    October 2018

    The Angry Summer

    According to the Washington Post, McAllen, Texas is an “all-American city,” albeit one “that speaks Spanish.” So it’s small wonder that “immigration isn’t a problem for this Texas town—it’s a way of life.”
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  • The Catfish Binary, Part 2
    October 2018

    The Catfish Binary, Part 2

    Aquaculture—farming water for food as opposed to fishing it—is as old as civilization. The Romans did it; so did Mrs. Martin Luther. But catfish farming is an American industry, something of a native-born wonder.
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  • Chewing the Toad
    October 2018

    Chewing the Toad

    There’s a sucker born every minute. For just $99.00 and a used ticket stub for Wonder Woman, if you order by midnight tonight, you can enroll in a course on Healing Toxic Whiteness.
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  • Drain the Swamp
    October 2018

    Drain the Swamp

    The most remarkable aspect of Bruce Springsteen’s performance at the 2018 Tony Awards wasn’t what he said or that he said it, but the unanimous acclaim with which it was greeted by both the assembled audience and those who viewed it at home.
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  • Capitol Obsequies
    October 2018

    Capitol Obsequies

    It used to be said of the Anglican Church that it was “the Tory Party at prayer.” On the occasion of Sen. John McCain’s funeral service in Washington National Cathedral last September 1, the United States and the world were given another...
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  • Teddy Wilson and the Swing Era Vocalists
    September 2018

    Teddy Wilson and the Swing Era Vocalists

    Midway through Billie Holiday’s plaintive 1941 recording of “Jim,” there is a short piano solo barely 25 seconds in length—not even a full 32-bar chorus—by Teddy Wilson.
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  • Foregone Conclusions
    September 2018

    Foregone Conclusions

    Here’s a question for you: Could the “monster” of the #MeToo movement get a fair trial anywhere in these United States? Is there a potential jury member that has not made up his mind that Harvey Weinstein raped, mistreated, and oppressed women?
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  • <em>What the Editors Are Reading</em>
    September 2018

    What the Editors Are Reading

    Every morning I go through the New York Times (faster and more selectively with each week that passes), the (London) Daily Telegraph, and Le Figaro (it has some strong conservative writers, like Luc Ferry, and interesting essays and well-done...
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  • The Pavarotti Effect
    September 2018

    The Pavarotti Effect

    I have been told that there is something called the “Pavarotti Effect,” and that this phenomenon is observable and definable. Perhaps sometimes the Pavarotti Effect was an affect, or perhaps it was subsumed by the “Superstar Effect,” as Sherwin...
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  • Steeling Ourselves for the Future
    September 2018

    Steeling Ourselves for the Future

    Many a new genre of journalism has sprung up thanks to President Trump. The latest is the “victims of tariffs” industry profile.
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  • Uber Über Odor
    August 2018

    Uber Über Odor

    My wife and I obey a simple rule regarding our leisure travel: She makes the plans; I follow them. Since she enjoys researching hotels and locations, and my tastes overlap with hers, we find it easier for her to do all the planning without any...
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  • American Shakespeare
    August 2018

    American Shakespeare

    Shakespeare contains the cultural history of America. From first to last, Shakespeare is the graph of evolving American values. He early made the transatlantic crossing: It is thought that Cotton Mather was the first in America to acquire a...
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  • Hungry Heart
    August 2018

    Hungry Heart

    The Hollywood elite has been painfully boring and predictable for decades, and the use of awards ceremonies to deliver political messages is nothing new. But like everything else in the Age of Trump (with the exception of civility), this...
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  • In Praise of Cultural Appropriation
    August 2018

    In Praise of Cultural Appropriation

    Recently I read of a 67-year-old woman who wanted to run in a marathon. She had never run for exercise in her life, but her desire and passion led her to put on a pair of sneakers, leave the house, and walk a mile.
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  • The Catfish Binary, Part 1
    August 2018

    The Catfish Binary, Part 1

    Summer is the time for lazy fishing in the hot sun. That calls for a fish story. And what follows is no tall tale, although I think the moral of the story is quite significant. For I am now willing to say, without exaggeration, that catfish...
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  • Aegean Idyll
    August 2018

    Aegean Idyll

    August is the time for cruising. Once upon a time, cruising the Med was fun, especially around the French Riviera. Now the sea is full of garbage, the ports packed with horror megayachts owned by horrid Arabs and eastern oligarch gangsters,...
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  • Those Oldies But Goodies
    July 2018

    Those Oldies But Goodies

    An Italian-American restaurant I count on features sound reasons for my presence there, and that of others. I like the tone in that environment. There is an aspect of 1950’s atmosphere—the place is quiet, the lighting subdued, and the manners...
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  • How the Crusades Were Won
    July 2018

    How the Crusades Were Won

    The Christian Crusades of the Middle Ages are today deployed for a wide range of political and rhetorical purposes—to make claims about the Church’s betrayal of Christ’s teaching, the evils of European imperialism, or the inextricable link...
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  • The Unmet Mentor
    July 2018

    The Unmet Mentor

    Life changed forever for me and my family on June 19, 2015, when tragedy struck suddenly. In the aftermath, I turned to an old mentor. In the ashes of our loss and dismal emptiness, I opened A Grief Observed, by C.S. Lewis. The first...
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  • The Politics of Morbid Fascination
    July 2018

    The Politics of Morbid Fascination

    Rafael Palmeiro has ED. How do I know? He told me. He told you, too. Heck, he told the whole country about 15 years ago. He went on national television to say that he was having a bit of trouble with his slugging percentage, and that Viagra...
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  • Jordan Peterson and the Unknown God
    July 2018

    Jordan Peterson and the Unknown God

    To some, Jordan Peterson is a breath of fresh air. To others, a guru. Many find him and his ideas to be dangerous. Still others see him as a sign of the times. In a sense, they’re all right.
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  • Cultural Marxists and the Stranglehold of “Race”
    June 2018

    Cultural Marxists and the Stranglehold of “Race”

    One of the subjects that most self-styled conservatives seem incapable of discussing in any depth—indeed, it is one they often flee from like mice before the hungry house cat—is race.
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  • Homesick in America
    June 2018

    Homesick in America

    “Darlin,’” she said, “I’ll get that. Go ahead and take it.” She was a weathered-looking woman with mousy light brown hair drawn back in a bun and the plain, honest look of one of those faces you see in Depression-era photos from the Dust Bowl,...
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  • California Dreaming
    June 2018

    California Dreaming

    You never know what Lady Fortuna has in store for you next. Having quit college—after all, I knew what I wanted to do, and didn’t need lessons from some hippie in how to do it—I was shuttling between New York City and my parents’ house in the...
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  • Adolf Busch & Colleagues
    June 2018

    Adolf Busch & Colleagues

    Some two decades ago, I found myself preparing for a trip to Niagara Falls, where I was to meet a lady. I had not been to Niagara Falls before, though I was familiar with the movie Niagara (Hathaway, 1953), which has sometimes been called the...
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  • Monumental Stupidity
    June 2018

    Monumental Stupidity

    There is a scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 classic North by Northwest in which the characters look out at a brooding Mount Rushmore from the dining-room terrace of the Sheraton-Johnson Hotel in Rapid City, South Dakota (since renamed the Hotel...
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  • Can We Talk?
    June 2018

    Can We Talk?

    A few months after we moved to Huntington, Indiana, I was inducted into the Cosmopolitan Club, one of the country’s oldest extant discussion societies. Chartered on January 18, 1894, the Cosmopolitan Club convenes on the fourth Tuesday of every...
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  • Nothing to Protest
    June 2018

    Nothing to Protest

    Bonjour, mes amis! Fifty years ago this month, I was living in Paris, and life was, shall we say, grand. Back then there was nothing like Paris in the spring and early summer, with formal balls galore, polo in the Bois de Boulogne, and...
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  • The Center Doesn’t Hold Here
    May 2018

    The Center Doesn’t Hold Here

    How do you make sense of New York? There’s lots of intelligence, talent, and ambition here. There’s also a lot of insanity. When Barack Obama won his first presidential election people in my neighborhood partied in the streets all night.
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  • The Electric Conductor
    May 2018

    The Electric Conductor

    Back in the day, was there anyone more famous than Arturo Toscanini? Everyone knew who he was, what he did, and what he looked like. He was more famous than Walt Disney and got coverage like a movie star.
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  • March Against Middle America

    March Against Middle America

    In March, Americans braced for the nationwide “March for Our Lives,” and what they witnessed was the latest battle in the culture war, with children paraded through the capital as nouveaux Jacobins.
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  • Mencken and After
    April 2018

    Mencken and After

    If Noah Webster was the father of English-language spelling reform, H.L. Mencken was the strong son making good his inheritance. Mencken’s claim was to be the father of the American language.
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  • Immigration and Citizenship: Ancient Lessons for the American People
    April 2018

    Immigration and Citizenship: Ancient Lessons for the American People

    Americans have been debating immigration since the Founding era. Congress passed the first Naturalization Law in 1790, which it amended and fine-tuned in 1795, 1798, and 1802.
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  • Hour of Decision
    April 2018

    Hour of Decision

    Looking objectively at the legacy of Billy Graham in the wake of his passing is virtually impossible, especially for me personally. I know several people who answered the altar call at a Graham crusade, “just as I am without one plea, but that...
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  • “Only Connect!”
    April 2018

    “Only Connect!”

    Niall Ferguson is a distinguished historian of Scottish origin who specializes in big arguments, and contrarian claims. His books are always provocative, frequently infuriating, and often (if not always) correct in their analyses.
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  • The Quest for Community
    April 2018

    The Quest for Community

    The trouble with labels—whether adopted voluntarily or applied by others—is that they are inherently limiting. Robert Nisbet is often described as a sociologist or a libertarian, and sometimes as a libertarian sociologist, depending on what the...
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  • The Lowdown on Music Appreciation
    April 2018

    The Lowdown on Music Appreciation

    Music Appreciation is a revealing phrase: It doesn’t mean what it says. It doesn’t mean that music is getting more expensive, though it is true that music is appreciating. It doesn’t mean even a proper regard, as in “I appreciate your efforts.”
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  • The Two Lhevinnes
    March 2018

    The Two Lhevinnes

    Though too many years have gone by since I last crossed paths with Robert K. Wallace, that doesn’t mean I have forgotten that gifted and accomplished man.
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  • Trump’s Understatement
    March 2018

    Trump’s Understatement

    Gee, this is the worst news I’ve had since the defeat at Stalingrad. More than 80 former ambassadors to African nations sent a letter of protest to The Donald. Even worse, Botswana, Ghana, Haiti, Namibia, Senegal, and the African Union have all...
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  • Welcome Back, Potter
    March 2018

    Welcome Back, Potter

    Several years ago, aided by the wonders of modern technology and the principle of fair use, a number of people independently produced remixes of It’s a Wonderful Life as a horror movie.
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  • The Loss of the Familiar
    March 2018

    The Loss of the Familiar

    From the late 19th or early 20th century down to the present day, liberalism has been progressively oriented to psychology and therapeutic technique.
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  • “The World’s Greatest Pianist”
    February 2018

    “The World’s Greatest Pianist”

    The lives of musicians can be more than a bit repetitive. The same patterns are repeated again and again, as is the case with athletes—with all people who master a particular art or calling.
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  • American Artisan
    February 2018

    American Artisan

    Whenever Robert Valade embarked on a commissioned piece, or simply took his hammer and chisel to cut an exquisitely fashioned design into a gift for a friend, he first bowed his large head and prayed to God to help him finish the job right.
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  • Campus Utopias
    February 2018

    Campus Utopias

    As we gathered in the gazebo, sitting on the hard white benches with the paint peeling off in strips, nursing Marlboros—the girls wielding cigarette-holders, like scepters—we decided then and there who and what was the main obstacle to our goal.
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  • Big Tech as Big Brother
    February 2018

    Big Tech as Big Brother

    Conservatives more than anyone else view with a gimlet eye the rise of the Internet and the gigantic tech companies that are taking over ever larger parts of our lives.
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  • Shepherd in a Strange Land
    February 2018

    Shepherd in a Strange Land

    “I’m a pastor, not a scholar,” Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, head of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia since 2011, said when I interviewed him earlier last year for Catholic World Report about his new book. “A bishop’s job is helping people get to...
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  • Return of the Kings
    February 2018

    Return of the Kings

    In a television appearance on January 7, President Emmanuel Macron of France, rather than addressing his compatriots exclusively, directed his remarks to his “fellow citizens of the E.U.,” saying, “2018 is a very special year, and I will need you...
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  • Shoes to Fill
    February 2018

    Shoes to Fill

    America is a nation of normal people who find themselves thrust into increasingly abnormal situations. Left-wing ideologues want to take a country of families, churches, and businesses and turn it into a playpen of radical identities.
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  • Cult of America, Part I
    February 2018

    Cult of America, Part I

    Whether or not America is or ever was a Christian nation is hotly debated. It is fashionable today on the left to ascribe whatever currently is deemed by it to be unacceptable to the legacy of privileged patriarchal white men whose Christianity...
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  • Drain the Racket
    February 2018

    Drain the Racket

    When Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was first passed, “help wanted: men” and “help wanted: women” ads were common in newspapers. Private employers could hire and fire for discriminatory reasons.
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  • Freedom From Obligation
    February 2018

    Freedom From Obligation

    For many Americans at or near the mid-century mark of their lives, Frank Capra has shaped their understanding of the meaning of Christmas in a way that only Charles Dickens could possibly rival.
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  • Never Be Royals
    February 2018

    Never Be Royals

    Had she claimed to be 100-percent African-American, or to be a lesbian, transgender, or simply bisexual, the adoration would have been even more pronounced. If she had a criminal record, the perverse New York Times would have gone bananas,...
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  • Get Big or Get Out
    January 2018

    Get Big or Get Out

    Most people think of E.F. Schumacher today (to the extent that they think of him at all) as some sort of vaguely leftist harbinger of the environmentalist movement.
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  • An Age of Indoor Cats
    January 2018

    An Age of Indoor Cats

    Cats, I’ve sometimes been told, make better pets than dogs, because cats are more independent, which is just another way of saying that dogs have been domesticated for so many thousands of years, they are genetically the kinds of creatures that...
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  • Throw in the Towel
    January 2018

    Throw in the Towel

    If you thought comedy was dead, take a look at the newest Napoleon on the block, the one wearing sandals on his feet and a tablecloth on his head, and striking an heroic pose with his hairy legs wrapped around a camel’s hump.
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  • Cultural Notes, in Two Keys
    January 2018

    Cultural Notes, in Two Keys

    The liberal print media, like all things liberal, are never more themselves than when searching out, discovering, and deploring violence in America while remaining blissfully unaware of the verbal violence they commit every minute of the day in...
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  • My Old Kentucky Home, Good Night!
    January 2018

    My Old Kentucky Home, Good Night!

    History is rewritten, memory is transformed, recognition is withdrawn, and the cultural context is recast. The recent toppling of historical statues has proceeded so effectively that we can hardly remember a previous period of statue erection or...
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  • The Job of Sex
    January 2018

    The Job of Sex

    The lares and penates of post-Christian (actually postpagan) America are Money, Sex, and Power, not necessarily in that order but rather according to individual taste and proclivity.
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  • Weinstein: Who Cares—and Why
    December 2017

    Weinstein: Who Cares—and Why

    The public support of Weinstein, along with the deafening silence and lack of pity for his forsaken wife and young children, stand as testament to a sick subculture where families, and family, have never jibed with Hollywood’s libertine agenda.
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  • Surrounded by Books
    December 2017

    Surrounded by Books

    Surrounded by books has been a main circumstance of my long life. So it is now, near the end of my 94th year, when I am in my large library of perhaps 18,000 books in the western wing of my house in Chester County, Pennsylvania.
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  • Hollywood and Bethlehem
    December 2017

    Hollywood and Bethlehem

    Hollywood loves Christmas, or Winterfest, or whatever they’re calling it these days. This is because many Americans make it the most wonderful time of the year for the studios, offering them gifts of gold.
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  • Regional Anthem
    December 2017

    Regional Anthem

    A century ago, the American Midwest was in the ascendant, widely acknowledged as the nation’s vital Heartland, a place characterized by a morally strong and independent populace, a relatively egalitarian distribution of wealth in land (the...
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  • Transgender: At Odds With Reality
    December 2017

    Transgender: At Odds With Reality

    In his infamous work The Myth of Mental Illness, the late Dr. Thomas Szasz argued that psychiatry was not a branch of medicine concerned with treating real illness, but rather an institution of social control.
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  • Chronicles of Culture
    December 2017

    Chronicles of Culture

    For there to be a “context of social relationships,” there must be at least two people. And those people must be part of a society, because that is what social, as an adjective, not only implies but demands, the fantasy worlds constructed by...
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  • Race, Genocide, and Memory
    December 2017

    Race, Genocide, and Memory

    In 2012, U.S. historian William H. Frederick sparked a fierce controversy about a horrible if largely forgotten episode in Asian history, the so-called Bersiap movement of the 1940’s.
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  • Maria Callas, Four Decades On
    December 2017

    Maria Callas, Four Decades On

    Many’s the person who can tell you what he was doing on November 22, 1963, when he heard the news. Many more can tell you what they were doing on the morning of September 11, 2001. And there are also quite a few who remember September 16, 1977,...
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  • Fact-Free: Where No Center Holds
    December 2017

    Fact-Free: Where No Center Holds

    Facts were fuzzy in the ancient world. From Homer to Herodotus, . . . myth, science, and history met and mingled, merging into amalgams that were almost invariably greater than the sum of their parts and yet less than what might pass our...
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  • Harvey and Teddy
    December 2017

    Harvey and Teddy

    I was walking up Madison Avenue when I spotted two comely young women having tea at a sidewalk café. It was a couple of days after the scandal, so I stopped and introduced myself as Harvey Weinstein and asked them if they wanted a drink back at...
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  • The Engineered Empathy Gene
    December 2017

    The Engineered Empathy Gene

    The “death of God” thesis encourages people to consider what we owe to other people in a world in which only human beings can help themselves, and others. In a God-forsaken universe, sharing others’ sufferings (though much less their joys)...
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  • America Mispriced
    November 2017

    America Mispriced

    Warren Buffett once joked that only when the tide goes out do we realize who’s been swimming naked. Hurricane Harvey’s gale force winds and 50-plus inches of rain will give Houstonians a similarly embarrassing realization.
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  • Recessional
    November 2017

    Recessional

    P.G. Wodehouse reached for Keats to describe his emotions when he read the first of George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman saga. Fraser had already joined the glorious company of famously successful authors who were turned away from the doors of...
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  • No Time for Indulgences
    November 2017

    No Time for Indulgences

    [W]e cannot afford to set aside our differences: We need to rediscover them, defend them vigorously and magnanimously, teach them to our children, celebrate them in worship and festival, and nail them to the church door when necessary.
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  • Breeding Mosquitos
    November 2017

    Breeding Mosquitos

    “Where there’s no solution,” James Burnham used to remark, “there’s no problem.” That’s easy for him to say, the modern populist conservative replies. Burnham died while Reagan was still in office! What did he know about problems?
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  • Mad Bombers of the Amazon
    November 2017

    Mad Bombers of the Amazon

    Instead of getting life without parole in one of those white isolation cells in the toughest of jails for aiding and abetting terrorism, he is fêted the world over and is among America’s wealthiest men, after Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.
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  • The Terminal Playboy
    November 2017

    The Terminal Playboy

    When he died on September 27 at the age of 91, Hugh Hefner was no playboy. He was an old man trapped in what amounted to a factory, surrounded by silicone, plastic, and hydrogen compounds.
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  • Unlovable Losers: The Left in Perspective
    November 2017

    Unlovable Losers: The Left in Perspective

    Americans are smarter, more intuitive, than many conservatives may think. As time goes by, polls show that they have little tolerance, let alone enthusiasm, for the concepts of “microaggressions” or “safe spaces” or harebrained initiatives to...
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  • Too Steep a Price: Why the Liberal Family Died
    November 2017

    Too Steep a Price: Why the Liberal Family Died

    Over half a century ago, the family system advocated by John Locke and modeled on Lockean liberalism seemed to have triumphed completely in the United States, in Western Europe, and globally.
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  • Rediscovering the Paterfamilias
    November 2017

    Rediscovering the Paterfamilias

    Cicero wrote De Officiis to his son, Marcus, a student of philosophy who had just finished his first year in Athens. Though Cicero does not state it directly, the work is meant to supplement what, to his mind, Greek philosophy lacked most: good...
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  • The Vocal Scene
    November 2017

    The Vocal Scene

    Of course my account of “the vocal scene” is not by the late George Jellinek—that cultured gentleman of Hungarian background. He had an extensive, even encyclopedic knowledge of the history of singing.
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  • Love Thyself: The West’s Fatal Flaw
    November 2017

    Love Thyself: The West’s Fatal Flaw

    What used to be Western civilization is indeed threatened today with progressive extinction at the hands of Muslim immigration, which considers the West as a worthless relic of a useless past, at best, or, in the minds of Islam’s more or less...
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  • The Convenient Religion
    November 2017

    The Convenient Religion

    Everyone in America today—right, left, or middle, if there still is one—can agree that the explosive political response to Donald Trump’s presidency is unprecedented in American political history.
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  • A Great Perhaps
    November 2017

    A Great Perhaps

    Sale’s theme is the restoration of “human scale” in all our works: architectural, political, economic, educational, and technological. His thesis is that only radical decentralization can achieve this aim.
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  • Very Bad on Both Sides
    October 2017

    Very Bad on Both Sides

    Charlottesville was a shameful disaster, and the responses from America’s elites were far from encouraging. Most of them amounted to “Who started it?” That is the response of a child.
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  • East of Eden
    October 2017

    East of Eden

    Russell Kirk frequently warned those who read his essays and books and attended his lectures not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Even at the most mundane level of everyday life, the Sage of Mecosta offered good advice.
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  • The Anti-Prometheans
    October 2017

    The Anti-Prometheans

    Barack Obama’s words “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for” have come to stand as the motto of his presidency. (Their author was actually the black Caribbean bisexual poetess June Jordan.)
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  • The Brave Professor
    October 2017

    The Brave Professor

    At the University of Toronto, one man has shown us just how uphill the climb is against political correctness, and what sort of reaction we may expect if we fight it. He may also have shown us how to win.
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  • Diana
    October 2017

    Diana

    “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” cried the craftsmen of Ephesus. They had heard of the threat to their occupation posed by Paul (Acts 19: 24-29), who was violently against the making of images.
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  • Who’s the Most Hateful of Them All?
    October 2017

    Who’s the Most Hateful of Them All?

    No studies indicate, let alone demonstrate, that a significant percentage of ordinary white people “hate” black people, or black white, or indeed that an appreciable number belonging to any race in America today “hates” members of any other race.
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  • Remembering the Old Russia
    September 2017

    Remembering the Old Russia

    This Fall marks the centennial of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. Although few commentators today are likely to glorify that event or its aftermath, most will assume that the revolution was a regrettable necessity, which swept away a repressive...
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  • Parties and Strange Bedfellows
    September 2017

    Parties and Strange Bedfellows

    London summer parties are a dime a dozen. The moment the weather turns hot, Englishmen cast aside their brollies and head for a garden party. This year was no different.
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  • The Future of Politics
    September 2017

    The Future of Politics

    It is a healthy and encouraging sign when politicians don’t know where they’re going because they have no idea what’s coming next, which pretty much describes the state of politics in the West today.
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  • A Terrible Twilight
    September 2017

    A Terrible Twilight

    Douglas Murray makes a ferociously well-argued case that Europe is now engaged on a parallel course: “Europe is committing suicide. Or at least its leaders have decided to commit suicide.
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  • The Poison and the Antidote
    September 2017

    The Poison and the Antidote

    No historian worth his honoraria ascribes major social change to a single factor. That is ideology, not history. Nonetheless, an ideology has been and remains a large cause of America’s cultural and moral decline over the past half century.
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  • What I Saw (and Prayed) in New Orleans
    September 2017

    What I Saw (and Prayed) in New Orleans

    At Mayor Landrieu's behest and with the nod of the city council, four commemorative monuments, each over 100 years old, were removed by masked men. Three of their targets were world-class sculptures.
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  • Make Yourself at Home
    September 2017

    Make Yourself at Home

    “Unless you were born here, you will never really be at home in this city.” Amy and I heard those words (or a variation thereof) over and over again in early 1996, as we met new people in our adopted hometown of Rockford, Illinois.
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  • If It Leads, It Bleeds
    August 2017

    If It Leads, It Bleeds

    The bonds that bind us together as a nation are fraying, and this is by design. Divide and rule is the byword of the “Resistance,” but they are banking on a victory that isn’t necessarily in the cards.
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  • The Cottingley Fairies, and Fatima
    August 2017

    The Cottingley Fairies, and Fatima

    Arthur Conan Doyle once wrote that the idea of an acceptable form of public entertainment underwent a rude shock in the years around World War I. By then in his mid-50’s, he had abandoned any pretense of sympathy for modern culture.
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  • The Real McCoy
    August 2017

    The Real McCoy

    In the early 1950’s when my family got our first TV set—it had a whopping 12" screen with a green tint—we kids tuned in to The Tim McCoy Show, which aired early Saturday evenings on a local Los Angeles station, KTLA, Channel 5.
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  • Chesterfield and Chesterton
    July 2017

    Chesterfield and Chesterton

    Much of life may come down to a choice between the respective views of Lord Chesterfield, who urged his son always to excel at whatever he did, and G.K. Chesterton, who once wrote that, “If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.”
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  • The Devil We Know
    July 2017

    The Devil We Know

    If Ryszard Legutko is correct, there is increasingly little difference between the devil we know and the devil we don’t. He makes a compelling case for this claim.
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  • Dance With the Devil in the Pale Moonlight
    July 2017

    Dance With the Devil in the Pale Moonlight

    There was a notable convergence some decades ago, one that was noticed musically as two separate and distinct phenomena, but not as a convergence—or even as a conspiracy, or a rivalry.
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  • Who’s Appropriating Whom?
    July 2017

    Who’s Appropriating Whom?

    All immigrants to America demand a good deal of us, some more than others. Mexican immigrants (and after them the Muslim ones) demand the most.
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  • Second Appomattox
    July 2017

    Second Appomattox

    A visitor to the United States from abroad, ignorant of recent American history, might find himself perplexed by the fact that the further the War Between the States recedes into the past, the larger it looms as the angry obsession of...
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  • Unnumbered Years
    July 2017

    Unnumbered Years

    Ravens over North Berwick Law—could any phrase be more hyperborean? I turned the words over lazily as I watched them 50 feet above, circling and diving on one another, flicking expert wings, commenting incessantly on their sport as they...
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  • The Esolen Option
    July 2017

    The Esolen Option

    If we don’t like the way of life around us, why not live differently? Why go along with something so inhuman and unrewarding? So asks Anthony Esolen in his new book.
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  • Down Here Among the Lilliputians
    June 2017

    Down Here Among the Lilliputians

    Compared with its predecessors, Kong: Skull Island is a rather dreary reprise of the original King Kong film. Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts discards the original’s venerable plot, which gave Kong its lasting appeal.
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  • Blaspheming Liberals
    June 2017

    Blaspheming Liberals

    “Free speech!” has been the rallying cry of Republicans and conservatives for months on end. This really ought to stop.
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  • The Great Transparency Racket
    June 2017

    The Great Transparency Racket

    “Democracy Dies in Darkness” is the motto of the Washington Post. The editors of the Post belong to the honorable group of which Norman Podhoretz once confessed himself a member—Idolaters of Democracy.
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  • Shameless Venus Goes to Prom
    June 2017

    Shameless Venus Goes to Prom

    Body-shaming is now a deadly sin, which can be expiated only by the elimination of all dress codes. The entire football team agrees, and has volunteered to hold your purse while you march around in protest, wearing yoga pants and spaghetti straps.
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  • Race and Civil Rights
    June 2017

    Race and Civil Rights

    One would expect race-baiting liberals and leftists to try to glorify the “civil-rights movement” and the laws of the early 1960’s, insisting that we view all of it as earth shaking history, more important than the fall of the Roman Empire, the...
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  • Rockford in the Springtime
    June 2017

    Rockford in the Springtime

    Rockford’s downtown lives again because enough of it wasn’t utterly destroyed, and because human nature, despite our best attempts to remake it, is the same now as it was when those buildings were built.
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  • Rambling Rose
    June 2017

    Rambling Rose

    As a literalist of the imagination, I have somehow supposed that the fall equinox on September 22 meant that according to astronomical rules, the roses would—with a clunk—stop blooming.
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  • No Place for Humanity: Our Free-Chosen Dystopia
    May 2017

    No Place for Humanity: Our Free-Chosen Dystopia

    Dystopian literature is a moral genre, a critique not only of power but, in its most outstanding classics, of progressivism. Without being conservative or right wing, it is often antileft.
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  • Power to the People!
    May 2017

    Power to the People!

    If we desire any kind of freedom in our life on this earth—moral, cultural, economic, political—we have to fight to prevent the centralization of power. Struggle is our lot in life; that die was cast long ago, by Adam and Eve in the Garden. The...
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  • Blurred Lines

    Blurred Lines

    Public culture today is atheistic. It excludes God, natural law, and higher goods; bases morality on individual preferences; and views reason as a way of simply fitting means to ends.
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  • The Bruckner Problem
    May 2017

    The Bruckner Problem

    There is a Bruckner Problem, yes, or there are even Bruckner Problems, but I think that the longer we consider these problems, the less problematical they are. The first problem is, where to start?
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  • Racial Follies
    May 2017

    Racial Follies

    From what I had read in advance of seeing Get Out, a film written and directed by Jordan Peele, I had expected a cheesy get-whitey comedy. I’m happy to report it’s not that at all.
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  • The End of Something
    May 2017

    The End of Something

    Perhaps the self-driving car is no more than a passing fad, alluring not for itself but for the innovative pleasure of overcoming technical difficulties to build something useless and finally unwanted.
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  • The Gift of Limitations
    April 2017

    The Gift of Limitations

    When he was little, Rick Curry was the first of his friends to tie his own laces. That may not seem like such a big deal unless you know that he was born without a right forearm. He was brought up to believe he was completely normal.
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  • Reading Huxley Between the Headlines
    April 2017

    Reading Huxley Between the Headlines

    “Is it time to reread Brave New World?” asks the distinguished historian Anthony Beevor, in a recent article on Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election. I think it is.
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  • The Sport You Aren’t Watching
    April 2017

    The Sport You Aren’t Watching

    Women’s sports lurch upon a troubled foundation. To throw like a girl is to fail on the grounds of athleticism, and not to throw like a girl is to fail on the grounds of girlism. Worse, the quest for equality cannot reconcile its dogmatic ideal...
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  • What Do Liberals Want?
    April 2017

    What Do Liberals Want?

    What would be the fate of non- or anti-liberals today had Hillary Clinton, John Podesta, and The Democracy won last year’s election? The anti-Trump movement does bring certain highly unpleasant possibilities to mind.
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  • Ut Plures Sint
    April 2017

    Ut Plures Sint

    For the last three months I have been asking people at my college what the phrase cultural diversity means, if it does not mean “a diversity of cultures thriving all over the world” or “the study of a broad diversity of cultures spanning four...
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  • The New Class War
    April 2017

    The New Class War

    The burden of this important book by the editor of First Things is the need to restore genuine freedom to American society—and, by implication, Western society as a whole.
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  • Celebrity Politics
    April 2017

    Celebrity Politics

    Throughout the Republican primaries and the 2016 general election, commentators regularly characterized Donald Trump’s campaign as the political equivalent of a reality show.
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  • The Satan Club
    March 2017

    The Satan Club

    It is often said that our nation’s social-engineering laws are for the most part well intentioned, and that only in their local application do they seem to pander so brazenly to the obsessed or the lunatic.
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  • A City on a Hill—With Transgender Toilets?
    March 2017

    A City on a Hill—With Transgender Toilets?

    As Carle Zimmerman argued, moral implosions and civilizational collapse have happened before, and they have always been followed by periods of renewal. People stumble their way back to the “fundamental mother-source” of civilizational strength:...
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  • Don’t Just Wound It: Kill It
    March 2017

    Don’t Just Wound It: Kill It

    The Department of Education must be destroyed. This holdover from the Carter administration costs us $80 billion per year, for which we have received in return a centralized educational bureaucracy beholden to wildly leftist teachers’ unions and...
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  • Never and Always
    March 2017

    Never and Always

    I turn down the soothing voice of “Gentleman Jim” Reeves. He looks at me from the CD case, a face thought of as handsome in his day, though Jim seems too mature and, maybe, just a bit innocent, even naive, for our jaded time.
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  • Silicon Hillbilly
    March 2017

    Silicon Hillbilly

    Since I have long been convinced that the Appalachian South embodies a grounded yet radical alternative to the American mainstream, I got my hopes up recently when I learned that a young man from Breathitt County is garnering national attention...
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  • Doktor Faust und Der Busoni
    March 2017

    Doktor Faust und Der Busoni

    When they are so easily available for free, the opportunities on YouTube don’t leave much excuse for not taking advantage of them, even though in one particular case at least, the musical presentation is puzzling or unidiomatic or off-putting.
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  • Southern Baptists Versus the South
    March 2017

    Southern Baptists Versus the South

    The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has over 15 million members. With over 46,000 churches, they are present in all 50 states (as well as several foreign countries). It is the largest Protestant denomination in the United States.
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  • Virtue-Signalers in a Snit
    March 2017

    Virtue-Signalers in a Snit

    Hollywood is in a snit. Hollywood is very angry. Hollywood is having a nervous breakdown. The Donald is in the White House, and Hollywood types cannot take it any more. Ditto for the New York Times and the TV networks, except for FOX.
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  • The Many Reinventions of Jeffrey Sachs
    February 2017

    The Many Reinventions of Jeffrey Sachs

    Jeffrey D. Sachs, the peripatetic “world-renowned economist” who, for over three decades, has been called upon by leftist billionaires, governments, and international organizations to reshape the economies of entire countries and regions, is both...
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  • Dope Fiends of the West
    February 2017

    Dope Fiends of the West

    What underlies all of the social science about the effects of smartphone addiction is an assumption about the good—what is right versus what is harmful for society.
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  • Sounds of the Sixties
    February 2017

    Sounds of the Sixties

    To address the main question first: Yes, they really can. That’s the definitive answer to America’s burning cultural debate of the 1960’s about whether or not the Monkees could actually play their musical instruments.
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  • From This Culture, They Say You Are Leaving
    February 2017

    From This Culture, They Say You Are Leaving

    If we really want to know what the musical situation is, rather than to entertain a fantasy of what it ought to be, we would have to acknowledge the realities of musical art in our postmodern age of digitalization.
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  • Marvelous Exhibitions
    February 2017

    Marvelous Exhibitions

    Erstwhile fashion designer turned film director Tom Ford seems to have meant his second film, Nocturnal Animals, to be, as Winston Churchill said of Russia, “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.”
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  • Beyond the Idiot Box
    February 2017

    Beyond the Idiot Box

    Call me old fashioned, and I will thank you for the compliment. Call me a fool for rosy nostalgia, and more thanks will be in order.
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  • A Victim Must Be Found
    February 2017

    A Victim Must Be Found

    Despite the fact that, in the 19th century, every white man save Abe Lincoln was a racist, W.S. Gilbert was not actually commenting on Japanese culture, and he understood his inventive nomenclature to be exaggerated for comedic effect.
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  • <em>Delenda Est Academia</em>
    February 2017

    Delenda Est Academia

    [U]niversities are not akin to ships, moving through uncharted waters toward horizons of higher truth. No, American institutes of higher learning are plagues of locusts. Firing a single shot at them is as effective as squishing one insect in...
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  • Opera: Grand and Not So Grand
    January 2017

    Opera: Grand and Not So Grand

    People sometimes seem to be prejudiced against opera for reasons that are arbitrarily unconvincing. These reasons turn out to be an antipathy based on class (opera is the province of the privileged), or antipathy resulting from sheer musical...
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  • Rise of the Alt-Left: After This, the Deluge
    January 2017

    Rise of the Alt-Left: After This, the Deluge

    It is easy to revel in the misery of forlorn liberals, but it is also easy to get caught up in their binary political game. Already in attack mode, they would prefer that conservatives pay all of their attention to them.
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  • A Manner of Speaking
    January 2017

    A Manner of Speaking

    My father’s manner of speaking is dying out. Not just the blunt honesty, but his accent, syntax, and vocabulary. I don’t mean saying “ya’ll”—young people still say that in Texas (and I thank the Lord for small favors)—but something else.
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  • Our Progressive Sexual Apartheid
    January 2017

    Our Progressive Sexual Apartheid

    I recently attended a rock concert where the headline act—an artful blend of political correctness and antic comedy dressed in a leopard-skin overcoat under a silver wig—lectured us at some length on the need to respect women.
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  • Buddha Nature and Gender Nature
    January 2017

    Buddha Nature and Gender Nature

    I have decided that the only way to understand American liberal society is through the mystical practices of Asia’s ancient religions. Let me explain.
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  • Unhinged
    January 2017

    Unhinged

    Yes, dear readers, the reaction by our “elites” to the election of Donald Trump has been extraordinary. By comparison, an Italian mob—whose team was denied a penalty as the final whistle blew—were quite serene and sportsmanlike.
    Read more
  • Election Overload
    January 2017

    Election Overload

    The country is near unanimous in feeling that the elections of 2016 were unique in American history. Some say for the unlikability of the two principal candidates; others, for the rhetorical violence and vitriol on all sides.
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  • A Useful Tool
    December 2016

    A Useful Tool

    Nate Parker has entitled his debut film The Birth of a Nation. He chose his title as a rebuke of D.W. Griffith’s groundbreaking 1915 film.
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  • Gone to Pot
    December 2016

    Gone to Pot

    It is seven o’clock on a peaceful late-summer evening here in suburban Seattle, and I’m sitting in my back garden smoking marijuana. Passively smoking, I should add, lest I shock any reader by this sorry lapse, but smoking nonetheless.
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  • Taking Back the Culture
    December 2016

    Taking Back the Culture

    By the time you read this, “the most important election of our lifetime” will be headed for the history books. If the last six most important elections of our lifetime are any indication, however, we will once again have a chance to vote in the...
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  • A Confederacy of Dunces
    December 2016

    A Confederacy of Dunces

    In the final weeks of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, as our modern-day Madame Defarge’s poll numbers declined slowly but steadily in rhythm to the drip-drip-drip of purloined emails by WikiLeaks, the Clinton campaign settled on a strategy...
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  • A Sense of Place
    December 2016

    A Sense of Place

    I was born and reared in a small Michigan town known as the home of both Gen. George Armstrong Custer and the La-Z-Boy chair company, an accident of local history most people in town do not find strange.
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  • How to Win Fame and Fortune
    December 2016

    How to Win Fame and Fortune

    American writers are on a roll. Bob Dylan wins the Nobel Prize for Literature (for backward children), and Paul Beatty the Booker Prize, the first American to do so because only Brits were considered in previous years.
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  • A P.C. Little Christmas
    December 2016

    A P.C. Little Christmas

    In times like ours, what could be more “relevant” than the triumphant defeat of sin, death, and the Devil, first announced by angels to poor shepherds in the skies outside Bethlehem?
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  • Beating Affirmative Action
    December 2016

    Beating Affirmative Action

    Is the composition of the Supreme Court the be-all and end-all of important societal conflicts? Are there effective ways that conservatives can address these conflicts—manifest in political battles over such things as affirmative action—apart...
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  • The Twilight’s Last Gleaming
    December 2016

    The Twilight’s Last Gleaming

    There are so many difficulties with our National Anthem that it’s hard to keep up with them all. But the explicit question that it asks is actually a pertinent question today, and not only one about the bombardment of Fort McHenry in 1814.
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  • The German Resistance
    December 2016

    The German Resistance

    Certain actions should never be taboo in a modern Western democracy. These include public criticism and protest of government policies, as well as presenting alternatives to those policies.
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  • Passage of a Rite
    November 2016

    Passage of a Rite

    This was the first time I’d gone deer hunting alone. Granted, I had often engaged in the act of hunting by myself. Ever since I was old enough to hunt apart from someone else, my practice had been to split up from the others after a brief...
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  • Don’t Dismiss the Freaks and Geeks
    November 2016

    Don’t Dismiss the Freaks and Geeks

    “For heaven’s sake man, go!” roared David Cameron on June 29. He sounded like a bad actor in an historical drama—which, in a sense, he was. Cameron was shouting across the dispatch box in the House of Commons, imploring Labour leader Jeremy...
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  • Reason Cecil’s Grocery
    November 2016

    Reason Cecil’s Grocery

    Almost two years ago my wife and I were driving home after having dinner in a Knoxville restaurant with former Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist and his wife.
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  • Class and Identity
    October 2016

    Class and Identity

    Liberalism is an increasingly organized, coordinated, and aggressive assault upon human society, even the human race.
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  • Incalculable Rewards
    October 2016

    Incalculable Rewards

    While Mother Teresa was still alive, few who knew of her doubted that she would eventually be inducted into the canon of saints of the Catholic Church.
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  • The Unmeaning of Unmeaning
    October 2016

    The Unmeaning of Unmeaning

    The mark of a good scientist is curiosity and imagination; when those cease, so do reliable answers to tough questions. Wilson foregoes any discussion of aseity and fails or refuses to account for how the cosmos could arise out of nothing.
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  • The Stork Theory
    October 2016

    The Stork Theory

    Business Insider recently reported “a mind-blowing demographic shift” that is about to occur. Considering the globe’s whole human population, the number of adults age 65 and older will in a few years be greater than the number of children under...
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  • The Body as Billboard
    October 2016

    The Body as Billboard

    If there are 30 “genders” this year, there will have to be 300 next year, with identity growing more and more fissiparous, like the scattering and dissipation of molecules in a universal heat death.
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  • Pomp and Circumstance
    October 2016

    Pomp and Circumstance

    As a nation, Britain has become accustomed to marking milestones in the reign of Elizabeth II.
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  • Loathing Beauty
    October 2016

    Loathing Beauty

    I recently wrote a column for the London Spectator extolling the beauty of one of the Olympic competitors, a British high jumper. She was 19, café au lait, and did not win any medals.
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  • What I Saw at Yasukuni
    September 2016

    What I Saw at Yasukuni

    By now, we should all be familiar with the antitraditionalist left’s attempt to erase all traces of opposition to the liberal world order. Over the past decade or so, for example, the antitraditionalists have succeeded brilliantly in demolishing...
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  • Dallas in the Dock
    September 2016

    Dallas in the Dock

    The whole world appears to have gone nuts again—for about the ten millionth time in human history—but Dallas, unaccountably, you might say, has reaped enormous respect for keeping its cool and staying sane.
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  • Liberalism in the Headlights
    September 2016

    Liberalism in the Headlights

    The murder of five white police officers in Dallas, immediately following the fatal shootings of a black man in Louisiana and another in Minnesota, gave President Obama the opportunity to engage in still another of the flights of soaring clichés...
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  • Another Touch of the Bubbly
    September 2016

    Another Touch of the Bubbly

    Well, after 50 years and more in New York, I have heard the fat lady sing, and I know what that means. There have been some issues as the decades have zipped by, I must say; and I have dealt with the problems seriatim—riots, street crime,...
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  • Midwife Crisis
    September 2016

    Midwife Crisis

    A few things can be said with certainty of the BBC’s Call the Midwife: None of those babies are swaddled tightly enough. Car births aren’t the greatest, but I’ve seen worse than the one in Season Four. And if Sister Evangelina doesn’t know why...
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  • Bleep You, Liberals!
    September 2016

    Bleep You, Liberals!

    Political correctness has, since the 1990’s, been a tool the left has used to silence the proponents of traditional morality, society, and culture. Under the banner of “sensitivity,” which has the veneer of a Higher Morality, p.c. has infected...
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  • In Another Country
    September 2016

    In Another Country

    A vast, under-populated Western country. A densely populated neighboring one and member of the quasi-Third World immediately south of the border. Human labor in demand in the north, an overabundance of it in the south.
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  • Earning Your Protest
    August 2016

    Earning Your Protest

    Like many young men graduating high school in 1966, my father took a fast track to the politically seething, war-shattered jungles of a small country on the other side of the world.
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  • Tocqueville, Santayana, and Donald Trump
    August 2016

    Tocqueville, Santayana, and Donald Trump

    For Americans and non-Americans alike, the American people has seemed a recognizable and describable breed from the earliest years of the Republic down to the 21st century, despite America’s reputation as a nation hospitable to immigration and...
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  • Get in Deep
    August 2016

    Get in Deep

    Although music doesn’t have an obvious link with golf, I say it does, so that I can contradict myself immediately. The late Sam Snead was and still is well known for his beautiful swing, which he related explicitly to waltz-time, and more than...
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  • Orwell in Chains
    July 2016

    Orwell in Chains

    George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” remains a lighthouse, the beam sweeping past the scene for a moment of blinding illumination before passing on to darkness.
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  • Laughing at Harry
    July 2016

    Laughing at Harry

    Things have never been grimmer. Wall Street wolves have become billionaires while rigging the system, rats like William Kristol are showboating on television and spreading lies about The Donald, and the most dishonest couple since Bonnie and...
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  • Student and Teacher Benefits
    June 2016

    Student and Teacher Benefits

    It’s nine o’clock on Tuesday. First into the classroom today are my Advanced Placement European History students. I begin the class, as I always do, with a prayer, and then deliver a lecture on such Enlightenment luminaries as Montesquieu,...
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  • Self, Secularism, and Suicide
    June 2016

    Self, Secularism, and Suicide

    The response of the Western European governments, and of a substantial portion of what is called the European elite—roughly speaking, the upper-middle classes—to the invasion of the Continent from the east and south must be among the most unusual...
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  • The Ties That Bind
    June 2016

    The Ties That Bind

    Born in the U.S.A., with its iconic cover of a white T-shirted Springsteen, red baseball cap tucked into the rear pocket of his blue jeans, all silhouetted against a larger-than-life American flag, was the chief introduction to Bruce for...
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  • The Good Times Ain’t Over for Good
    June 2016

    The Good Times Ain’t Over for Good

    The music—“folk” back then, after a while “country”—resonated with a massive number of folks who were (and are) American, yet had their own unique cultures and traditions and histories that set them apart.
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  • Leaping Short
    June 2016

    Leaping Short

    Martin Hacklett is English. He lives in London. His father, who used to work on the Thames, has been unemployed for 15 years. His elder brother has been in and out of prison.
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  • A Monumental Proposal
    June 2016

    A Monumental Proposal

    I was recently perplexed to see in the news that Harvard, the oldest institution of higher learning in the nation, had declared that, though master has no etymological relation to slavery (but rather to magister), the word would nevertheless be...
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  • An Essay on the State of France
    June 2016

    An Essay on the State of France

    What follows is not an anthropometric description of France, but neither does it reflect the fancy of the author: It is what one can see of France from a certain distance, which blurs the finer details but allows the main features to stand out.
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  • Sometimes a Flower
    June 2016

    Sometimes a Flower

    A substitute teacher in a public school in what is, by today’s standards, still a relatively socially conservative part of the country uses “an anatomical word during a teaching lesson.” She is fired, and the story goes viral.
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  • Borders
    May 2016

    Borders

    About 20 years ago, there was an interesting left-handed pitcher for the Duluth-Superior Dukes, a very bad team in a league beneath the status of “minor”—minuscule, I might call it, though I am glad to know that there are still a few small-town...
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  • Game of Bones

    Game of Bones

    So what is objectionable about "Game of Thrones"? In posing the question, please note that I am assuming that something is objectionable. So let me count the ways.
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  • See Dick Potty
    May 2016

    See Dick Potty

    We’ve lost, I regret to inform you, yet another civilization-shattering battle. I mean the one over your daughter’s right to use a public restroom without worrying whether there is a dude doing his business in the stall next to her.
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  • Palm Sunday
    May 2016

    Palm Sunday

    On Palm Sunday, I took a walk. It’s the first day of spring, and the sky is china blue, decorated with small cotton-like puffs of clouds. Flowers are blooming, and the ducks at the pond have laid their eggs.
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  • Living With the Iconoclasts
    May 2016

    Living With the Iconoclasts

    Should the day come when the monuments are removed, true New Orleanians will have a hard choice to make: Do we stay where we are no longer wanted and work to preserve the rest that remains?
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  • Sizing Up the Feline Uproar
    May 2016

    Sizing Up the Feline Uproar

    In London recently, I found that many of the locals had stayed up until the early hours of a wet Monday morning to watch Super Bowl 50 on television, and judging from the T-shirts being paraded around town there seems to be a particular...
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  • <em>Sharia</em>, Not Shakespeare
    May 2016

    Sharia, Not Shakespeare

    When Allardyce Nicholl, then professor of English at Birmingham University, founded the Shakespeare Institute at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1951, he intended from the beginning that it should have an international flavor.
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  • Donald Trump, the Court, and the Law

    Donald Trump, the Court, and the Law

    Is Donald Trump a Burkean? Would Russell Kirk vote for him for president? Can a paleoconservative legal scholar imagine any benefit to a Trump presidency?
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  • Snobs and Slobs

    Snobs and Slobs

    How very vulgar I have been—I am sorry, and I apologize! I am just terrible, and it is all my fault. And I accept the responsibility. And how could I accept my own shame if I had not done so in public?
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  • On the Wings of a Snow White Dove

    On the Wings of a Snow White Dove

    When you have over an hour to kill downtown in a major city, time seems to slow to a stop. Fortunately, the Roman houses beneath the Palazzo Valentini, which we were waiting to visit, are a stone’s throw from the column of Trajan.
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  • There’s More Where That Came From
    April 2016

    There’s More Where That Came From

    When I first heard chamber music, it seemed an acquired taste, and subsequently a taste I acquired. So I will recite some personal history without any illusion that it matters because it was my experience.
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  • The Loss and Recovery of Truth
    April 2016

    The Loss and Recovery of Truth

    “Philosophy of history is a concept coined by Voltaire,” Gerhart Niemeyer said to me in the spring of 1977, repeating the first sentence of his lecture, “The Loss and Recovery of History,” delivered at a Hillsdale College seminar a few weeks...
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  • No News Is Good News
    April 2016

    No News Is Good News

    Why does anyone follow the news? I am not referring to people who more or less have to know what is being said about current events.
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  • Music and the Tooth Dentist
    March 2016

    Music and the Tooth Dentist

    As my many devoted readers have already noticed and let me know, though I do love good music, it’s hard to convey the intensity of that devotion. So it occurred to me to write about abject rather than exalted musical experiences.
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  • EMP (“Are You Experienced?”)
    March 2016

    EMP (“Are You Experienced?”)

    Is rock music truly an art? This question has never met with a straightforward answer, either by the musicians themselves or the many who venerate them, and it hangs over the massive bulk of the Experience Music Project and the Science Fiction...
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  • The Cheap Trick of Whiteness
    February 2016

    The Cheap Trick of Whiteness

    A half-truth, as John Lukacs is fond of saying, is more dangerous than a lie, because the element of truth in it, speaking to our hearts and minds, can mask the accompanying falsehood.
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  • Singing Our Song
    February 2016

    Singing Our Song

    In the summer of 2014, a “surge” was on at the southern border, particularly in my home state of Texas, stimulated by the Obama administration’s signals that it was planning a mass amnesty and had no intention of enforcing immigration laws.
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  • Excluding Muslims: Facts and Fictions
    February 2016

    Excluding Muslims: Facts and Fictions

    Donald Trump’s call for a moratorium on Muslim immigration has drawn fire from the establishment right. “It’s a violation of our Constitution, but it also undermines the character of our nation,” Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina...
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  • White Like Me
    February 2016

    White Like Me

    The aims of white separatists are geographical and political impossibilities, while the dreams of white supremacists are doomed by the demographics of the rapidly self-shrinking white world and by the facts of modern political life and the...
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  • Incidentally White
    February 2016

    Incidentally White

    The conservative “fights shy” with the white-nationalist ideologue, because the conservative is not alienated from himself or his own people. He does not see the important questions of life framed in abstract terms derived outside of his...
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  • Who Defines America?
    February 2016

    Who Defines America?

    Who are the American people? The question is not likely to have a unique natural answer, since there are degrees, overlaps, and mismatches, but conditions limit possibilities.
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  • Lee Marvin, Marine
    February 2016

    Lee Marvin, Marine

    I first met Lee Marvin in 1964. I had seen him around town for several years. He lived on Latimer Road in Rustic Canyon, a part of our then small, quaint hamlet of Pacific Palisades.
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  • Not So Far Away, Not So Long Ago
    February 2016

    Not So Far Away, Not So Long Ago

    Brooklyn is what used to be called a woman’s movie. It still would be if au courant feminism hadn’t threatened charges of misogyny against all those who use such an excessively abhorrent designation.
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  • Drafting Our Daughters
    January 2016

    Drafting Our Daughters

    The leftist regime, incarnate in bold and belligerent Democrats and tepid, me-too Republicans, hates women, the same way it hates black people.
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  • The End of American Exceptionalism?
    January 2016

    The End of American Exceptionalism?

    Neoconservatives repeatedly try to take Reagan’s words and conform them to their own definition of American exceptionalism.
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  • <em>The Seven Stairs</em> and AIDS
    December 2015

    The Seven Stairs and AIDS

    Some 30 years ago, I read Stuart Brent’s "The Seven Stairs", an autobiography about the author’s life-long love affair with his books and his Chicago bookshop, once a Mecca for bibliophiles and authors.
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  • Disconnected: Our Virtual Unreality
    December 2015

    Disconnected: Our Virtual Unreality

    Disconnecting from a connected world places one on the fringes of postmodern life, like people who still read serious hard-copy books with pleasure, or recite poetry, or who wander aimlessly on bright days.
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  • Science and Democracy
    December 2015

    Science and Democracy

    A virtue of America’s quadrennial election cycle is its success in revealing and giving form to whatever popular malaise has set in over the past four years, whether the results of the elections themselves address the disorder or not, and...
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  • Pax in Our Times
    December 2015

    Pax in Our Times

    In 1970’s London, things were a bit more rudimentary than they are today: You considered yourself lucky to get through 24 hours without losing your electricity thanks to the latest “industrial action”, the trains were invariably late, and my...
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  • Becoming Like Little Children
    December 2015

    Becoming Like Little Children

    What is it about the genre of fantasy fiction that makes it so enduringly popular? Is it a further sign of modernity’s malaise and its inability to cope with reality, or is it perhaps a sign of hope in our deplorably darkened days?
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  • Black Lives Shatter
    December 2015

    Black Lives Shatter

    The media and the hand-wringing politicians who are dancing on the grave of the career of Columbia, South Carolina, School Resource Officer Ben Fields are pulling a fast one.
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  • Release the Klan(s)!
    December 2015

    Release the Klan(s)!

    Move over, Ashley Madison—there’s a new scandal in town. At least, that’s what the media is desperate to have you believe.
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  • Henry Radetsky and Fritz Kreisler
    November 2015

    Henry Radetsky and Fritz Kreisler

    Tossing around a word like music is problematical—and culture is even harder to deploy meaningfully. Nevertheless, I am going to give both a try.
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  • The Left’s True Target
    October 2015

    The Left’s True Target

    Arguments, as Malcolm Muggeridge astutely observed, are never about what they’re about. As when “You’re never on time anymore” turns out really to mean, “When are you going to quit sitting around and get a real job?”
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  • Exceptional America
    October 2015

    Exceptional America

    Tocqueville was the first author to apply the adjective exceptional to America, but the compliment—if he meant it as a compliment—was a backhanded one, referring narrowly to circumstances that “concurred to fix the mind of the American upon...
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  • How Long Has This Been Going On?
    October 2015

    How Long Has This Been Going On?

    We live in revolutionary times of rapid technological change, and yes, it is a little disconcerting when the rules morph and the practices mutate. But I did predict years ago that vinyl would be back, and so it is.
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  • I Heart Big Brother
    October 2015

    I Heart Big Brother

    Ashley Madison, the adultery website seemingly named for Honey Boo Boo’s fiercest rival, unwillingly yielded all of her secrets to the prying eyes of a hacker group that calls itself The Impact Team.
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  • Sophistory
    September 2015

    Sophistory

    We broke history because fewer and fewer Americans have the desire—much less capacity—to think in historical terms.
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  • Poetry’s Place in America
    August 2015

    Poetry’s Place in America

    When Henry Wadsworth Longfellow visited London in 1868, he was invited by Queen Victoria to an audience at Windsor Castle. She complimented him on his poetry, assuring him that all her servants read it.
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  • The Worst Verse Since 1915
    August 2015

    The Worst Verse Since 1915

    Exactly 50 years ago, T.S. Eliot died. Exactly 100 years ago, “Prufrock” appeared. What better moment, then, to perform the long-overdue public service of identifying the single worst poem to have been published during the last century?
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  • #CallMeMilton
    August 2015

    #CallMeMilton

    Like most individuals my age who have both X and Y chromosomes and a conventionally male sexual organ, I was assigned a specific identity at birth.
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  • Dying With a Kardashian
    August 2015

    Dying With a Kardashian

    For those who like to see their name in print, the Hiltons and Kardashians of this world, make sure that, when the man in the white suit visits you, you’re the only one he’s dropping in on.
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  • Abolishing America
    August 2015

    Abolishing America

    June was a depressing month for genuine conservatives.
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  • Watch This Space
    July 2015

    Watch This Space

    That I could order my Apple Watch Sport from my iPhone while walking down the Corso Italia in Milan, and pay for it on the phone with just the touch of my thumb, is as much of a technological marvel as the Watch itself.
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  • Signs and Portents
    July 2015

    Signs and Portents

    I can’t recall where I first encountered them. It must have been in one of the rundown bars, like Clarence’s or The Shack, in the redneck section of Chapel Hill. Let’s call them Larry and John.
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  • Are You a Bigot?
    July 2015

    Are You a Bigot?

    A major function of liberal society is inventing new forms of bigotry. You take an obvious idea—something believed always, everywhere, and by all—and show that in fact it is not just false, but a vicious form of hatred and discrimination.
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  • Detroit: From Under the Rubble
    June 2015

    Detroit: From Under the Rubble

    Two weeks before Apple began selling its new Apple Watch, Shinola Detroit took out a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal. Above a large photo of its analog watch, The Runwell, was the tag, “The Watch That’s Too Smart to Try and Be a Phone.”
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  • Detroit: The Calm After the Storm
    June 2015

    Detroit: The Calm After the Storm

    If you were looking for the authentic voice of a particular type of disaffected Detroit resident in that searingly hot summer of 1976, Mr. Mad and Dangerous might be it.
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  • Policing and Profiling
    June 2015

    Policing and Profiling

    A growing nationwide disdain for police officers has resulted from several highly publicized shootings of “unarmed” minority men who have resisted arrest or attacked officers.
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  • UVA: Facts <em>Versus</em> the Left’s Narrative
    June 2015

    UVA: Facts Versus the Left’s Narrative

    For a news professional, it is hard to say which is more discouraging: that Rolling Stone published an imaginary tale of gang rape from a crazy college girl without double-checking her story, or that no one at Rolling Stone was...
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  • Disturbing the Peace
    June 2015

    Disturbing the Peace

    The waitress at my favorite Japanese restaurant, a spotlessly clean little joint in a Sonoma County hamlet not far from my home, had no idea what she was getting into as she took the order.
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  • Mnemosyne’s Tricks
    June 2015

    Mnemosyne’s Tricks

    Writers incline to solipsism, and I’m no exception. To write is to presume that your words matter to others, and this places you at the center of the universe you’re describing, with its sun, its Earth—to say nothing of the small potatoes of...
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  • Code Yellow
    June 2015

    Code Yellow

    Talk about the failure of fundamental journalism! In any other profession—medical, legal, financial—the guilty party would be struck off. In journalism, the guilty party—as in Rolling Stone—continues on its merry way of disinformation...
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  • Advancing the Conversation in Baltimore

    Advancing the Conversation in Baltimore

    In a press release, Attorney General Loretta Lynch explained that “Department officials heard from residents about concerns regarding the Baltimore Police Department and the lack of trust they feel exists between the police and the community.”
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  • Bruce Jenner’s Tears

    Bruce Jenner’s Tears

    Did you hear the one about Bruce Jenner? No? You missed it? Well, then, it’s probably too late.
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  • Paterfamilias
    May 2015

    Paterfamilias

    In America today, we seem to face two alternatives: accepting hordes of invaders with alien cultures and ideologies, who are unwilling to assimilate and whose presence endangers the vestiges of our civilization; or homogenizing America into a...
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  • The Great American Disintegration
    May 2015

    The Great American Disintegration

    When a former colleague sent me a snippet from The New Yorker of September 22, 2014—a piece called “As Big As the Ritz,” by Adam Gopnik—the attention therein given to two recent books on F. Scott Fitzgerald caught my eye, not only...
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  • Family Tradition
    May 2015

    Family Tradition

    Michelle Parker, a young mother of two, disappeared from her Florida home in 2011 and has never been seen again. The only suspect in her disappearance is her husband, who has left the state with the two children.
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  • Hating
    May 2015

    Hating

    Liberals love psychology, as a science and as pseudoscience, while being very bad at it. Indeed, the liberal persuasion and the discipline of psychology have a natural affinity for each other, grounded in their morally relativistic values, that...
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  • Messalina’s Revenge
    May 2015

    Messalina’s Revenge

    In modern America the curse seems to have appeared with the consolidation of imperial government at home and abroad with the New Deal and World War II. Eleanor Roosevelt was in a class all by herself.
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  • Brian Williams’ Job

    Brian Williams’ Job

    At the heart of the Brian Williams affair lies, I think, not so much the question of his alleged brush with enemy fire in Iraq, but whether we should properly treat such people as working journalists or entertainers.
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  • <em>Charlie</em>, Christian, and the Bondage of Freedom
    March 2015

    Charlie, Christian, and the Bondage of Freedom

    Two Muslims brutally murdered some French cartoonists for blaspheming their holy man. Have we learned something new from this?
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  • Clash of the Iconoclasts
    March 2015

    Clash of the Iconoclasts

    Was the murder of 11 members of the staff of a French “satirical” magazine a civilized act? To ask that question even rhetorically seems absurd.
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  • A Plague on Both Their Houses
    March 2015

    A Plague on Both Their Houses

    Now that a great quarrel has opened up between Muslims and the opponents, not of Islam per se, but of “radical” Islamist terrorists, conservatives are tempted, as they always are, to make friends with the enemies of their enemies.
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  • Quoth the Raven
    March 2015

    Quoth the Raven

    For the past six months the United States has been experiencing another of the racial fits that have recurred more or less regularly across the half-century since the civil-rights protests of the 1950’s and the Civil Rights Acts of the 60’s that...
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  • Islamic Terror in Paris: To Be Continued
    March 2015

    Islamic Terror in Paris: To Be Continued

    Muslim violence has returned to Paris, after nine years, with the murder of editorial-staff members of Charlie Hebdo. But the jihad of today looks different from the one that took place there in the fall of 2005.
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  • A Master Accompanist
    March 2015

    A Master Accompanist

    Few jazz pianists are “accompanists” as gifted in knowledge, technique, and taste as Norman Simmons, able to back vocalists with consummate skill in chording, passing notes, and background lines, but also wise in the use of space.
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  • Seized by the Moment
    March 2015

    Seized by the Moment

    Richard Linklater’s Boyhood became the critics’ darling upon its staged release at the end of 2014. From The New Yorker to the Daily News, reviewers have vied with one another to sing its praises. Most of them think...
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  • People of the Book
    March 2015

    People of the Book

    Sometimes one opens the morning newspaper and, instead of fires, floods, or declarations of war, finds a parable. This one hit me with the force of a subway train back in January, and I duly rushed it off as a post on the Chronicles...
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  • Baying for Broken Glass
    February 2015

    Baying for Broken Glass

    The December 4 issue of Rolling Stone includes an article entitled “A Rape on Campus,” by Sabrina Rubin Erdely. Miss Erdely tells us about a University of Virginia coed (“Jackie”) who claims to have been raped by seven fraternity boys...
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  • A Different Drum
    February 2015

    A Different Drum

    You turn on the radio for the weather report: “Sunny and warm today, with a high near 80. Light breeze out of the south at five miles per hour. Chance of rain less than ten percent.”
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  • <em>Rolling Stone</em> Gathered No Facts
    February 2015

    Rolling Stone Gathered No Facts

    When a blockbuster story that took “months” to research and write must be prefaced, postpublication, with a note that suggests the story isn’t true, an editor knows he has a problem.
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  • Two Ways of Dying
    February 2015

    Two Ways of Dying

    Thomas More’s world was one in which reminders of death were all around, and also one in which most people reflexively accepted the tenets of Christianity, including the knowledge that, in the words of an earlier English playwright, “the...
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  • Up From Sharpton
    February 2015

    Up From Sharpton

    If I were a North Korean leader, or even an ISIS head chopper, I’d be reveling in the fact that a former American black basketball star spoke more plainly about race in America than any member of our political class or media.
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  • The Future of Minority Culture(s)
    February 2015

    The Future of Minority Culture(s)

    Two challenging words of the title of this essay stand somehow between us and ourselves, so that we will have to get around the distortions unnecessarily presented by minority and culture in order to see the freedom and even the...
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  • Mongrels All! or, Slaves With New Masters
    February 2015

    Mongrels All! or, Slaves With New Masters

    Of late, our demographic soothsayers have been assuring us that by 2040 or thereabouts America will no longer be a Caucasian-majority country, and that with the eclipse of the white majority there will be, to belabor the obvious, no majority culture.
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  • Justice for All
    February 2015

    Justice for All

    Five years before Michael Brown and Eric Garner would become household names, there was Mark Barmore.
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  • A Book That Needs to Be Read
    January 2015

    A Book That Needs to Be Read

    There are many reasons why one might conclude that the United States is in a spiral of self-destruction and is in fact no longer a Christian country. One of the most obvious—apart from 40-plus years of legalized abortion—is the current effort to...
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  • Is Immigration Our Fate?
    January 2015

    Is Immigration Our Fate?

    Political correctness has it that immigration is a perennial phenomenon in Western countries. This is preposterous. Immigration as we know it today is an extremely recent phenomenon.
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  • Arabs at the Opera
    December 2014

    Arabs at the Opera

    Opera has been in the news lately—in Paris and New York, that is. And no, this doesn’t mean things are culturally looking up—to the contrary, I’m afraid.
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  • It’s a Drag
    December 2014

    It’s a Drag

    That characteristic feature of our age, the impressively feckless adolescent indulged by a craven and cynical media, reared its head this past October 15 in the rural community of Randle, Washington.
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  • Political Science
    December 2014

    Political Science

    The ruckus over Ebola would be funny if the stakes weren’t so high. Here’s a disease that presents a lethal threat to the general public, but rather than addressing its danger on purely medical grounds, our officials and commentators are...
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  • Watching Is Out—So Watch Out!
    November 2014

    Watching Is Out—So Watch Out!

    I have been receiving so many requests lately for lifestyle advice, tips on public relations and media etiquette (not to mention recommendations about health and beauty maintenance), that I just haven’t been able to keep up with them all.
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  • The Meaning of Decadence
    November 2014

    The Meaning of Decadence

    When people speak of a society being “decadent,” they commonly understand decadence in terms of standards of personal behavior and the sense of morality, or want of it, that behavior expresses.
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  • A Very American Hotel
    September 2014

    A Very American Hotel

    Forty years is a long enough stretch, but it seems far less than half a lifetime ago when, as a surly British teenager, I found myself clutching an all-day pass to the 1974 World’s Fair in Spokane, Washington.
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  • Thinking Outside the Boxes
    September 2014

    Thinking Outside the Boxes

    In all these little boxes of the mind, the poor kids are immunized against nonconformity and carefully shielded from all those dangerous thoughts of Aristotle and Shakespeare and Vergil that might lead them to question the assumptions with which...
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  • The Left’s Long March
    September 2014

    The Left’s Long March

    On June 2, FOX News’s The Five were discussing the Harvard commencement speech of ex-mayor Michael Bloomberg, in which he pointed out that something like 95 percent of the faculty had supported Obama.
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  • And All Shall Equal Be
    August 2014

    And All Shall Equal Be

    This is our annual summer vacation issue, which means I am free to ramble on like an old lizard soaking up gin and sunshine at the beach and telling stories that all begin, “Did I ever tell you about the time . . . ”
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  • Carry On
    August 2014

    Carry On

    The modern world abounds in modern heresies. One might say that modernity itself is a heresy—modernity understood in the broadest possible terms as the antithesis of the traditional.
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  • Too Quiet Flows the Don
    August 2014

    Too Quiet Flows the Don

    The stone head from the Iron Age glowers out of its glass case as if outraged by the indignity of imprisonment, its relegation from totem to tourist attraction.
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  • Football Mafia
    August 2014

    Football Mafia

    The greatest criminal and most profitable enterprise in the world is FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association). As I write, billions are watching obscenely overpaid footballers competing for a cup that is long overdue for a total...
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  • Mr. Kennan’s America
    July 2014

    Mr. Kennan’s America

    No admirer of George F. Kennan’s should be surprised by the angry tone of the reviews his recently published Diaries has been receiving. Of the several I have read, in the British as well as the American press, all were, to some extent or...
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  • A Necessary Book
    July 2014

    A Necessary Book

    We have been enduring the cultural revolution of liberal modernity. It is hard to say exactly when that revolution began, but it took a great step forward in the 60’s, when social and religious tradition lost its last shreds of public authority,...
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  • True Tar-Heel Tales
    July 2014

    True Tar-Heel Tales

    Sometimes “Uncle” Bud disappears for a week or two on “fishing trips.” He always has a nice car for trips, usually a Buick with a big trunk. Pays cash for ’em, too. Always says he got the money from cashing in his “G.I. insurance.”
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  • Jimmy Rowles
    July 2014

    Jimmy Rowles

    Given his devil-may-care nature, it’s easy to overlook Jimmy Rowles’ status as one of the most gifted and technically versatile pianists of his generation. His initial inspirations were Tatum, Mary Lou Williams, and Teddy Wilson, and he once...
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  • Unfair Play
    July 2014

    Unfair Play

    A few months ago I found myself stranded in Piccadilly. There was a parade of women—of a decidedly Sapphic cast, I thought—carrying placards with slogans that admonished men for their proclivity to rape, violence, and pillage.
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  • A Chestertonian Assault

    A Chestertonian Assault

    Whenever I receive a new number of The Chesterton Review, I groan inwardly and, from time to time, outwardly. Let me hasten to add that said groan is not a sign of tedium or disappointment—far from it.
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  • Waters on the West Bank
    June 2014

    Waters on the West Bank

    I never listen to pop music, but I do know the difference between the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. I even know one of the Stones’ daughters, Theodora Richards, as she went out with the son of a friend who brought her aboard my boat.
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  • Die, Sterling!

    Die, Sterling!

    Down with a resounding bang comes the wrath of that great moral institution, the National Basketball Association, upon the noggin of L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Boo! Hiss! Get the hook!
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  • From Castro to Cancun
    May 2014

    From Castro to Cancun

    I’ve long wanted to go to Cuba for the same reason that most Americans my age might. I wanted to see a place that has, for most of my life, been shrouded in mystery.
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  • America’s Grand Strategy
    May 2014

    America’s Grand Strategy

    “Robbing, slaughtering, pillaging they misname sovereign authority, and where they make an empty waste they call it peace.” -Tacitus
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  • Botched Efforts
    May 2014

    Botched Efforts

    To paraphrase Sir Christopher Wren’s admirer: If you seek the Reformation’s monument, the chaos and rubble are all around you.
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  • National Debtors
    April 2014

    National Debtors

    The United States is a nation of debtors. Whatever sources you consult or trust, our per capita debt is extraordinarily high.
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  • In Search of the Bourgeoisie
    March 2014

    In Search of the Bourgeoisie

    “How beastly the bourgeois is,” sneered D.H. Lawrence, “especially the male of the species.” What courage and imagination a writer must have to revile a social class that has been under attack for over a generation!
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  • The Way of Perfection
    March 2014

    The Way of Perfection

    Paradoxically, Westerners of every faith and political opinion seem perennially unhappy with Western society, despite the West’s assurance that it is the best, most fair, most free, most enlightened, and most humane way of life in human history.
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  • Middle-Class Pretensions
    March 2014

    Middle-Class Pretensions

    When I was growing up in England 50 years ago, the newspapers still periodically caused a certain amount of mirth by “outing” a national figure as not some impeccably Eton-reared patrician, as his public image seemed to imply, but a horny-handed...
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  • True Tar-Heel Tales
    March 2014

    True Tar-Heel Tales

    “Now take this here Trayvion business,” said Uncle Bud. He stopped and took a sip, just like he always done before delivering his wisdom. Uncle Bud worn’t axtually my uncle. In fact, he worn’t no blood kin at all.
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  • A Silver Pen in His Mouth
    November 2013

    A Silver Pen in His Mouth

    Truth to tell, I find myself in a similar predicament vis-à-vis Cockburn. When I began work on this review, I want to aver, I intended it to be a very favorable portrait.
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  • The Night the World Didn’t Change
    December 2013

    The Night the World Didn’t Change

    Most sober historians have little respect for counterfactuals, those extrapolations of alternative worlds where matters developed differently from the world we know. Yet such alternatives are actually hard to avoid.
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  • The Agrarian Burden
    October 2013

    The Agrarian Burden

    Recently, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute hosted a panel discussion on the “great books of conservatism,” among which was Richard Weaver’s 1948 work Ideas Have Consequences.
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  • The Solipsistic State
    September 2013

    The Solipsistic State

    The New York Times’ headline for Thursday, July 4, 2013, printed above a nearly page-wide photograph showing a spectacular eruption of fireworks in the nighttime sky above Cairo, read Egypt Army Ousts Morsi, Suspends Charter.
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  • Old Route 66
    September 2013

    Old Route 66

    For years I’ve wanted to take a motorcycle trip on Old Route 66. I finally got my chance last September, along with other members of the Southern California Norton Owners Club. The ride was open to anyone with a vintage British motorcycle.
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  • The Best Schooling Money Can Buy
    September 2013

    The Best Schooling Money Can Buy

    Poor Rachel Jeantel has been ridiculed for her diction, elocution, and irrationality, but in her interview with Piers Morgan she makes a valid point in contrasting “old-school people” who “see their facts” with her own “new-school generation” for...
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  • Gay Marriage: The Last Chance
    September 2013

    Gay Marriage: The Last Chance

    Gay rights have come a long way in a hurry. Ten years ago sodomy was still a crime in many states. The Supreme Court found state laws banning sodomy constitutional as recently as 1986 (Bowers).
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  • Lynchings and Litmus Tests
    September 2013

    Lynchings and Litmus Tests

    When it comes to race, life in America resembles nothing so much as a reenactment of Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery.” That story, you’ll recall, depicted a town that seemed normal—except that, once every year, there would be a...
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  • Persecutions to Come
    September 2013

    Persecutions to Come

    Consider the unfortunate case of Prof. Thomas Klocek, whose story is one of many examples of intolerance recounted in D.A. Carson’s most recent book. Klocek engaged in a brief debate with a group of Palestinian student activists at DePaul...
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  • Learning to Hate George Zimmerman
    September 2013

    Learning to Hate George Zimmerman

    The 2013 Summer of Race has come to a close, and thanks to endless badgering from the media, America remains sharply divided. We’re told that on one side are those who care deeply about the plight of blacks in America and, on the other, are...
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  • The Post-Suburban Jesus
    July 2013

    The Post-Suburban Jesus

    By a generous estimate, evangelical Christians are as much as one third of the U.S. population. In fact, they are the only Christian demographic that has shown exuberant growth in recent decades—a period during which church attendance overall...
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  • Toilet Equality

    Toilet Equality

    Right before our eyes, we’ve witnessed a profound change in the way that American society treats the institution of marriage.
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  • Sex Matters
    April 2013

    Sex Matters

    Rarely have I read in so few pages a book as thought-provoking and compelling as J. Budziszewski’s On the Meaning of Sex. Budziszewski, a Yale Ph.D. and professor of government and philosophy at the University of Texas, has grappled for...
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  • Beautygate!

    Beautygate!

    Here’s an opinion that might as well be a fact of life: Men of all ages find beauty queens to be attractive. Yes, I know, it’s quite a newsflash. Remember, you read it here first.
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  • The Press: Hidden Persuasion or Sign of the Times?
    March 2013

    The Press: Hidden Persuasion or Sign of the Times?

    Modern Western societies are commonly called industrial or democratic societies. They might just as well be named mass-communication societies, for the average citizen is supposed to be informed about what goes on in and around the city whose...
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  • The Rise and Death of the Disinformation Media
    March 2013

    The Rise and Death of the Disinformation Media

    Americans can now pick from a welter of news outlets on the internet and from such independent sources as this magazine. Yet most Americans still get their news from the usual disinformation sources: the major newspapers and broadcast and cable TV.
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  • Movie Czar
    February 2013

    Movie Czar

    The latest school massacre has all the do-gooders crying for more gun control, yet few have touched upon the blood-splattering, shoot-’em-up electronic games that the unhinged nerd who murdered 27 people in Newtown, Connecticut, played.
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  • Adam Lanza’s America
    February 2013

    Adam Lanza’s America

    Newtown has now joined the ranks of Columbine, Aurora, and Virginia Tech as ominous names that evoke memories of tragic violence. This one stings especially because 20 children, ages six and seven, were among the 26 murdered at the hitherto...
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  • Predators
    January 2013

    Predators

    In an earlier phase of my career, I researched the subject of serial murder. What struck me repeatedly was how many of the cases defied the common stereotype of the lone Jack the Ripper figure, always a white male.
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  • Cops on Camels
    January 2013

    Cops on Camels

    This is the best news I’ve had since both the governor of the state of New York and a congressman from the depraved city of New York had to resign because of sex scandals. The latest good news is that Saudi Arabia will not have Uncle Sam to kick...
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  • Handgun Culture
    January 2013

    Handgun Culture

    Bob Costas fired off a lecture during prime-time NBC coverage of the NFL that outraged some political commentators and fans.
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  • The Gynocratic Hive
    October 2012

    The Gynocratic Hive

    When, in her 1963 book The Feminine Mystique, second-wave feminist Betty Friedan characterized the American suburban home as a “comfortable concentration camp” for women, well under 30 percent of American women were employed outside the...
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  • Men: Are You Ready to Lead?
    October 2012

    Men: Are You Ready to Lead?

    Life was much simpler for those of us who grew up in 1950’s America than it is for children today. We took for granted an intact family with a breadwinner father and a stay-at-home mom. America was the number-one manufacturing country in the...
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  • Moonbeam Returns
    January 2012

    Moonbeam Returns

    California is like a beautiful woman who always falls for losers. In just the past 13 years, voters put on the governor’s throne Gray Davis, who was so bad he was dumped from power in the state’s historic 2003 recall.
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  • Immoral Triumphs
    December 2011

    Immoral Triumphs

    Clyde Wilson once remarked that, if one were to distill multiculturalism to its essence, one would be left with nothing at all. As he put it, multiculturalism means many fashions, mutable and discardable, but no culture.
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  • Desperate Housewives
    November 2011

    Desperate Housewives

    Those who have an interest in the cultural survival of the West may note with increasing trepidation that the very things that have traditionally characterized it are being cannibalized alive. Australia is no exception to this general trend.
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  • Keeping Asheville Weird
    October 2011

    Keeping Asheville Weird

    North Carolina’s second-largest zoo is in Asheville, where visitors from May through October walk the middle of the town, looking at Rastafarians, New Age gurus, tattooed women, people of various sexual preferences, cross-dressers, musicians and...
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  • Tarzan's Way
    September 2011

    Tarzan's Way

    Last night we watched from the hotel terrace as a giant cargo ship cast anchor in the Tyrrhenian indigo and proceeded to unload fresh water for the whole of our sunburnt island, an enterprise which from that vantage point seemed a triumph of...
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  • Running in Circles
    September 2011

    Running in Circles

    The esteemed editor of this magazine was not at all persuaded by my discussion of Twitter in the first installment of this new column (“Weiners and Losers,” September). I would have been more than a bit disappointed if it had been otherwise.
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  • No More Books
    September 2011

    No More Books

    This is strange to say, but observation bears it out: Almost all publishers and most booksellers and librarians neither know nor care anything about books.
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  • U No What I Meen: Technology and Illiteracy
    September 2011

    U No What I Meen: Technology and Illiteracy

    Most college and university professors know that even though students may successfully complete remedial courses and even a full slate of freshman and sophomore classes, many will still be unable to use proper language mechanics or to work with...
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  • Weiners and Losers
    August 2011

    Weiners and Losers

    In the space of five minutes, hundreds of tweets populate your Twitter timeline, and unless you suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, any tweet that is more than five minutes old is ancient history.
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  • Burning Fries in Hell

    Burning Fries in Hell

    And how exactly is McDonald’s causing this national health crisis that, left unchecked, will prematurely kill off our youth? Advertising, of course.
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  • Throughly American Healthcare
    June 2011

    Throughly American Healthcare

    The U.S. healthcare system really isn’t a “market-driven system” at all. Prices aren’t set by supply and demand. They are set by the federal government for the public programs, and by the government-licensed providers themselves in the...
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  • New York State of Mind
    June 2011

    New York State of Mind

    One must remember that, back then, liberalism among the elite cosmopolites such as the lady in question did not take kindly to certain truths. Intolerance with conservative thoughts was the order of the day.
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  • The Unentitled

    The Unentitled

    I do not quite recall when the bad manners (and worse English) routinely displayed on National Public Radio became one of our inalienable rights, but Miss Updike is clearly right. Most Americans do think that the rules of etiquette are as...
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  • Cutting Our Teeth On <i>Twilight</i>
    March 2011

    Cutting Our Teeth On Twilight

    It is evident even to some of her fans that her ability to entertain millions of others as well as herself does not mean the Twilight books are very good. They are not well written, not richly inventive and imaginative in the world they...
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  • Getting Here From There
    February 2011

    Getting Here From There

    If you can remember the 1960’s, the old line goes, you weren’t really there. “There,” of course, means the counterculture represented by Woodstock, hallucinogenic drugs, antiwar protests, and Haight-Ashbury.
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  • Death Benefits
    February 2011

    Death Benefits

    Having been caught out by the demon memory gene of the sainted editor—I tried to recycle a Paris nostalgia piece—I shall nevertheless return to my brother-in-law’s funeral in Paris a few years ago, which prompted the recycle, and this time write...
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  • A Tale of Two Cities
    January 2011

    A Tale of Two Cities

    The attraction of Charleston is that it is a real place, to which a string of buzzwords—walkable, livable, human-scale—could never do justice. And it is a living testament to how the character of a people can shape a city, which in turn molds...
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  • Five Really Good Reasons
    December 2010

    Five Really Good Reasons

    Atheism is once again the rage. These religious fads come and go like skirt lengths or medical trends. When I was a child, everyone I knew had had his tonsils out.
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  • Top&mdash;Heavy Schools
    December 2010

    Top—Heavy Schools

    It was another day, you know—back when President James A. Garfield could define a university as “Mark Hopkins on one end of a log and a student on the other.”
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  • The Necessity of Christianity
    December 2010

    The Necessity of Christianity

    To prove the necessity of Christianity in a few paragraphs would be an entirely foolish—if not preposterous—undertaking, were it not that volumes are not necessary to present a simple idea.
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  • The One Civilization
    December 2010

    The One Civilization

    Popular culture in the West, and especially in North America, is an illusion, mostly electronic, that does not feed the soul. Indeed, it claims to do nothing but feed the senses, and as such it tends toward universal barbarism, fostering...
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  • What's in a Name?
    December 2010

    What's in a Name?

    America is not a real place with a settled language, culture, religion, and ethnic core but an “idea.” Anyone who accepts this “idea” or “proposition,” as they also call it, is an American.
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  • Common Slobbery
    December 2010

    Common Slobbery

    The only time I saw Bill Clinton in the flesh was four years ago in the London Ritz. I was having lunch with Leopold and Debbie Bismarck and the mother of my children, as I call Princess Alexandra Schoenburg-Hartenstein, my wife.
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  • Children of the Revolution
    October 2010

    Children of the Revolution

    We are all children of the Revolution. Wherever we look, in the office or at church, whatever professions we examine or traditions we cherish, we are hard pressed to discover a single significant aspect of human experience that has not been...
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  • Mormon Apocalypse, Part I
    October 2010

    Mormon Apocalypse, Part I

    America is special. America has a mission. America is a beacon of liberty. America, God shed His grace on thee. We call it American exceptionalism—the belief that, from among the countries of the world, the United States of America has been...
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  • Imagine No More Meresy
    October 2010

    Imagine No More Meresy

    A seven-foot bronze statue of the late Beatle John Lennon greets travelers at the international airport in Liverpool that bears his name. It’s fitting that Lennon’s impish image—hands inserted in pants pockets—is displayed at the airport...
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  • Break out the Booze?
    September 2010

    Break out the Booze?

    No healthy boy has ever wanted to go to school. I know I did not. Parents who are confronted with a son who has played hooky or feigned a stomachache will sometimes try to reason with him, explaining why it is important to get a good education....
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  • Caring in Colorado (and Everywhere)
    September 2010

    Caring in Colorado (and Everywhere)

    Not long ago I attended a dinner hosted by a Catholic laymen’s organization in the social hall of a church on Colorado’s Front Range. The meal was followed by after-dinner speeches and concluding remarks by an official representing the...
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  • Academic Sins
    September 2010

    Academic Sins

    A graduate student asked if he could take a reading course; sitting at my feet, I thought, talking with the rabbi. He was in his early 30’s, a little older than I was, and he had taught in a private school for boys for ten years.
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  • Authentic Communities
    August 2010

    Authentic Communities

    Deep in the heart of man there is a need imprinted by nature that may very well be his basic difference from all other animals: Being a thinking one—i.e., an animal capable of self-awareness—man needs to be something meaningful in his own...
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  • Where the Demons Dwell: The Antichrist Right
    August 2010

    Where the Demons Dwell: The Antichrist Right

    Those blissfully ignorant of right-wing soap opera will have never noticed the Antichrist Right, a loose coalition of writers who regard the Church as the worst thing that ever happened to Western civilization.
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  • How Aussies Lost Their Pride of Erin
    August 2010

    How Aussies Lost Their Pride of Erin

    Some recent Australian cultural trends—massive Islamic immigration, for instance—are so obvious that even an economist can detect them. Others occur so stealthily that they attract no attention, until you suddenly look around and think, Hey,...
    Read more
  • Newsweeklies In Hell
    August 2010

    Newsweeklies In Hell

    Every Easter and Christmas at least one of America’s three newsweeklies—Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News & World Report—includes articles trashing Christian dogmas.
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  • Looking Backwards
    August 2010

    Looking Backwards

    “Whose picture is this, Daddy?” The little blond girl is 11 years old, and, as she flips through the iScraps, her smooth round face shows the first twinge of the questioning mind that will disturb the complacency on which all future happiness...
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  • Sympathetic Magic
    August 2010

    Sympathetic Magic

    America is regarded, and regards herself, as a “can-do” country where almost anything is achievable, and everyone can aspire to “the American dream.” As Ehrenreich states, “In the well-worn stereotype, we are upbeat, cheerful, optimistic, and...
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  • The Happy Few
    August 2010

    The Happy Few

    Stendhal had the delightful habit of ending his books with the closing dedication, in English, “TO THE HAPPY FEW.” The phrase is thought to be a borrowing from Henry V (“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers . . . ”) or perhaps from...
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  • Sex and Post&mdash;Christian Arithmetic
    August 2010

    Sex and Post—Christian Arithmetic

    What is a school? Today, we think of school as an institution or even as a building. But school comes from the Greek skho­le, “leisure”—i.e., clear your schedule of mundane tasks and make time to contemplate what matters.
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  • The Demise of Human Understanding
    July 2010

    The Demise of Human Understanding

    Who in modern Western society has not heard of that category of citizens honorably known as intellectuals? They profess to be the thinking part of the nation, the people whose special calling is to ponder public or private matters.
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  • Regional Cinema
    July 2010

    Regional Cinema

    Like it or not, movies are the main art form of our time, the storytelling medium that reaches the largest audience and captures the attention of us all, high and low, wise and foolish.
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  • Chorus Lines
    July 2012

    Chorus Lines

    The catastrophic burst of the housing bubble in the fall of 2008 shook the foundations of the world economy and instilled a fear of a new depression. Morris Dickstein notes with irony that he completed his cultural history of the Great...
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  • Arizona's Got Sand

    Arizona's Got Sand

    On October 26, 1881, a gunfight erupted in a vacant lot on Fremont Street in Tombstone, Arizona, that would go down in history as the Shootout at the OK Corral.
    Read more
  • Last Action Hero

    Last Action Hero

    Arnold Schwarzenegger marched into the Orange County Register’s lobby wearing cowboy boots and confidence. He was mobbed in the lobby by women who wanted him and men who wanted to be him. He cheerfully signed autographs. He then came up...
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  • Animal Planet
    June 2010

    Animal Planet

    Like the songs tell us, June is busting out all over, and love is in the air. Unlike humans, dolphins can never get enough of love.
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  • For the Children
    May 2010

    For the Children

    Political measures can be undone, but every child whom we save becomes a living witness—an icon—of the love of God and a testimony that we as Christians live what we preach.
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  • A Poverty of Spirit
    May 2010

    A Poverty of Spirit

    A little-known federal program called Supplemental Security Income (SSI) fosters dependency and destructive behavior among our nation’s poor. SSI was begun in 1974 with the intention of helping aged, blind, and disabled people of little or no...
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  • Save the Children
    May 2010

    Save the Children

    Modern Americans are going to live forever. We must believe that; otherwise we would not rise up in spontaneous outrage whenever a stuck accelerator causes a car to crash or a surgical procedure goes awry.
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  • Gobbling Poison
    May 2010

    Gobbling Poison

    Throughout recorded history, rites open to the initiated only have been performed in restricted sanctuaries; this not only provides a feeling of superiority to the participants but allows outsiders to indulge in endless speculation about “what...
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  • Cheating "Honest" Men
    April 2010

    Cheating "Honest" Men

    Sometimes I like to remind myself of what a nobody I am. It does not take much to trigger these fits of humility. A glance in the mirror or at the ever-expanding bulge in my vest is usually enough to call to mind at least two deadly sins that...
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  • Love Is a Decision
    April 2010

    Love Is a Decision

    Small-town America is dying, but not without help. According to Patrick Carr and Maria Kefalas, it takes effort to leave your home, and small towns are doing a fantastic job of encouraging their best and brightest to do just that.
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  • The Art of Spanking
    April 2010

    The Art of Spanking

    The story appeared at Salon.com, and it was about parents spanking children, so right there from the get-go you’re bracing yourself for another left-wing diatribe against what my parents, and their parents, and, well, a fair number of the...
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  • Gloom, Despair, and Agony on Me
    April 2010

    Gloom, Despair, and Agony on Me

    Deep, dark depression, excessive misery . . . That, according to Forbes.com, is what I should be feeling, but as a native Michigander, I find it hard to be miserable, let alone depressed, on a cloudless day in February.
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  • The Eclipse of the Normal
    April 2010

    The Eclipse of the Normal

    Nearly a century ago, G.K. Chesterton wrote of “the modern and morbid habit of always sacrificing the normal to the abnormal.” Today the very word normal is almost taboo.
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  • Igor Stravinsky
    April 2010

    Igor Stravinsky

    It could be said that Stravinsky’s Firebird score was like experiencing Debussy heard down the wrong end of the megaphone. . .
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  • The Mental Time Machine
    March 2010

    The Mental Time Machine

    Now Carmen is a work that nobody—director, conductor, or singer—has a right to get wrong, which means, in part, to meddle with, save for a damn good reason.
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  • Too Good To Be Untrue
    March 2010

    Too Good To Be Untrue

    The amoeba. You remember it from biology class; it’s your long-lost relative. Don’t believe it? Well, you’re probably one of those pro-life Christian homeschooling losers. You don’t play nice with others. You are socially maladjusted.
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  • Don't Worry, Be Happy
    February 2010

    Don't Worry, Be Happy

    Empire is a scattershot look at a variety of topics ranging from the porn industry to elite education. Chris Hedges believes that Americans have forsaken reality for a world of lies and empty entertainment.
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  • Mommy's Eco-Scold
    February 2010

    Mommy's Eco-Scold

    The scene opens with children at a playground, laughing and yelling as they swing and jump rope. The camera zooms in on a dark-haired little girl, seven or eight years old, running her finger through a dirty puddle. Suddenly, thunder tears...
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  • Privilege Displaces Equality
    December 2009

    Privilege Displaces Equality

    None of us growing up in Atlanta in the 1940’s were under the delusion that we were equal. We were aware of a myriad of differences that had nothing to do with race or gender. Some were better football players. Others were better baseball players.
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  • Coming to America
    January 2010

    Coming to America

    A recent article in a glossy magazine about the rich and famous mentioned a $35 million house in Malibu, California, whose neighbors include Mel Gibson and Britney Spears. The owner of this mega-structure is one Teodoro Nguema Obiang, son of a...
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  • Christmas With the Devil
    December 2009

    Christmas With the Devil

    “The true meaning of Christmas gets lost when we believe contrary worldviews,” the prisoner writes. “Our beliefs determine our views in a world where absolutes are fading away.” The prisoner is dictating this for his newsletter.
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  • Dignity
    December 2009

    Dignity

    The phrase human dignity is as ubiquitous today in enlightened global discourse as human rights. Indeed, the two are intimately connected, the first being regarded as a subset of the second, as in, “the right to human dignity.”
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  • The Mass Age Medium and Future Shlock: Making Sense of the 60's
    January 2010

    The Mass Age Medium and Future Shlock: Making Sense of the 60's

    The 60’s were a mess from which we have never recovered, and I doubt we ever will.
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  • When the Going Gets Tough. . .
    January 2010

    When the Going Gets Tough. . .

    Hesiod’s works are masterpieces of history. History, remember, is not what happened in the past, but neither is it the nit-picking exercise of dissertation writers stringing footnotes together in an exercise of what Clyde Wilson calls “honest...
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  • Courtesy
    January 2010

    Courtesy

    I have read somewhere that courtesy is the highest form of charity. Whether or not that is true (I like to think it is), courtesy is certainly charity in its least expensive form.
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  • Fighting for Orthodoxy Among the Methodists
    December 2009

    Fighting for Orthodoxy Among the Methodists

    The Episcopal Church, with two million members, drove off the cliff in 2003 by electing its first openly homosexual bishop. In 2005, the United Church of Christ (1.1 million members) officially endorsed same-sex “marriage,” though the UCC had...
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  • Race and Racism: A Brief History
    November 2009

    Race and Racism: A Brief History

    Today, many Americans presume that the debate over slavery in the 18th and 19th centuries turned on the question of race. Though race was an ingredient in the Great Debate, it was no more than a pinch of salt.
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  • Remembering Who We Were
    October 2009

    Remembering Who We Were

    Greece, like other E.U. countries, is being flooded by immigrants. In Greece, though Albanians continue to cause a great deal of mischief, a greater danger is presented by Muslims from North Africa and the Middle East.
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  • Homogeneity Was Our Strength
    October 2009

    Homogeneity Was Our Strength

    “Diversity enriches education,” then-presidential-candidate Barack Obama commented in a Q&A session with The Chronicle of Higher Education. Students should be “exposed to diversity in all its forms,” and affirmative action is the vehicle...
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  • Coming Home
    October 2009

    Coming Home

    “The people who go to St. Stan’s aren’t Polish; they’re Polish-American.” Those words, blurted without thinking, have haunted me for almost a decade and a half. Anna Mycek-Wodecki, then art director of Chronicles, was a true Pole.
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  • Equality Takes a Beating
    October 2009

    Equality Takes a Beating

    Several weeks ago I was watching a program on the BBC called Would You Risk Your Own Life to Save a Complete Stranger? In Britain, few people apparently would.
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  • How the Historical Novel Has Changed!
    August 2009

    How the Historical Novel Has Changed!

    Should one read Hervey Allen or Anne Rice? Why should the question be asked at all? Why might a discriminating reader today even think of picking up either Hervey Allen’s massive best-seller of 1933, Anthony Adverse, or The Feast of...
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  • “Vampire-Loving Barmaid Hits Jackpot”
    August 2009

    “Vampire-Loving Barmaid Hits Jackpot”

    Well, of course you’re reading my compelling exposition because of its lapel-grabbing title, but did you notice that my title is in quotes? Oh, yes indeedy. That’s because I got the title from Motoko Rich’s article in the New York Times...
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  • Unpalatable Values: Culture as Gastronomy
    August 2009

    Unpalatable Values: Culture as Gastronomy

    To American readers the name A.A. Gill may mean nothing, but in England the restaurant and television critic of the Sunday Times is a cultural force to be reckoned with. A witty autodidact, with plenty of disdain for the pieties of the...
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  • Who’s Insane?
    August 2009

    Who’s Insane?

    A piece appeared recently in my local newspaper by one Anthony C. Infanti, professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He wrote in support of a pending state antidiscrimination bill that would ban discrimination on the basis of...
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  • A Living Past
    July 2009

    A Living Past

    It is a small town in Bavaria, and it is at least 32 degrees C. The camera weighs heavy in my hands, and I can feel speckles of sweat accumulating beneath my black rucksack, as it soaks up the sun like a square and sinister sponge.
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  • The Good Life
    July 2009

    The Good Life

    “Say, I guess America is just about the best country that has ever existed in the history of mankind.” I have been hearing this assertion all my life and never fully understood what is intended, unless it is merely one of those ahems that we...
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  • Boozing With Papa
    July 2009

    Boozing With Papa

    Fifty-four years ago this month, dizzy with happiness at having been freed from the jail that was boarding school, I ventured down New York’s 5th Avenue looking for fun and adventure. I knew a place called El Borracho, Spanish for “the...
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  • Breast Implants and Barbarians
    July 2009

    Breast Implants and Barbarians

    When Miss California’s assets were revealed to be fakies, I immediately thought of a line from Roland Bainton’s excellent and concise history The Medieval Church: “The real point,” he wrote, “was . . . ” Well, first, the story.
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  • The Right Fork
    June 2009

    The Right Fork

    The chronological niche which the generation of D.J. Taylor’s title occupies, 1918-40, will be remembered by future historians—if, indeed, there should be any such creatures among the oafish homunculi now incubating in the totalitarian crucibles...
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  • Up From Knavery
    June 2009

    Up From Knavery

    I recently attended a jujitsu tournament in Newark, New Jersey, a 15-minute train ride from New York City. I had been to the Newark airport before but never entered the town. It was quite a revelation. I walked up the main thoroughfare, named...
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  • Modern Dress
    June 2009

    Modern Dress

    Oversexed and undressed have a certain logical connection with each other. Yet varying degrees of nudity, except at Malibu beach and along the Riviera, are probably not what would most impress the intergalactically traveled Neptunian upon his...
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  • Dead Romans and Live Americans
    April 2009

    Dead Romans and Live Americans

    Libero Ingresso” says the little sign on the doors of an Italian shop. English speakers who know enough Italian to translate the words, Free Entrance, sometimes wonder if there was a time when Italian shopkeepers charged customers an...
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  • Scholarly Pornography
    April 2009

    Scholarly Pornography

    In January 2005, one of the premier scholarly publishers in the English language, Princeton University Press, published an 80-page pamphlet in book form called On Bullsh-t, by a well-respected philosopher, Harry G. Frankfurt, who had...
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  • Romancing the Skull
    March 2009

    Romancing the Skull

    An old professor of mine once joked that ecumenism was a case of “the bland leading the bland,” an epithet that could just as appropriately describe contemporary humanism.
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  • School of Rape: From Health Class to Hotties
    March 2009

    School of Rape: From Health Class to Hotties

    America’s educational landscape is being transformed under the cover of “health.” This transformation began with sex education, which once was relegated to a subunit of physiology that addressed the science of human reproduction.
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  • Burning Down Camelot
    March 2009

    Burning Down Camelot

    One of the more annoying gaucheries of the British tabloid press is that of always referring to the Kennedys as “American royalty.” Back in 1963, with JFK still alive and in the White House, I escorted C.Z. Guest, a true American patrician, to a...
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  • America's Dwight Schrute

    America's Dwight Schrute

    In an hilarious episode of NBC’s The Office, Dunder-Mifflin übertwerp Dwight Schrute unwittingly adapts the words of several speeches by Benito Mussolini and Karl Marx in order to appear impressive at a conference for salesmen.
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  • Rich Man, Poor Man
    January 2009

    Rich Man, Poor Man

    When the late Tony Snow stepped down from his position as President George W. Bush’s press secretary, he explained that he simply could not “make it on $168,000 a year.” The comment didn’t play well in Peoria.
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  • Uncle Sam's Harem
    January 2009

    Uncle Sam's Harem

    These days bipolarism appears to be the “in” childhood malady touted by leftist psychologists, who previously promoted ADHD to explain away the disturbed behavior exhibited by postmodern children and adolescents.
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  • Frummie's Song
    January 2009

    Frummie's Song

    Frummie and his friends were beside themselves a few months ago over the nerve of Vanity Fair. It quoted them! And they were surprised that Vanity Fair was . . . unfair. “Out of context! Out of context!”
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  • Envy and the Consumerism of the Have&mdash;Nots
    January 2009

    Envy and the Consumerism of the Have—Nots

    You can make a good argument that, by the late 20th century, the Seven Deadly Sins had become the Seven Lively Virtues. In the 1960’s, the media lauded the anger of students who bombed police stations and set dormitories on fire. Hollywood...
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  • The Obesity Epidemic
    January 2009

    The Obesity Epidemic

    It is a sign of the times that one of the most talked-about reality-TV shows of the season centers on a woman who desires to lose weight. Lots of weight. The show’s star, Ruby Gettinger, now tips the scales at around 500 pounds, having once...
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  • The Eternal Dog
    December 2008

    The Eternal Dog

    When Tibbie came into my life, I was already past my 40th year. After a few weeks I marveled how I had ever lived without a dog.
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  • Man on Holiday
    December 2008

    Man on Holiday

    John G. West’s primary thesis in Darwin Day in America is that our culture and politics have been dehumanized by a scientific materialism (or reductionism) that sees man merely as the sum of his parts, and that this dogma has taken over the...
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  • Whither the Republic?
    November 2008

    Whither the Republic?

    This month, we shall have an answer to an all-important question: Which arm of our bipartisan party state will occupy the White House for the next four years?
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  • More (Local) Government
    November 2008

    More (Local) Government

    A 1992 Wisconsin law limits the revenue a school district can raise through property taxes. When operating costs exceed that limit, districts have to ask voters to make up the difference.
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  • A Sicilian Visit
    November 2008

    A Sicilian Visit

    In Dürrenmatt’s The Visit, an aging billionairess returns to the provincial town where she was born and announces to the townsfolk that she will leave them all her money, on one condition.
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  • The West’s Guilty Feelings
    November 2008

    The West’s Guilty Feelings

    The decline of the West may sound like a well-worn cliché, but this shouldn’t blind us to the fact that there might be some truth to it. The modern West has emerged from a rebellion against the old one, which was at least in part a parricide.
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  • The Hobbyist
    November 2008

    The Hobbyist

    The joyous return to Rancho Juárez was dampened, but in no way spoiled, by a certified letter awaiting Mr. and Mrs. Héctor Villa on their arrival. Mailed from the Belen Municipal Court, it threatened their daughter with juvenile detention if she...
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  • Election Hangover
    November 2008

    Election Hangover

    I don’t know about you, but I am ready for this campaign season to be as dead as Scrooge’s doornail. For the last month, political commercials have crowded television screens and websites, interrupting even Mayberry reruns and the latest scoop...
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  • The Greening of the Gold Rush
    October 2008

    The Greening of the Gold Rush

    It began innocently enough, like any other workshop—a large university auditorium; speakers from the United Nations, foreign business consortia, and local government; and an obscure member of the Thai royal family ringing an auspicious gong.
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  • Diversity Is Our Strength
    October 2008

    Diversity Is Our Strength

    As the summer slid into August, gasoline prices fell a bit, back to about $3.79 per gallon here in the Midwest, and even that modest reprieve seemed to dispel some of the summertime blues.
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  • G.K. Chesterton, Peacemaker
    October 2008

    G.K. Chesterton, Peacemaker

    G.K. Chesterton’s writings are as prescient today as they were over three quarters of a century ago. When he wrote most of the essays in this anthology during the early 20th century, he was either warning Great Britain about the impending...
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  • Walking Distance
    September 2008

    Walking Distance

    This is an age in which news of a tragedy garners a response such as this: “Well, our thoughts are with you.” Happy thoughts full of Pelagian grace.
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  • Be Not Afraid
    September 2008

    Be Not Afraid

    In Leviticus, God gives Israel a number of blessings and curses that describe the benefits and consequences of keeping (or failing to keep) the Sinai covenant. One of the “covenant curses” is curiously descriptive of the jittery culture of fear...
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  • Old Dominion, R.I.P.
    September 2008

    Old Dominion, R.I.P.

    In the last 38 years, Virginia has evolved from being the “Mother of Presidents” to the “Mother of Foreigners.” That is the upshot of the latest hodgepodge of data from the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center.
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  • Umpires
    September 2008

    Umpires

    Mike Carey was the first “African-American” to head a crew that refereed a Super Bowl—the one in which the sainted Tom Brady got his butt kicked by the lowly Giants.
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  • Videites
    August 2008

    Videites

    Perhaps more than most I wax nostalgic for the 50’s, which was not a decade but an era that began in the late 1940’s and lasted through the early 60’s. It was the best of times for Southern California kids to grow up, especially for those of us...
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  • Yankee, Go Home
    August 2008

    Yankee, Go Home

    Sixty years ago an incident lodged in my memory forever as it seems, as I walked with the beautiful redheaded young lady who paused to ask me a question. There above an old outbuilding—I hesitate to call it a barn—there was a weathervane...
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  • Lost in the 50’s
    August 2008

    Lost in the 50’s

    It was about 1965, in Jimmy Dengate’s “club” in Charleston, when I got my first clue to what the 50’s had been all about. I met an unusual sportswriter. Let us call him Jack, if only because it was his real name.
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  • Summertime Blues
    August 2008

    Summertime Blues

    Driving from Rockford to St. Paul, Minnesota, is a bit like going back in time. St. Paul (like La Crosse, Wisconsin, where we crossed over the Mississippi River just hours before it began to burst its banks) is relatively well preserved, unlike...
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  • Rockin’ in the 50’s
    August 2008

    Rockin’ in the 50’s

    When the mode of music changes, Plato remarked, the walls of the city shake. When the mode of music changed back in the 1950’s, the denizens of Plato’s Pad and their peers saw more fingers than walls shaking: The music they were listening to,...
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  • Bad Whitey 101
    August 2008

    Bad Whitey 101

    In this space in the June issue, readers learned about a flock of students from the American Studies program at Randolph College who flapped off to the Chicken Ranch Brothel in Nevada to study the profundities of the cathouse.
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  • Art in the Loo
    July 2008

    Art in the Loo

    Christie’s, the auction house, took a full-page ad in the New York Times to publicize the record sale of a painting by a living artist, Lucian Freud, to the tune of $33.6 million. Thirty-three million greenbacks for a portrait of a...
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  • Curiosity as a Social Force
    June 2008

    Curiosity as a Social Force

    “Curious Barbara’s got her nose in a sling,” goes the Russian admonition against prurience, more puzzling, if anything, than the equivalent English adage concerning the killing, in similarly umbrageous circumstances, of the cat.
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  • Christmas in Abbeville
    June 2008

    Christmas in Abbeville

    Last winter, I traveled to Abbeville, South Carolina, for its Fifth Annual Olde South Christmas. To the casual observer, this event might appear to be merely an instance of savvy small-town marketing—an attempt to capitalize on the trade in...
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  • The Pursuit of Happiness
    June 2008

    The Pursuit of Happiness

    When people of a certain age and experience begin to think about when and how America went wrong, they almost inevitably hear echoes of George Hanson’s little sermon, delivered by Jack Nicholson in Easy Rider.
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  • It’s 2028, and All Is Well
    June 2008

    It’s 2028, and All Is Well

    My final American Interest was published today in Chronicles. In the aftermath of the Second Revolution, the column has outlived its purpose. Pontificating on the evils of one-worldism, empire, global hegemony, propositional...
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  • Speaking of Gorging
    June 2008

    Speaking of Gorging

    A few weeks ago, I attended a most wonderful party, with music, pretty girls, lots of champagne—and even some people who did not move their lips while reading the labels of the expensive bubbly and Scotch whiskey they were imbibing. Namely, Tom...
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  • Print Lives!
    May 2008

    Print Lives!

    The first thing one notices about Print Is Dead is that it is, in fact, a stack of bound pieces of paper with words printed on them. The author, Jeff Gomez, notes the irony of this in his Introduction.
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  • The Rhetoric of Fashion
    May 2008

    The Rhetoric of Fashion

    Today’s consumer never knows whether his desires are catered to or invented for him, as his most secret fantasies seem to turn to graphic reality before he has had the chance to have them.
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  • Nostalgia Ain’t What It Used To Be
    April 2008

    Nostalgia Ain’t What It Used To Be

    I cannot remember the occasion, but I will not forget the voice—female, authoritative, and poised—that intoned a dismissal of the so-called yuppies as follows: “They oversee the distribution of toilet paper!”
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  • The British Empire and the Muslims
    April 2008

    The British Empire and the Muslims

    Last year in England, we marked the 60th anniversary of the voluntary granting of independence to India and Pakistan; it was also the year in which our military began to leave Iraq.
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  • Lobar Warming
    April 2008

    Lobar Warming

    Scoffers may deride the proposition I find instinctively plausible, that the consonants and the vowels of speech are its masculine and feminine constituents, though the same scoffers would not think to keep a professor from speaking of male...
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  • The End of the American Middle Class
    April 2008

    The End of the American Middle Class

    We have now entered a new age which will not have a name or a designation until, I think, at least one or two centuries from now: But then, such is the evolution of historical terminology.
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  • Your Hit Parade: A Story
    April 2008

    Your Hit Parade: A Story

    “If Mel Torme is ‘The Velvet Fog,’ shouldn’t I at least be ‘The Elegant Mist’? Surveys indicate that even during station identification, which this is, you enjoy hearing my radio voice...
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  • The Death of the Western: Back-Trailing for Affirmation
    February 2008

    The Death of the Western: Back-Trailing for Affirmation

    Westerns have never enjoyed much of a highbrow audience or much literary distinction. Many people tend to sneer at the traditional form, because it seems to represent something obvious and a little dumb.
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  • The Suicide of the West
    February 2008

    The Suicide of the West

    The issue of Kosovo, which has been simmering since the United States waged a war of unprovoked and unjustifiable aggression against the former Yugoslavia, is boiling over. While Serbian “public opinion” is said to be more interested in economic...
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  • Unsettling Accounts
    February 2008

    Unsettling Accounts

    One Sunday in September, about 60 adults gathered between Masses in the sanctuary of the basilica to hear a professor from our local university speak on the history of Islam.
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  • Honor Killings in Canada
    February 2008

    Honor Killings in Canada

    As Canadians were preparing for the Christmas season, they were shocked to learn that Aqsa Parvez, a 16-year-old Muslim girl from the Toronto area, was strangled to death by her devout father, a cab driver of Pakistani origin.
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  • America as a Proposition Nation
    January 2008

    America as a Proposition Nation

    There is a popular superstition that defines America as a “Proposition Nation,” created and proclaimed by the obiter dicta about “all men” in the second sentence of the 1776 Declaration that the 13 colonies “are and of right ought to be free and...
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  • Globalization Transforms Kansas City
    January 2008

    Globalization Transforms Kansas City

    After a decade of living in Europe and various locales in the United States, I returned four years ago to the place where my family has long resided.
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  • The Failure of “Family Policy”
    January 2008

    The Failure of “Family Policy”

    Welfare reform was supposed to discourage unmarried child­bearing. However, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) recently disclosed that out-of-wedlock births are at a record high.
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  • A New Agrarian Primer
    January 2008

    A New Agrarian Primer

    Most people think agrarianism is synonymous with farming. As a result, agrarian thinkers spend much of their time defending what they really mean—namely, that agrarianism is not so much about agriculture as it is an integrated life in which...
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  • The Conversion of a Culture: Crisis and Resolution
    December 2007

    The Conversion of a Culture: Crisis and Resolution

    Can an entire culture “be converted”—i.e., turn away from entrenched patterns of selfishness and self-indulgence and replace them with patterns of altruism?
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  • A Pair of Charmers
    December 2007

    A Pair of Charmers

    There are two archetypes of the charming idler. One, rather like myself, is likely to be unemployed de métier. The other drifts in and out of employment, trading on social connections, borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, pandering, dealing...
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  • Like Talking to a Wall: Some Further Thoughts on Photography
    December 2007

    Like Talking to a Wall: Some Further Thoughts on Photography

    “The camera,” wrote R.H. Wilenski in The Modern Movement in Art, “was an element in the industrial revolution. It was a labour-saving device which, like all labour-saving devices, rendered certain standards of judgement out of date.”
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  • Burmese Revolutions?
    December 2007

    Burmese Revolutions?

    On September 25, President George W. Bush spoke at the United Nations to condemn human-rights abuses by the government of Myanmar, siding with Burmese political dissidents.
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  • All Saints?
    November 2007

    All Saints?

    November brings us All Saints’ Day, November 1, that feast when the Church celebrates Her saints, known and unknown, who are with God in His Heaven. Sainthood, Your Excellency, is why I am writing to you.
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  • Materialist Dogmatism
    November 2007

    Materialist Dogmatism

    We all know that religious believers are fools who will tell themselves anything to prop up their preconceived notions, while atheists are hard-headed rationalists who look the evidence in the face and follow the Truth no matter the cost.
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  • The Race Mafia Goes to Jena
    November 2007

    The Race Mafia Goes to Jena

    If Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton believed raising Cain in Jena, Louisiana, would rekindle that old-time religion, they were sadly and predictably wrong.
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  • A Sense of Perspective
    November 2007

    A Sense of Perspective

    It may seem to the least demanding of readers that this column, though generously meandering of thought, is short of action. The trouble, I must admit, is that I have no sense of perspective.
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  • Pop Culture and Politics: Passing By the Train Wreck
    October 2007

    Pop Culture and Politics: Passing By the Train Wreck

    If Macbeth were alive today, he would probably make an appearance in the public confessional with Oprah Winfrey and, in all likelihood, would emerge as a prime candidate for Big Brother or one of the other “reality” shows that crowd our...
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  • From Wellstone to Franken: The Era of Gopher Goofiness
    October 2007

    From Wellstone to Franken: The Era of Gopher Goofiness

    What happened to Minnesota—the stolid Nordic-and-German prairie republic, the mother of vice presidents, the place where Democrats were “Farmer-Labor” and seemed to mean it?
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  • The Politics of Laughter
    October 2007

    The Politics of Laughter

    With this book, Paul Lewis has written another very thoroughly researched study of contemporary American humor, ranging from the “positive humor” and “laughter club” movements that use humor to promote health and efficiency, peace and uplift, to...
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  • On the Lam From the Census Bureau
    October 2007

    On the Lam From the Census Bureau

    I’m hiding out—from the Census Bureau. True, they usually don’t send out U.S. marshals with guns and handcuffs. But I’m playing it safe anyway, because the Bureau has been after me since I failed to fill out its treasured questionnaire, “The...
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  • GOP Country: A Troubled Marriage
    October 2007

    GOP Country: A Troubled Marriage

    Back in February, music historian J. Lester Feder published an article in the American Prospect entitled “When Country Went Right.” As Feder would have it, country music wasn’t always as “conservative” as it is today.
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  • In Film, the Political Is the Personal
    October 2007

    In Film, the Political Is the Personal

    A reporter once asked Tyrone Power if he thought his next movie would be a hit. “That depends,” Power replied, pointing to his face, “on how many close-ups of this make the final cut.”
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  • Living Communally
    October 2007

    Living Communally

    At first, our taxi driver asserts that the United States will surely triumph overseas—thanks to the teams of dedicated, patriotic geniuses who diligently work in the field of American foreign policy.
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  • The Fig Leaf
    October 2007

    The Fig Leaf

    All one can ever imagine of Eve is the fig leaf, but the whole issue is more universal, and at the same time somehow more prickly, than any isolated contretemps in the Legoland of the senses.
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  • Some Thoughts on <i>Motu Proprio</i> Mania
    October 2007

    Some Thoughts on Motu Proprio Mania

    I am gratified that the long-awaited moth proprio from Pope Benedict, urging a wider celebration of the Tridentine Rite, is out. I’m happy for those, including my son, who love to worship in that way.
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  • Whispers From Kirk
    September 2007

    Whispers From Kirk

    Stan Evans has described bodies of thought as having “lifecycles”; they emerge, thrive for a while, and, unless continually nourished, eventually hollow out and pass away. Having reached the end of its lifecycle, liberalism, as a coherent body...
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  • Counting People and People Who Count
    September 2007

    Counting People and People Who Count

    My curriculum vitae still includes a paragraph describing my activities as an “educational consultant,” though it has been some years since I went to Washington to read grants or evaluate schools for the Department of Education.
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  • Cool Britannia Gothic
    September 2007

    Cool Britannia Gothic

    Does the public get the books it wants? Publishers, in their own interest, make it their business to see to that, whether it is a question of chemistry text-books or novels.
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  • A Tattler’s World
    September 2007

    A Tattler’s World

    The trouble with fairy tales is that, like life itself under the conditions of political and economic liberty, they are untrammeled in their reliance on metaphor.
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  • I Love My Mother
    September 2007

    I Love My Mother

    Michael Moore calls his films documentaries, but they’re really sockumentaries. He is cinema’s heavyweight master of the sucker punch.
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  • Citizen Murdoch
    September 2007

    Citizen Murdoch

    If Rupert Murdoch gets his way, all Earthlings will read one newspaper and watch one television station. And Murdoch will own both.
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  • Virtual Education Reality
    September 2007

    Virtual Education Reality

    In his book Decadence and Renewal in the Higher Learning (1978), Russell Kirk wrote of the “personal and social danger” caused by sham schooling in American colleges.
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  • Liberality, the Basis of Culture
    August 2007

    Liberality, the Basis of Culture

    “Go day, come day. Lord, send Sunday.” My paternal grandmother could be counted on to say these words at least once per week.
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  • Wall of Sound: Noise as the Basis of Culture
    August 2007

    Wall of Sound: Noise as the Basis of Culture

    Poor Phil Spector. He may be a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the producer of a string of hits from “Be My Baby” (The Ronettes) to “The Long and Winding Road” (The Beatles). But now, thanks to Court TV, it looks as if he will be...
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  • A Light Out of the Dim
    August 2007

    A Light Out of the Dim

    How did an eighth-generation German-American growing up in Rockford, Illinois, proud of his ethnic heritage, baptized Lutheran, educated in Catholic schools, come to convert to Islam?
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  • We the People
    August 2007

    We the People

    Anna Nicole Smith’s departure from earth and pop singer Britney Spears’ descent into madness riveted a good chunk of the nation.
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  • The Theater of the Mind, R.I.P.
    August 2007

    The Theater of the Mind, R.I.P.

    Step back from the home-theater system for a moment and try to wrap your brain around this one: Just a couple of generations ago, high-tech “home entertainment” consisted solely of words and sounds delivered to the household via a static-plagued...
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  • The Last Adieu: A Wake for the Living
    July 2007

    The Last Adieu: A Wake for the Living

    It is not surprising that death has always been a target for comedians and satirists. After all, dying is the ultimate prat fall, an ungainly reminder to others that their time is coming.
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  • The Atheist Renaissance
    July 2007

    The Atheist Renaissance

    Atheists are feeling their oats these days. Three militant unbelievers—Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens—have recently hit the best-seller lists and talk shows.
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  • A Dirge for the Living
    July 2007

    A Dirge for the Living

    Since I am writing about death, I think I may begin with my own life. Autobiography is, after all, a kind of first-person eulogy for the living.
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  • A Moderate Proposal
    July 2007

    A Moderate Proposal

    n America today, nearly every month brings a new occasion to renew the Culture War over religion in the public square. By next year, our sensitive multicultural elites might insist on celebrating “Hearts and Flowers Day” on February 14 and...
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  • Americans Don’t Die!
    July 2007

    Americans Don’t Die!

    Americans do not believe in death. At least, they live as if they will never die. This has been the case from colonial times. It is a consequence of seemingly limitless opportunity and a drive for upward mobility, denied to generations of...
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  • Americanism, Then and Now: Our Pet Heresy
    June 2007

    Americanism, Then and Now: Our Pet Heresy

    On January 22, 1899, Pope Leo XIII addressed an encyclical (Testem benevolentiae nostrae) to James Cardinal Gibbons, archbishop of Baltimore, intended “to suppress certain contentions” that had arisen in America “to the detriment of the...
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  • Protestantism, America, and Divine Law
    June 2007

    Protestantism, America, and Divine Law

    Since the time of the Founding Fathers, Protestantism appeared to be the default religion in the United States.
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  • Establishing Christian America
    June 2007

    Establishing Christian America

    We Americans like to think of our country as the most religious, the most Christian nation on the face of the earth. In an irritating article I wrote for the Spectator (“America: Not A Christian Country,” August 27, 2005), I demonstrated...
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  • The Greatest Revolution
    April 2007

    The Greatest Revolution

    Most people throughout the industrial world see cheap and readily available food as simply another modern amenity, such as electricity or running water. Few understand that agriculture has always been political, because it is tied to human...
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  • Solemn Joy and Hot Gospel
    December 2006

    Solemn Joy and Hot Gospel

    ’Twas the middle of that sacred time of year when all Americans pause to remember what is most important—Christmas Shopping Season.
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  • Wal-Mart Super-sized
    November 2006

    Wal-Mart Super-sized

    Whatever one’s opinion about Wal-Mart, a recent article in the New York Times invites a few observations, not least of which is that Wal-Mart is much more dangerous and destructive than libertarians and some conservatives think.
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  • The Economic Realities of U.S. Immigration
    November 2006

    The Economic Realities of U.S. Immigration

    Mass immigration is changing the fundamental character of America—our culture, institutions, standards, and objectives. Until recently, our society was the envy of the world, so why are these changes even necessary?
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  • The Root of All Evil
    October 2006

    The Root of All Evil

    When George Bernard Shaw decided to devote himself to the destruction of civilization (or, as he would have preferred to call it, the cause of socialism), he spent years studying political economy.
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  • Of Chance and Memory
    October 2006

    Of Chance and Memory

    Coincidence is the smile of luck, but it is also the laughter of misfortune. A smile is singular, rather like tears; it appears meaningful insofar as it seems to have a precipitant cause.
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  • Prohibition Addiction
    October 2006

    Prohibition Addiction

    Miami Vice isn’t a film; it’s a cultural indicator. This thought came to me as I was making my way off a plane coming home from Las Vegas.
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  • Letter From Hvar: Withstanding the Fire
    August 2006

    Letter From Hvar: Withstanding the Fire

    Three years ago, half of the long, narrow Croatian island of Hvar burned, including 200-year-old Mediterranean pines and much of the island’s three major crops—lavender, grapes for wine, and olives.
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  • The Meaning of Racism
    August 2006

    The Meaning of Racism

    Not far beneath the surface of “anti-racism” is the racist view that the white race is the dominant one, and that all white people should have collective guilt for being white. Being white, or being part of any historically dominant nation, is...
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  • Why I Am Not a Socialist
    August 2006

    Why I Am Not a Socialist

    I have been asked to give some exposition of how far and for what reason a man who has not only a faith in democracy, but a great tenderness for revolution, may nevertheless stand outside the movement commonly called socialism.
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  • Hollywood Blues
    July 2006

    Hollywood Blues

    One cannot escape the impact and influence, the power and the glory, then, of Hollywood just by never having been there.
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  • Culture War: Fighting On
    July 2006

    Culture War: Fighting On

    Culture, as the term is used in America in our times, covers a vast territory with ill-defined frontiers.
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  • An American Dilemma
    July 2006

    An American Dilemma

    In 1976, the Episcopal Church, U.S.A., met in General Convention to consider, among other things, two questions: the adoption of a new Book of Common Prayer and the ordination of women.
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  • The Big Word
    July 2006

    The Big Word

    What is culture, anyway? It’s one of those baffling words that at first seem to mean a narrow range of things (stuff such as “grand opera”) and then turn out to cover just about everything—even the New York Post, if you stretch it far...
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  • RUOK? AWHFY?
    July 2006

    RUOK? AWHFY?

    I do not live in a painting by Magritte or by De Chirico or even by Carmen Cicero—no, really, I don’t, honest, scout’s honor, no kidding—but sometimes I get the creepy sensation that I do.
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  • Not Fade Away
    July 2006

    Not Fade Away

    At first glance, the area around Anthony Rudis’s 614-acre farm outside Monee, Illinois, seems closer to my hometown in Michigan than it does to Chronicles’ hometown of Rockford, Illinois.
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  • Dressing for Progress
    July 2006

    Dressing for Progress

    If one looked to the natural world to supply the measure of what was concrete, then this world was long in the past, perhaps not actually with the dinosaurs, but certainly with the Model T and the Saturday Evening Post.
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  • O Literature, Thou Art Sick
    July 2006

    O Literature, Thou Art Sick

    The present condition of literature (as that term is ordinarily understood), at least in America, is obviously unhealthy. Its illness is the result not only of internal undermining, “the invisible worm” of Blake’s “The Sick Rose,” but of...
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  • Live Free! (Kill Your Lawn)
    July 2006

    Live Free! (Kill Your Lawn)

    Americans love their lawns. They spend $40 billion per year—more than the gross national product of most countries—to create the perfect lawn. Taken together, all these lawns would cover the entire state of Kentucky.
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  • Six Months After Katrina
    June 2006

    Six Months After Katrina

    Sitting at Mass in St. Theresa’s Church on Camp Street in New Orleans some six months after Hurricane Katrina, my eyes rise naturally above the altar. There, I see a large, ugly panel of various sheets of plywood and two-by-fours filling the...
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  • The Way We Were
    June 2006

    The Way We Were

    I am not by nature, I think, a grumpy old man. But, at the age of 60, I feel entitled to comment on some inescapable facts about the younger generation. If my judgments seem harsh, I can only invite the reader to try to refute them, if he can.
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  • The Age of Verification
    June 2006

    The Age of Verification

    Some millennia after the Earth spun out of nothingness and began hosting life forms, there dawned the Age of Reptiles, which gave way to the Age of Mammals.
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  • The News
    June 2006

    The News

    Sertillanges’ wonderful book, The Intellectual Life, was first published in 1920. Since then, the popular press has grown ever more vulgar and stupid, radio has matured to become an almost inescapable scourge, and television has more than...
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  • Crash Course
    May 2006

    Crash Course

    Last month, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences held its 78th annual awards ceremony. Dreamt up by Louis B. Mayer in 1927, the Academy’s advertised mission was to confer legitimacy on an industry widely belittled at the time for the...
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  • Anywhere But Here
    April 2006

    Anywhere But Here

    Man, by nature, is limited by time, space, and biology. I can only be where I am, live for my appointed time, and accomplish what I am physically capable of accomplishing—which, according to the natural order, means, chiefly, having a wife and...
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  • Manners, Morals, Language
    February 2006

    Manners, Morals, Language

    Excepting deconstructionists, who believe there really is no such thing to begin with, most people who are at all conscious of language are in agreement that it exists in degraded form today.
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  • Return to Manor Farm
    February 2006

    Return to Manor Farm

    The protagonist of a novel I’m now writing speaks in the voice of George Orwell, except that he uses the manly, tobacco-and-gin accents of reason, detachment, and persuasion to discuss love, rather than politics.
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  • Totally Awesome
    February 2006

    Totally Awesome

    A few nights ago, some friends and I were on our way to a small get-together. As we ambled up the sidewalk, Rachel, whom I had met at the university I used to attend, commented that the neighborhood was rather “sketchy.”
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  • Stargazing
    February 2006

    Stargazing

    Remember when Time’s man of the year, apart from the parade of presidential feebs and felons, was some hero or villain you had to respect, if not always admire?
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  • Eugene McCarthy, R.I.P.
    February 2006

    Eugene McCarthy, R.I.P.

    Eugene McCarthy, R.I.P. When famous people die, they are usually overpraised in fulsome superlatives, well meant but losing all proportion.
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  • <i>Sartor Resartus Resartus</i>
    January 2006

    Sartor Resartus Resartus

    The good Doktor’s book, which is not always readily comprehensible, evinces a certain ambivalence toward both its subject and its own attitude regarding that subject, while Professor Teufelsdröckh’s English editor, a Mr. Thomas Carlyle, seems...
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  • Pop Idols
    January 2006

    Pop Idols

    The English middle orders from Ruskin onward have had an inbred prejudice against America.
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