Category: Free Content

8

Blackboard Jungles

I hate to sound like a bonehead movement conservative, but….I find it hard to believe anything I see in the news, which in my case consists mostly of the headlines of The Daily Mail.  I don’t mean I think the writers and editors are lying.  I just find it hard to believe that anyone could make the stupid comments that inspire the headlines, that a writer would find them worth repeating, that an editor who did not work for his middle school newsletter would print them, and, finally, that anyone would take the trouble to click on the headline and...

0

Orestes, Part II

Orestes puts his case to Menelaus.  His uncle owes Agamemnon for all he did in launching an expedition to regain Menelaus’ wife.  After all, Orestes is not asking Menelaus to kill his own daughter to fulfill his duty—a look back at Agamemnon’s sacrifice of his daughter Iphigenia and forward to Orestes’ plot to kidnap Hermione. In what should be a clinching argument for a normal Greek, Orestes points out that if he and Electra die, so does the line of Agamemnon.  Menelaus (682 ff) agrees—up to a point—that kinsmen should endure each others’ misfortunes/evils, but only if the god gives...

5

Euripides’ Orestes

The Orestes, performed in 408, is one of Euripides’ last surviving plays–the poet died only two years later.  It was very popular in the Hellenistic and Byzantine eras, much cited and taught in schools.   It is a vivid melodrama (in the modern not the ancient sense), but it is also a profound and difficult meditation on the meaning of friendship. One caveat before I make a few remarks on the play.  Though Euripides was, in the following centuries, the most popular writer of tragedies, I have always rated him distinctly third compared with his predecessors, Aeschylus and Sophocles.  I...

4

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Question:  Is everyone angry with Trump for using the vulgar language we hear everyday on the street or for telling the plain truth about Haiti.  I have even heard American blacks refer contemptuously to “Hessians”–and they were not talking about German mercenaries in the American Revolution.   I suppose there must be some place with more hapless, dependent, filthy, and violent people, but none with a history like Haiti’s.  It took a witchdoctor like Papa Doc Duvalier to impose any order, and these days all they seem to be doing is to lie around waiting for another hurricane to give...

1

A Summary and a New Beginning

It was Twelfth Night this weekend, the end of the Christmas season for Christians who are too enthralled to restrict the celebration of the Incarnation to a single day preceded and followed by shopping, the modern form of worship.  Our happiness commenced at midnight December 25th and was only tempered as the Wise Men of the East brought their gifts to the King of Kings. So too does Season 1 of our podcast series finally end as well.  I am happy to admit on behalf of all the Foundation staff that we bit off more than we could chew last...

0

The New Index: Adam Smith, Part 2

Adam Smith Adam Smith, perhaps the most influential political thinker produced by Britain in modern times, was born in 1722, a posthumous child of a customs collector from Aberdeenshire.  Smith’s interests in his early years were largely literary and classical, and his family had destined him for the Anglican clergy, though at some point he gave up both the career and religion of a Christian minister. He studied moral philosophy under Francis Hutcheson at Glasgow University and came strongly under the spell of Hutcheson’s anti-rationalist common sense philosophy that emphasized benevolence. He proceeded from Glasgow to Balliol College, Oxford, where...

0

The New Index: Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments

This series, in its unrevised form, was posted in Summer  2005.  I thought it was lost forever, but Allen Wilson has been kind enough to send me dozens of old pieces that have disappeared from the old website. Part One:  Capitalism 1776, the year of the Declaration of Independence, was marked also by the publication of Adam Smith’s path-breaking book on economics, The Wealth of Nations. This is no accident, according to a familiar myth put out by American classical liberals who call themselves conservatives, because America is a land of individualists who came to a New World seeking freedom...

6

The Pope’s Temptation

Is anyone old enough to remember when it was not quite respectable to be in the news?   Of course, the doings of the great and the wise would have to be recorded—the birth of an heir, the discovery of a planet—but, otherwise, it  was better not to be noticed by the newspapers, which have always been properly regarded as scandal sheets.  And, of all classes of men who had to avoid notoriety, the clergy were at the top, and of all the Christian clergy, the Pope was chief among those who were wise enough to stay out of the...

0

Niki Haley–Trump’s Worst Mistake

Niki Haley is a disaster as foreign policy mouthpiece.  One might use of her what Mencken unfairly said of Bryan:  “a zany without sense or dignity.”  Of course she is a good deal more virile than South Carolina’s distinguished Senator Lindsay Graham, but that can be said of Chelsea Manning.  Butching it up for the press in difficult matters of war and peace is exactly what the United States does not need, and her recent ridiculous tirade gave the Russians one more opportunity to ridicule the cynicism–and amateurism–of the US foreign policy establishment. Serious nations do not act like North...

9

City-States Rights, Part I A (FREE)

A version of this was presented some years ago at a meeting in Charleston, South Carolina Cities like Charleston and Siena and Edinburgh are a great deal like nations: They have their own identity celebrated in songs and stories and a peculiar slant on history.  These real cities are not merely aggregations of aliens who “dwell together, in Eliot’s phrase, “to make money from each other.”  They are enduring communities, with a common  faith and identity, that have a future only because they have a past. I have come to see that in this respect Charleston has been throughout its...