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In my dying time

So I’ll just begin with an admission that I know it’s crazy and macabre and most certainly narcissistic. What I’ve been doing in my essays lately, however, is forgetting, for just a little while, that someone might read them. Just to see what happens. To push the boundaries and whatnot. And when I set aside …

On concession

Some of you may like my latest essay on the Image “Good Letters” channel at Patheos. Others of you may hate it with a fiery burning hatred. Here’s an excerpt: It was an offering. I understand why you are afraid of men who look like me. All he asked in return was an equivalent offering. Please understand …

Gays, Boy Scouts, and dogma

The Boy Scouts of America is considering an end to its prohibition against homosexual troop leaders, deferring that decision to local councils. Sexual molestation! cry opponents, and so into the breach rushes the conscientious journalist, whose moral obligation is to remind readers of the evidence that homosexuals are no more prone to molestation than heterosexuals. …

Literally small-minded

Granted, playwright turned conservative-screed artist David Mamet lately comes across like that kid in philosophy class who just got hold of Atlas Shrugged and believes everyone should read it immediately. Still, he’s not an idiot. Which is what makes Ta-Nehisi Coates’s critique of Mamet’s recent gun rights essay so, well, idiotic. Consider the paragraph that particularly …

Problem-rushers

We’re trying to find an office manager, and so I’ve had to articulate what makes for a good employee. This is a treacherous and particularized endeavor, because the people who appear to be good employees for other bosses would likely drive me crazy to the point of pushing them from a window, and this is …

On the virtues of snake-killing

Some of you know about my long-running battles with snakes. You’ll understand, therefore, why I so appreciate Jonah Goldberg’s jeremiad against snake-enabling military-industrial complexes, and beyond that, his bloody-minded willingness to harness good old American entrepreneurial violence in order to kill the big ones. An excerpt: “You see, I don’t think we need a vast …

Expert Offense

Some of you may like my latest Image post, even though (or maybe because) it ranges from E.O. Wilson to homosexuality to Michael Polanyi to engineers to literature to the Dewey Decimal System to sparking revolution with bedtime stories. Here’s an excerpt: “. . . I confess I enjoy seeing scientists upset. Whenever you stumble …

Dreaming God

Some of you might like my most recent essay at the Image Good Letters blog, “Dreaming God.” Here’s an excerpt: “. . . my experience is that nothing enrages the rational, scientific atheist more than when you get rational and scientific with him. If you want to make a Richard Dawkins aficionado more apoplectic than Dawkins …

Put me in a box

An organization of which I’ve been a big fan for years is the Institute for Justice, a team of Davids repeatedly taking on Goliaths who use the powers of government to keep small businesspeople from competing with them. IJ’s defense of monks who make and sell cheap, sturdy caskets, against a mortician’s lobby that wants …

Good intentions

The University of Virginia has adopted a tough new policy that requires student criminals to self-report arrests. In other news, local fraternities are being nicely asked to send flower bouquets to every co-ed who finds herself taken advantage of on their premises, professors are admonished to report to their students the number of times they …

Refine this

Terry Nichols, the terrorist whose twisted little mind told him to fight government oppression by blowing up babies and postal clerks, is suing officials at the federal prison where he resides, apparently not counting it so much a blessing that he has yet to join mass murderer Tim McVeigh in a bunkhouse in hell. Nichols’s …

Sample size matters

Spokesman for British retailer Tesco: “We do not think this skirt is inappropriate and neither do the parents we’ve talked to.” Except, of course, the many parents who are so troubled by the hem-hiked mini-skirts you’re marketing to nine year-olds that they feel compelled to protest, just as they did when you tried to sell …

Finding a home for schooling

The German home-schooling family which fled the government in their country has been granted asylum by a federal immigration judge in Memphis, on the grounds that they face persecution for both their religious beliefs and their social group. The U.S. Immigration and Customs authority is appealing the judge’s decision, reportedly for fear of inviting applications …

Scouting the handbook

In Friday’s Wall Street Journal I assess the state of the Boy Scout Handbook after 100 years of revisions: Scouts founders hoped the BSA could remain above politics and address character. They couldn’t anticipate the day when a future honorary Scout president would insist that the word “is” has debatable meanings. UPDATE: And yes, if …

Haiti Orphanage Update

This is the place where help for the orphanage is being coordinated. They’ve got a law firm working on expediting the adoption issues, and they’ve announced it’s now legal for every one of the children to enter the U.S., though apparently that’s in some doubt. It’s still wise to contact your congressman regardless. But whether …

Be doers

Okay people, I don’t ask you for much, but I’m asking all of you to do two things. You’ve seen on your televisions the horror in Haiti. I have a friend who has been working for a long time to adopt a little boy from the BRESMA orphanage in Port-au-Prince, home to about 150 orphans. …