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The state and the sacred

Here’s another column at Catholic World Report, this one on the essential sacredness of the state. If you say “no, the state is simply practical” then some aspect of the simply practical will become sacred.


Looking back on the Sixties

I have a new piece up at Crisis on the illusion and reality of the Sixties. What people expected to be liberation and soaring horizons turned out to be the rise to power of a severely flawed ruling class.


Feminism and Catholicism

I continue my assault on equality, with a piece on feminism at Crisis.


Equality and Catholicism

I have yet another piece at Catholic World Report, this one on equality and Catholicism. It points out that the progressive understanding of equality is at odds with Catholicism, good sense, good order, human well-being, and what not else, because it demands the abolition of all significant social institutions other than global markets and expert bureaucracies.


The necessity of artistic counterrevolution

My friend Nikos Salingaros, together with Mark Signorelli, develops and adds to some thoughts he and I kicked around in an interview and a short essay we did together last year: The Tyranny of Artistic Modernism. The basic argument is that artistic modernism is antihuman, tyrannical, and nihilistic in its essence, and must be overthrown. No compromise is possible.


The Left, the Right, and Catholicism

My latest at Catholic World Report is about left liberals, right liberals, and what to do about them.


In the Middle of the Journey

My latest column at Catholic World Report goes into various flip-flops in the Catholic Church’s attitude toward secular powers. There are no perfect answers, but clear-headedness is good, and maybe the Church is righting herself from the extreme optimism of the post-Vatican II period.


Chain comments and the good life

On other fronts, Larry Auster posted a comment by me on a comment by Robert Spencer on a comment by Larry on a comment by Spencer on a canceled concert in Indonesia. How’s that for intertextuality? (The comment by me does have an actual topic, social understandings of the good.)


Mixing it up over Maistre

An old libertarian friend, Todd Seavey, posted an entry in his blog regarding The Works of Joseph de Maistre that complained about Maistre and mentioned me, so in response I posted a couple of comments that I think make sense even apart from the original setting. The point at issue, as you will see, was Maistre’s sometimes startling emphasis on the role of violence in human life.


Freedom and the political good

I have a piece by that name (subtitled “some preliminary considerations”) up at the Liberty Law Blog.


What is the etiology of liberalism?

The question seems important, since where liberalism comes from affects how we should deal with it and where it is likely to go. Many right-wingers, for example, think of it as psychological or instrumental: people are liberals because they feel this way or that, or because they want to get money, power, status, or whatever. Such views suggest that liberalism need not be taken seriously on its own terms, and will disappear when events shift the balance of advantages or put people in a different mood.


Liberalism, Catholicism, and the Good

I have another column, this one on liberal and Catholic conceptions of the good and the just, at Catholic World Report.


More on freedom and tyranny

That’s the original title of my latest column at Catholic World Report. It’s basically an argument that Catholics shouldn’t base their political arguments on freedom, they should base them on substantive goods. (I don’t know what it shows that they renamed it “Tyranny, Religion, and the Fight for Freedom.”)


Does inclusiveness include?

Here’s a study that may be more interesting than the author realizes: people in Ann Arbor, Michigan, presumably mostly quite liberal, literally don’t realize that people whose politics differ from their own react to cold the same way they do. Does that explain the Gulag, or am I wrong in my immediate reaction that (at least at present) leftists are particularly likely to consider their opponents not-really-human?

Justly or not, the result puts me in mind of Jonathan Haidt’s finding that liberal respondents incorrectly predict the rationales given by conservatives for their positions, whereas moderates and conservatives characterize the rationales given by liberals accurately.


After Liberalism: Notes toward Reconstruction

That’s the title of an essay I wrote that appears in the Spring 2012 issue of the Intercollegiate Review.


Caught in the Morass

[The following review, somewhat edited in ways I did not have a chance to look at (and in some respects would not have approved), appeared under the title Libertarian Limits in the January 2012 issue of First Things]

On Tolerance: A Defence of Moral Independence, by Frank Furedi, Continuum, 224 pages, $22.95

The independently-minded British sociologist Frank Furedi has variously been a Hungarian refugee, a self-proclaimed revolutionary communist, and a libertarian public intellectual. The last tendency seems likely to stick, and it has led him to write this critical analysis of therapeutic and custodial liberalism and plea for the restoration of classical liberalism.


God and liberal modernity

That’s the name of my March column at Catholic World Report.


The tyranny of misunderstood freedom

That’s the name of a piece I have up at Catholic World Report.


More on Islam, women, and the West

A correspondent, who had read my previous comments on women in Islam, asked whether I thought he was hysterical to say Islam enslaves women. He lives in a part of England where Muslims have recently become more of a presence, finds the routine sight of women in niqab shocking, and can’t understand why intellectual Western women take it in stride as an addition to multicultural richness or whatever. What, he asked, could ever serve as a wake-up call?



It seems accepted among educated Westerners that the rationality of an action is a matter of means and ends, of what we want and whether what we do is going to bring that about.

That’s true even among people who consider themselves right-wingers, reactionaries, traditionalists and so on, and who in many ways really are so. I’ve complained about that tendency in Roger Scruton, and to my mind a recent discussion over at Bruce Charlton’s blog put it on display as well. It seemed impossible for many of those in the discussion to see the issue (contraception) from any other perspective. The problem was not that they thought consequences were relevant, but that they thought only consequences were relevant, and that raising other issues was simply nonsensical.



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