Summer Solstice ’22

Prosecute Trump?

So far, there has only been circumstantial evidence that Trump knew he lost the 2020 Election, so news that he admitted his loss theoretically could be huge.

However, if you have access to the New York Times, do yourself a favor and read Prosecute Trump? Put Yourself in Merrick Garland’s Shoes. I think I’d call it a day at step two of the analysis: the unlikelihood of a unanimous guilty verdict in a country where so many worship the guy. Not even in the very liberal District of Columbia.

If I made it to step three, I’d again hit a wall: Do we really want that disgraceful and disgraced humbug to star as Johnny Depp with the prosecution as Amber Heard?

So I say "no prosecution." Our best outcome will be if the current Congressional hearings sufficiently disgrace him, even to those who voted for him, that he’s politically dead and buried.

Kudos to the Dispatch

Your membership allows us to do this kind of high-quality, in-depth journalism rather than chase clicks or attempt to monetize the latest outrage. Thank you.

The Morning Dispatch, touting its multi-part report on How the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act Became Law.

I’ve subscribed been a member from the beginning, and the Dispatch has consistently made good on not chasing clicks or attempting to monetize the latest outrage. Its voice is unique: clearly not Trumpist, yet not obsessively anti-Trump like The Bulwark. It is one of my most valued news and commentary sources (though Jonah Goldberg alone talks and writes more than I can find time to listen and read).

Consider joining and enjoying a play-it-straight source in this tribalist historic hiatus.

Summer Kwaanza?

Juneteenth—the annual observance celebrating the end of slavery in the United States in 1865—is a holiday that many Americans haven’t heard of until recently. That has caused some to wonder if it’s just some new “woke” holiday invented by Marxist academics, the creators of the historically inaccurate 1619 Project, or some other group on the left.

It is not.

Juneteenth has been celebrated since 1866, mostly by Black Americans; yet it’s a day that’s worthy of celebration by every American, as it represents a critical turning point in American history, not just Black history. It is the day that we as a people finally began to live up to one of the greatest principles we professed: a nation devoted to liberty for all.

Kay Cole James

Yes, I was among those world-weary folks who assumed Juneteenth was a summer Kwaanza. My bad.

How should we celebrate this newest national holiday?

Second-hand reading list

  • American Rhyd Wildermuth is writing about his new life in Luxembourg, discovering the complexity of European culture from the perspective of a recovering US ‘progressive’. His observations about the mapping of a simplistic American race narrative onto the old and ever-shifting cultures and ethnicities of Europe is spot-on, I think. I have long felt that the language in which British and some European cultural elites now talk about race – dividing the world artificially into ‘whites’ and ‘people of colour’, for example – is a form of American colonialism which both obscures the reality of European culture and history, and increases or introduces racial tension. Rhyd writes about this sensitively and sharply.
  • If ‘the modern world is a hell’ seems like overkill to you, this recent Guardian interview with transhumanist author Elise Bohan may wake you up, for Bohan is quite clear about where it is leading, and she can’t wait. The aim of transhumanism, she explains, is to allow us to move beyond the ‘ape-brained meat sack’ otherwise known as the human body, so that we can beat death, remake humanity, perfect nature and ultimately, in her own words ‘build God’ anew. Bohan, of course, like her interviewer, doesn’t believe in God. If she did, she might recognise that the argument she is making is precisely the same one that was made by the serpent in the Garden of Eden – which is to say that, as I suggested in my last essay, it is literally Satanic.
  • What is the alternative to this future? Neuroscientist Erik Hoel, in a long and interesting essay on his own Substack, suggests that the answer might lie in Shakespeare. Humanity is messy. Nature is complex, and not under our control. The likes of Bohan, who are designing our future, can’t cope with this mess, just as they can’t cope with loss, death, humility, the unknown, the transcendent or anything else they can’t turn into an equation or replicate in a lab. The ‘coming inhuman future’, as Hoel calls it, can only be fought with a defence of the irrational, messy, dark, light and mysterious complexity of nature, which includes our human nature. Arm yourselves.

Paul Kingsnorth, Intermission: Reading and Writing – by Paul Kingsnorth. Kingsnorth recommended some others, too, but these are what I’m going to read.

A quick, partial critique of liberalism

It has now become indisputable that the liberal order not only uses a variety of quasi coercive legal instruments such as bureaucratic guidances, selective funding of NGOs, and so forth, but it also exploits the liberal version of the public-private distinction to full advantage. It deploys selective enforcement of the law against “private violence” and takes political advantage of background conditions of economic necessity (“the market”) and of the radical conformity of public opinion under liberalism, instigated by the media. It controls its subjects with mobs both virtual and real, threats of ostracism, loss of employment, and a sort of reputational death (the dreaded state of being “out of the mainstream,” enforced politically by a cordon sanitaire).

Adrian Vermeule.

I continue to struggle: I want classical liberalism to work, but I am conversant with powerful critiques, including from sorta-scary guys like Vermeule. Monday, I finally ordered a primary source for its defense: Francis Fukuyama’s End of History and the Last Man, having read quite a bit about it over the past few days.


If people have always said it, it is probably true; it is the distilled wisdom of the ages. If people have not always said it, but everybody is saying it now, it is probably a lie; it is the concentrated madness of the moment.

Anthony Esolen, Out of the Ashes

You can read most of my more impromptu stuff here (cathartic venting) and here (the only social medium I frequent, because people there are quirky, pleasant and real). Both should work in your RSS aggregator, like Feedly or Reeder, should you want to make a habit of it.

3 thoughts on “Summer Solstice ’22

  1. Depending on if you enjoy Fukuyama’s work, a former professor of mine, Peter Lawler, wrote a couple books that include critiques of his work: Aliens in America: The Strange Truth About our Souls and Postmodernism Rightly Understood. He passed away a few years ago, but I think his work continues to have relevance.

    1. Sorry to be slow approving your comment, and thanks for weighing in.

      I’ve heard Peter Augustine Lawler countless times on Mars Hill Audio Journal. If (as seems likely) reading Fukuyama doesn’t lay my doubts forever to rest, Lawler is the kind of guy to whom I might turn next.

      1. He was an entertaining speaker and teacher – I had a few classes with him, mostly touching upon the areas where politics, history, and philosophy blend together. A nice change of pace for a biology major.

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