Innovation then and now
Henry Ford happily allowed his children to be chauffeured around town in the mass-market vehicles he pioneered, but today, Silicon Valley executives protect their children from smartphones and send them to schools without screens—a telling sign of their opinion of their own products.
Gladden Pappin, Advancing in Place
Pappin is an integralist or integralism-adjacent, so I read him guardedly. Still, it’s hard to resist that little ad hominem.
Much later, Playboy magazine came along, in which girls removed their underwear and a boy could drive to a drugstore in a part of town where he was not known and tuck a copy into a Wall Street Journal and peruse it And later came Tropic of Cancer and Portnoy’s Complaint and now porn is freely available online though to me it has all the erotic allure of watching oil well pumps pumping in North Dakota.
Le mot juste is "shibboleth"
I generally don’t like "why didn’t he write about this?" objections, but I think John McWhorter missed the boat by not using the term "shibboleth" in this piece.
Put not your trust in jury verdicts
There is a dissonance between what we invest in a trial and what it resolves. We rely on the criminal-justice process for the airing of important aspects and arguments around many public controversies that deeply divide us. The trial and its attendant litigation become our historical record. But in the end, a criminal proceeding settles only a very narrow point: Did the state present proof beyond a reasonable doubt to support the charges it alleged?
In the Rittenhouse trial — in what I continue to believe is a case that should never have been a criminal prosecution — the state did not meet its burden. That narrow finding is critical, and the jury made it.
Still, the trial has very little to tell us about the unrest on the streets, what caused it. It doesn’t address how the government dealt with, or rather was derelict in, its duty to provide security. It has nothing to say about prudential or moral questions unrelated to the proof vel non of charged crimes — e.g., should Kyle Rittenhouse have been on the violent scene in Kenosha that night, should he have been armed, and what does the fact that we can’t agree on these questions — indeed, can’t even seem to discuss them civilly much of the time — portend for our society? Nothing, because we’ve always been a rambunctious bunch, or disaster, because our disagreements are growing more fundamental?
Verdicts in a criminal case do not begin to address those matters.
But they are essential just the same. We can’t address anything effectively without the rule of law. Today, the rule of law won.
Andrew C. McCarthy, *Thoughts on the Rittenhouse Not-Guilty Verdicts *
Two paths of the novel
If the novelist cannot provide a window into reality, then he must ultimately write about himself; and his technique, or politics, or personal problems come to the forefront of his work. Like the postmodernist Pompidou Center in Paris, with all its pipes, wires, and elevators on the outside, the postmodern novel refuses the “hidden” artistry of the realistic tradition in order to flaunt its bag of tricks.
Gregory Wolfe, Beauty Will Save the World
A charitable surmise
One of the reasons that Pope Francis sometimes seems so frustrated with the state of the Church today may be that, in his experience, too many Christians tend to confuse doctrine and law and rituals and structures with the real experience of faith.
Abp. Charles J. Chaput, Strangers in a Strange Land
If Archbishop Chaput’s surmise is correct, I’ll give the Pope his props for a change — with a caveat: the "real experience of faith" can be absent even in a saint, and even for long "dry" spells. Witness St. Theresa of Calcutta, who suffered depression for decades, rarely if ever feeling God’s presence.
In some sense, as dark to the intellect as it is unendurable to the feelings, we can be both banished from the presence of Him who is present everywhere and erased from the knowledge of Him who knows all.
C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory in The Weight of Glory
Tell me why I’m wrong
Having avoided the divisive topic of politics, I turn to the divisive subject of religion.
When I consider a story like David French’s The Moral Collapse of America’s Largest Christian University, I think that public-facing Evangelicalism is almost entirely religiopreneurs getting ego strokes and money, lots of money, and lots of — oh, never mind. This is a family blog.
Oh, those guys plus followers who will follow their leaders anywhere, including perdition, if the metrics are good (since good metrics are confused with God’s blessing).
I know there are faithful pastors laboring away far from the limelight, but the tone is set by the bozos, isn’t it?
Thinking much about politics
A sick society must think much about politics, as a sick man must think much about his digestion; to ignore the subject may be fatal cowardice for the one as for the other. But if either comes to regard it as the natural food of the mind—if either forgets that we think of such things only in order to be able to think of something else—then what was undertaken for the sake of health has become itself a new and deadly disease.
C.S. Lewis, Membership, in The Weight of Glory