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Practical politics

What are Catholics to do? (part III)

There’s some more of my hand-wringing on the topic over at Catholic World Report.

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What Are Catholics To Do? (Part II)

I have more comments at Catholic World Report about what Catholics and other sensible people should do when natural law has been declared a hate crime.

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What are Catholics to do?

That’s the title of my current column at Catholic World Report. Basically it says we have to drop out from a radically technocratic world.

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Tardy reflections on the election

My current column is online at Catholic World Report. Instead of talking about the stupid party and the evil party I talk about the party that believes in nothing and the party that believes in Nothing, but it comes to the same thing.

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Catholics and cultural assimilation

I have a piece up at the Crisis website on the topic. Not surprisingly, I say the culture should assimilate to Catholics rather than the reverse.

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Turning the corner

My column for Catholic World Report, on the need to expand what can be talked about in public life, is now up.

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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.

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Every spring has its fall ...

Larry Auster notes an odd unexplained shift in the New York Times coverage of the “Arab Spring” and its aftermath: it used to be unproblematically good, because Arabs of course can’t be distinguished from Eastern Europeans, whereas now it’s suddenly an issue, because the Arabs of course mostly support Islamic politics.

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Always something to say

[The following review appeared in the October 2010 issue of Chronicles.]

Neoconservatives: The Biography of a Movement by Justin Vaïsse, translated by Arthur Goldhammer. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press 376 pp., $35.00

There are very few neoconservatives, people disagree on who they are, and they have no popular following or definite organizational structure. Even so, they have deeply affected American public life for 40 years.

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May Day at City Hall

Here are some photos I took with my cell phone when I ran into a labor/immigrants’ rights demonstration while out for a bike ride yesterday. Lots of chants, lots of mass-produced signs and accessories, generally very orderly. (Sorry for the picture quality, click for a bigger image.)

Apparently the unions think it’s good for their members to have lots and lots of immigrants. Maybe they’re government unions and immigration is good for business. I suppose the red flags show they don’t want to compromise the point.

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Out of his depth

Does Obama’s handshake/bow to the Japanese emperor remind anyone else of a high school kid clowning for the camera in a yearbook picture?

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Do big tents go anywhere?

Evan McLaren notes that I mostly deal with grand issues and tend toward a “big tent” approach, at least among right-wingers, and wonders whether that makes sense.

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Think tanks tank

At a friend’s suggestion I watched a bit of the Lehrer News Hour last night. He had a couple of think-tank types on, a guy from the Rand Corporation and a lady from somewhere or other, who were saying we had to show everyone we had a commitment to stay in Afghanistan for the long haul, until a strong central government could become established.

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Is a modest conservatism possible today?

The appeal of secular conservatism, like the appeal of laying off cultural conservatism, is that it tells us we can have a minimal politics.

From a conservative standpoint, that’s generally a good thing. As many have pointed out, the conservative tendency is to work within what exists and favor intelligent minor adjustments. If you go that way you won’t often raise big issues or appeal to grand principles.

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Why the self-congratulation?

The election of a black man as president is supposed to be a wonderful thing. Doesn’t that depend on how it came about? If it shows the growth of human respect and a widening scheme of cooperation then it’s a good thing. If it shows that a social order that took particular histories and connections into account has been replaced by one based on TV, pop culture and celebrity on the one hand and formally certified expertise on the other, then it’s certainly a sign of Change but not necessarily one of improvement.

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Why Radical Traditionalism in Politics?

Because conservatism as normally understood is not possible in America today. Conservatism stands for loyalty to what is settled. It presumes that one belongs to a culture and civilization that is basically well-founded and coherent, so that it will return to type if a few errors are debunked and excesses suppressed.

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Whiteness studies

Paul Gottfried makes some interesting points in a thinkpiece on white nationalists over at Takimag. His basic argument:

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The outlook for the bobo ascendency

One issue raised by Brooks’s “bobos” (bourgeois bohemians, his new hip yuppie ruling class) is how long they’ll last in power. They do have some advantages:

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Finding reason in an unreasonable world

What do you say in response to a theory of things that is simplified to the point of absurdity: that asserts that existence is an illusion, or physical objects do not exist, or language is all a rhetorical power-game, or mathematical objects are only physiological states of someone’s brain? Some possibilities:

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    The eternal return of the same?

    The discussion of the once and future paleoconservatism continues at Taki’s Magazine, with contributions from Daniel Larison and Richard Spencer. Larison seems to think that the new will be much the same as the old, while Spencer seems to identify with a sort of rambunctuous and generally nationalist individualism that perhaps can fuel an oppositional movement.

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