- Did you hear the one about the old maid?
- Why Handwriting Matters.
- On voluntarily leaving the center of the cosmos.
- Critiquing the Critics
- Redoubling efforts.
- Death to smart alecks!
- Substance-free foreign policy prattle.
I can’t help but feel sorry for the people of the Freedom from Religion Foundation and their fellows whose lives are so void of light and bereft of hope that they must be so mean-spirited (“Bible Verses on Banners Kick Off Texas Conflict; Atheists-Agnostics Group Takes on Cheerleaders Over Religious Football Signs,” U.S. News, Oct. 2).
These people remind me of the neighborhood old maid who constantly complains about the happy sounds of the children playing in the street, not because the noise bothers her but because she has no children of her own.
It’s unfortunate that Philip Hensher’s longish Why Handwriting Matters starts with an illustration that graphologists say shows Hitler’s “megalomaniacal psychopathy.” That kind of makes me want to keep my cards close to my vest – away from graphologists. Otherwise, I’m sympathetic to Hensher’s thinking.
But new habits get old fast, and old habits are hard to break.
After seven years in Washington, witnessing the ongoing growth of the conservative industry in the city that conservatives claim to hate ranks high among the absurdities amid the countless absurdities of modern American life. D.C. has been the longstanding home of a number of the nation’s top conservative think-tanks, from AEI to Cato to Heritage Foundation. It is a magnet for recent college graduates who intern and work for countless conservative organizations, from conservative journals like the Weekly Standard and the National Review to major conservative journalists of opinion such as George Will, Charles Krauthammer, and David Brooks. The location of the Porch’s President, Mark Mitchell’s college, Patrick Henry College, was selected in significant part due to its proximity to D.C., where it was hoped its graduates would find ready foothold for conservative internships and jobs. Recently I was among a set of speakers at a newly founded satellite “campus” of nearby Hillsdale College – the Kirby Center, located close to Union Station in Washington D.C. – noteworthy for the fact that Hillsdale is among the only institutions of higher-education in America that accepts no federal funding, yet has established a Center in the heart of the Capital.
No matter how we describe them politically – and the policies that they support, whether or not they are likely to be enacted or not – a defining feature of these denizens is a pervasive urbanity and cosmopolitanism. They are generally well-travelled; comfortable in the larger, generally anonymous urban setting; happy purveyors of high culture and fine dining; occupants of similar housing stock, which is generally upscale single-family that does not include residents of different and especially lower economic strata; they tend to be well-informed about current events from similar sources, such as NPR or the WSJ; comparatively among the wealthiest people in the entire world, and largely expectant that their children will travel life paths that will put them on a similar trajectory to occupy similar positions and locate in comparable super-zips as they become adults. For all of the significant political differences that might divide them, they in fact have far more in common in their “lifestyle” and general worldviews and outlook on how life should be lived.
Patrick Deneen, Leaving Washington.
My own criticism of Pulpit Freedom Sunday, the likes of which Stanley apparently has never heard, is that instead of preaching what their pastoral sense tells them their parishioners need to hear, or preaching from the text a lectionary prescribes, pastors digress into a uniquely American legal provocation at the behest of legal strategists putatively in search of a test case (and definitely in search of publicity and donations).
Planned Parenthood really should have handicap-accessible ramps at its abortuaries, says Indiana Right to Life.
Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim. George Santayana (H/T @Quotier)
Somehow, those two thoughts just seem to fit each other.
It never occurred to me, when I suggested (as I have for 40 years or so) that capital punishment needed to extend to all 18 Old Testament capital offenses if it wanted to claim Biblical warrant, that a candidate would write a book proposing death penalty for rebellious children.
Gosh, I had no idea I was so influential. Or that a reductio ad absurdum could be mistaken for a thrown-down gauntlet.
The Obama administration’s response to Romney’s foreign policy speech (including that “The world must never see any daylight between” the U.S. and Israel) was that it was “free of substance.”
Free of substance? That American decisions about war and peace will be entrusted to Bibi Netanyahu. They must be kidding.
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