Curmudgeonry

Excursus

If you’re starting here, you might care to first read my new Wall Street Journal op-ed about the ruckus over Confederate monuments. If you started there, then welcome to here. I assume you’re either pleased or outraged or puzzled. Me too. About a lot of things. So I don’t have a structured narrative for this …

Since it’s commencement season, I’ve put together a draft address in case I get a last-minute call

I’d like to thank Debtwell University for this opportunity to address your student body. Furthermore, I want to express my deepest hope that your original speaker overcomes [FOOD POISONING/ IRS DIFFICULTIES/ SUBPOENA/ ETC] without undue complications. [PAUSE. MAKE EYE CONTACT. SQUINT AS IF DRAWING ON A WELL OF DEEP WISDOM, BUT NOT SO HARD THAT YOU …

On just saying no

Related to my previous post, I have an essay at Good Letters digging into the hypocrisy of evangelicals, as represented by the American Family Association, who simultaneously support the Drug War while demanding that we reject child refugees from that war. Here’s an excerpt: We sponsor both sides of this war; we constitute the primary …

Scientific passions

Forty days have passed quickly and the feasting is over, so I suppose I should start putting together words again. When it’s not on this novel I’m revising, my writing mind has been on science—on the art that is genuine science, and the bullying that is scientism, and our persistent modern confusion of the two. …

On scientism

Those of you who read what I scribble here and elsewhere know I nurse a few curious theories about science, like that it ought to remain distinct from scientism, and that the scientific process taught in schools is hokum, and that reductionism is just as nonsensical when it comes to dominate the physical sciences as …

The lost conservative mind

I recently read Russell Kirk’s The Conservative Mind, and composed a thought about it in relation to the state of this country, which perhaps more than ever before mirrors the state of man today—outwardly self-reliant, inwardly flailing. My thought is that we are yanking free the anchors, worrying loose the cables, and where once this …

White ashes

Last I checked there were 36,000 mentions of Jimmy Fallon in the news, and 8,820 of Kermit Gosnell. It’s understandable if you haven’t heard of Gosnell. He’s a Philadelphia abortionist on trial for, among other things, murdering newborns by snipping their spines with scissors. He did this after failing to murder them while some portion …

Cheaper by the dozen

There is a difference between being anti-intellectual and being anti-intellect, and this is where Russell Jacoby foundered, in his essay last year about the lack of intellectualism among conservatives. As Peter Lawler notes, it’s shoddily done for want of defining terms, which is a frequent flaw in Chronicle of Higher Ed essays about conservatism. There …

Slippery words

You might like my latest post at Good Letters. An excerpt: “We are used to words not meaning anything, you see, and so who cares if foot-long is not supposed to mean eleven inches, that cheese is not supposed to be a vegetable oil and whey composite, that deli meat is not supposed to be shaved from …

Hunting dogs

“When the law is against you,” goes the adage, “argue the facts. When the facts are against you, argue the law. When both the facts and law are against you….” Here we may turn for instruction to Jerry Taylor, ringleader of Cato Institute officials in the unenviable position of needing to convince people who embrace …

Professorial logic

There are many plausible explanations for why men commit nearly all murders and start most wars. It could be that we’re just hard-wired to smash skulls. Or perhaps it’s that we’ve learned how much chicks dig a man in uniform. Or maybe, according to Jesse Prinz, philosophy professor at the CUNY Graduate Center, it’s because …