Category: Feature

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Wednesday’s Child: Man vs. SORM

You know me, folks. You know that when I hear the phrase “human rights” I release the safety catch of my Browning, or at least spit on the floor to register contempt.  Like “social diversity,” which is its opposite in real life–and like a thousand other weasel phrases too noxious to enumerate here–that neologism is not only not a synonym of individual liberty, but often its functional antonym.  So you will not think less of me if I mention something called the European Court of Human Rights in other than a derisory way. Some nine years ago a man in...

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Properties of Blood I.2: Love and Hate, C

The Realm of Love But on this side there is no end to strife, where violence has taken love to wife– a pagan tale of Venus and of Mars, matter of fact and heedless as the stars of carnage done in our too human wars. “Love makes the world go round,” as an old proverb has it.  Does this mean anything more than the obvious fact, celebrated in Valentine cards and romantic novels, that sexual attraction between male and female is a necessary condition for propagating many species, the human species in particular?  What is love?  Philosophers since Plato and...

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How to Combat Islamic Terrorists?  Quit Sponsoring Them!

I did not watch, hear, or read President Obama’s brilliant address offering a range of eminently practical solutions to the terrorist threat.   Why bother?  Like most of his recent predecessors, this President would not tell the truth if it were tattooed onto his brain, and if he did accidentally blurt out some particle of reality, the state media would  immediately cover up his gaffe.     The security of the United States and of its citizens is menaced by Muslims, but neither the President nor the media is willing even to state thate fact.  Without reading the speech, I...

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The Genius of Burke–and His Limitations ON THE HOUSE

This is a slightly modified version of a piece originally published in The Spectator under the  title “Tories Back Wrong Philosopher.”  It is being made available “On the House” for five days. TWO hundred years ago, the career of Edmund Burke was drawing to a close under a cloud of accusations. The Duke of Bedford and his friends had denounced the one-time budget-cutting reformer and enemy of the royal prerogative for accepting a pension from the Crown. In his ‘Letter to a Noble Lord’, published in February 1796, Burke rebutted the charges of inconsistency and hypocrisy. It was Burke’s last stand,...

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San Bernardino: The American Nightmare

As Americans went to bed on December 2, they knew little of what happened in San Bernardino, where mysterious “white” assailants murdered 14 people  at a “social services center.”   Like most people, probably, we were otherwise occupied. We were watching an old episode of Comissario Montalbano.  Even this morning on NPR, which featured an interview with two “experts” on mass shootings, I  only accidentally learned that one of the shooters had a Pakistani Muslim name. Checking out the stories in the Washington Post, LA Times, and New York Times, I was able to glean only a few facts:  a...

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Wednesday’s Child: Letter from Paris

  I realize that visual observation alone, whether at its focus is human illness or social mores, is rarely conclusive when it comes to diagnostics, but that, ladies and gentlemen, is all I’ve got.  Parting with $100 in a café here is a foregone conclusion, while in the food halls of the Galleries Lafayette two bucks will buy you a piece of chocolate measuring one cubic centimetre. And yet this city eats like Rome, with the diners, like Olympic swimmers in the final yards of the race, twisting their apoplectically speckled necks this way and that, as though coming up...

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Properties of Blood II: Love and Hate, Part B

This text will be available only briefly without cost.  When “the gate comes down,” it will be accessible only to subscribers. The Heart Has Its Reason The City of God, wherever and however it exists, is ruled by that kind of love that used to be referred to as “charity.”  “He that loveth,” (ὁ γὰρ ἀγαπῶν), far from being in conflict with the moral law (νόμος) taught by the Decalogue, is fulfilling it.  Most professional philosophers since Descartes would immediately raise the obvious objection that love or friendship or charity are irrational feelings, sub-rational reflections of our character and experience.  We...

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The Art of Degradation, Part I

It is a good thing that rhetoric is a lost art, because anyone with the most elementary knowledge of rhetoric would be sticking blunt objects into his ears to keep from hearing not just the politicians’ speeches but, even more, the pundit’s comments and questions. I am not referring to the bad grammar and mispronunciation of NPR newsreaders who cannot pronounce words like “tour” but invariably say “tore” or even to the effeminate and uncontrolled sing-song chanting of the announcers.  Delivery is a part of oratory but only a part.  From the rhetor’s perspective of 2500 years or so, political...

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Wednesday’s Child: To Say Nothing of the Dog

Some six months ago, at the end of March, I wrote here about the sensational case of the Ukrainian Joan of Arc, Nadezhda Savchenko – then in captivity in Moscow and undergoing a farce of a trial – who has since been exchanged for some Russian prisoners of the undeclared war and is now in Kiev.  Now, it may be that Savchenko is not the Ukrainian Joan of Arc, and that in reality she’s a war criminal, a madwoman, a villainess, a CIA agent, or even a Russian police provocateur; none of that matters in the least for making sense...

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Rome, Year 16 AMT

I left Rockford with the best intentions.  I was going to write and post a diary of our six weeks (plus a few days) in Italy, even including the boring details of transatlantic travel post -911 or, as I prefer to call it, in the Age of Muslim Terrorism, as in “we left home on January 7, AMT 16. Our brief escape from the Midwestern Winter and presidential politicking seemed doomed from the start.  Jim Easton was kind enough to take us to the Van Galder bus station, where we soon learned that the departure schedule had recently been changed,...