You are here

Society and culture

I have a dream

Every movement needs high-flown rhetoric, and trad rightwingery can’t be any different. Inspired by what seems voguish I’ve put together a few phrases for my own “I have a dream” speech. Additions are welcome.

I dream of an America that is a normal country.

I dream of an America that is not an all-purpose fantasy, or a team, business, political movement or religion, but a country and people and their habits and ways to love, support and complete.

I dream of an America with normal human relations and aspirations.


Ars gratia artis--up to a point

I just went to a concert put on by a musician who lives in the neighborhood that put me in mind of a comment I made a while back on a William Wegman exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum:

He has loads of talent and industry, he seems like a perfectly normal guy, and his stuff is very amusing, but I wish he had something to do with his gifts other than screw around.


Freedom and making free

When “freedom” means fluid standards and relationships, it puts everything up for grabs. When everything is up for grabs the grabby get everything. Tastes differ, but that doesn’t seem so great to me.


Sexual radicalism as rule-following mindlessness

After public complaints, the German government has finally pulled a sex-ed booklet that promoted conduct that came close to incestuous pedophilia. Since this is a G-rated weblog, you’ll have to click on the links to get the details, which were startling enough to make me go and find the booklet itself.


Childishness as a social principle

When people at the New York Times, even those very who are very senior, open up and tell us how they feel about something I’m mostly impressed by how thoughtless, uncritical, and confused they are.


What happened to the unbought grace of life?

A result of the abolition of culture through commercialism, ideology and modern understandings of justice and rationality is that people get deprived of worthwhile ideals of conduct.


So happy in the jungle?

Bonobos seem to be going the way of the Samoans and Mayans. It seems that exotic groups who live in some far-away tropical paradise and are renowned for their peace-loving and sex-positive ways tend to fall from grace on further investigation.


NYT bemoans necessary implication of liberalism

Big changes in popular habits are no doubt part of a whole network of other changes, so it’s hard to point to specific causes and effects, but isn’t there a distinct connection between young adults’ acceptance of multiculturalism and their total lack of interest in public affairs? To me it seems glaringly obvious that multiculturalism makes public life impossible even in concept.


July 14th

Our sympathy to the French on the 218th anniversary of the riots and lynchings that led to the unfortunate state of affairs there.


More on the pre-Vatican II Church

A correspondent sends the following extracts from Lesson 10, “The Virtues and the Gifts of the Holy Ghost,” in the Confraternity Edition of the Baltimore Catechism, published in the late 1940s. Within living memory, it seems, there were people who did not identify God’s Kingdom with an inhuman secular utopia:


From ontology to sociology

To descend from the sublime to the not-so-sublime, it’s worth noting that a recent Barna Group study finds that Catholics have become mainstream America. There don’t seem to be discernible differences between Catholics and other Americans, except that Catholics take religion and the more austere demands of morality less seriously. They’re more into pornography, for example.


Rage and reason

When I was in law school I knew nothing about Richard Posner, but it seemed obvious from the sneering remarks of my professors that what he had to say was very important and probably well-founded, at least within the world of late-20th-century American legal scholarship. I still know very little about Posner, but so far as I can tell he’s aged better than my professors have.


Love that alters not

According to Robert Conquest, everyone is conservative about what he knows best. When it’s something people not only know but love, like sports, they become downright traditionalist: for proof, see Steve Sailer’s note on the old gaffers they have as sportscasters out in LA.


The tube gets serious

I’ve been watching the Polish TV miniseries The Decalogue, directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski. It’s really extraordinary, the ultimate category-buster as far as TV miniseries go.


Radical theology as the essence of the mainstream

I was struck by a quotation from an essay by feminist theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether mentioned in an article about a Catholic-connected conference in which she’ll be taking part:


All that is solid melts into air

A couple of recent polls indicate a decided recent shift to the left on social issues, and so make it evident that current fears of fundamentalism and theocracy are due mostly to the shock of increasingly radical “mainstream” thinkers that there are people who haven’t radicalized as much as they have and so act as a drag on social reconstruction.


Liberalism, America, and Americanism

A commenter, apparently an American Jew long resident in Italy who can view America (and Europe) as both insider and outsider, has posted a lengthy ramble about America, Americanism, modernity, and related topics. His ramble raises some interesting issues, but two that seem especially worth commenting on are whether advanced liberalism, the currently ascendant (some say final and history-ending) version of modernity, is specifically American, and what America can be for us today.


The majesty of the law

Student free speech cases like “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” strike me as rather silly. Schools always try to bring students to think and act in some ways rather than others. That’s why they exist. To do so they maintain controlled environments and clear hierarchies of authority. In particular, they prescribe the topics of discussion and what’s said about them.


Heros of happy talk

Steve Sailer notes something notable:

In the past, typically, happy talk was the style of the insecure middle of the social scale. Those who wished to be seen as above status concerns espoused frankness … A really odd thing about American culture today, however, is that as you go up the educational and social ladder, the more sanctimoniously hypocritical they tend to be about enforcing the code of diversity happy talk.


Semper infideles

A study from the Barna Group has turned up some interesting info on the numbers, lifestyles and self-perceptions of American atheists and agnostics, and how they contrast with those of active Christians. The most striking findings are:



Subscribe to RSS - Society and culture