Sunday of The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise

Just sayin’

‘Modern Islam,’ as the scholar Kecia Ali has put it, ‘is a profoundly Protestant tradition.’

Tom Holland, Dominion

Wicked good

Petey the Parrot served twenty-one months
On a rap for indecent exposure.
His Bishop paroled him and gave him a perch
On his pear-wood episcopal crosier.

He scolded the skeptics who labeled the bird
Unsuited for pastoral placement:
“I’m giving him charge of the CCD staff
And an office in Barney Frank’s basement.”

Hide the eggs, Gwendolyn, hide the eggs, Tom! 
Hide the eggs, Kate and Kareem!
Petey the sinister Young Adult Minister’s
back on the pastoral team!
With an aawk! and a squawk! twenty months and you walk,
back on the pastoral team!

Petey was therapized, pampered, prepared,
Pronounced cured by professional weasels
Who shortly thereafter were found to have died
From a sorrowful shortage of T-cells.

The cops nearly nabbed him at Cock-à-Two’s Bar
But Petey was just enough quicker
To fly through the window, and home, where he found
He’d been named archdiocesan vicar.


When the parents complained that his ministry style
Included non-standard relations,
The kindly old bishop asked Petey to screen
First his phone calls, and then his vocations.

It didn’t take long for the entering class
To grow from near thirty to—zero.
Now Petey’s a bishop himself, don’t you know,
And described as “The NCR’s hero.”

Paul Mankowski, ‌The Ballad of Petey the Parrot (2006), via Jerry J. Pokorsky

Explain this if you can

I did not recall this anecdote from Iain McGilchrist, and the full context is the whole book:

At a Benedictine monastery in the South of France, chanting was curtailed in the mid-1960s as part of the modernisation efforts associated with the Second Vatican Council. The results could not have been more disastrous. The monks had been able to thrive on only about four hours sleep per night, provided they were allowed to chant. Now they found themselves listless and exhausted, easily irritated, and susceptible to disease. Several doctors were called in, but none was able to alleviate the distress of the monastic community. Relief came finally, but only when Alfred Tomatis convinced the abbot to reinstate chanting.

Iain McGilchrist, The Master and His Emissary

East versus West

According to Bernard of Clairvaux,

Christ became human because “he wanted to recapture the affections of carnal men who were unable to love in any other way, by first drawing them to the salutary love of his own humanity, and then gradually to raise them to a spiritual love.” This is a fascinating statement. According to it the Incarnation is not about God’s assimilation of humanity to His divinity, resulting in the prospect of man’s deification. It is about creating the basis for man’s emotional relationship to God. The fourth-century Athanasius had stated that God became man so that man might become God. It seems that for Bernard, God became man so that man might sympathize with God.

Fr. John Strickland, The Age of Division

Is there room in Scotland for Kate Forbes?

Lent began this week with a rehearsal for a crucifixion. On Tuesday, SNP leader hopeful and devout Presbyterian Kate Forbes was faced with something she must have known was coming: a challenge from journalists about her views on gay marriage, womanhood, and children being born out of wedlock. She did not flinch from spelling out what she thought. By Ash Wednesday, several of her backers within the SNP had publicly recanted, running scared from the ensuing furore, and Forbes was said to be taking “a break from media commitments”.

… Perhaps unaccustomed to the sight of a principled act of conscience from a Scottish politician, our modern-day Pharisees — otherwise known as newspaper columnists — swung into action to make sure it would not happen again.

As is their wont, several commentators pretended to be taking the room’s temperature while actually turning up the thermostat. …

[W]hat we have here is a clash of two religions. One of them is full of sanctimonious, swivel-eyed moral scolds, rooting out heresy and trying to indoctrinate everybody into their fantastic way of thinking. The other is a branch of Calvinism ….

Kathleen Stock, The crucifixion of Kate Forbes

He opponents may not be able truly to refute her, but they’re higher in the pecking order, and they buy their ink by the barrel, so they can cancel her.

Tradition is a bulwark against the power of commerce and the dissolving acid of money, and by removing these, all revolutions in the modern period have ended up accelerating the commercial and technological shift towards the Machine.

Paul Kingsnorth

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.

Friday, 2/24/23

It’s our purported son’s 47th birthday. I say “purported” because we clearly are not old enough to have a 47-year-old.

On the other hand, my late cousin Dutch and his wife were grandparents at 35. Hmmm.


Journalism and informational overload

Asymmetrical ideological inconveniences

For all their anxiety about media gatekeeping, you’re more likely to find news that’s inconvenient for the left in the New York Times than news that’s inconvenient for the right on a conservative website. People who earn a living complaining about collusion between Democrats and liberal journalists had no issue with Trump treating one Fox News host as his “shadow chief of staff” and patching in another via speaker phone to weigh in during Oval Office meetings. The Venn diagram of populist outlets that screech endlessly about media corruption and populist outlets being sued for defamation for lying about the 2020 election is basically a circle.

Nick Cattogio

Bombarded by “Datapoints”

  • The sum of our daily bombardment with information is to overwhelm and deplete our cognitive resources.
  • [F]rom someone’s perspective, we are all conspiracy theorizers now. We are all in the position of holding beliefs, however sure we may be of them, that some non-trivial portion of the population considers not just mistaken but preposterous and paranoid … [or] rather than saying that we are all conspiracy theorizers now, I should say that we are all, from someone’s perspective, cult members now.

L.M. Sacasas, The Convivial Society

Vindication is maybe a little too sweet

The indispensable journalist Jesse Singal, who has written a great deal about hasty “transitioning” of adolescents presenting with something like gender dysphoria, faced an alarming challenge: the author of part of the World Professional Association of Transgender Health’s Standard of Care said Singal had misinterpreted what he wrote and had failed to call for confirmation of his interpretation.

Except it turned out that his challenger wasn’t the author. And Singal hadn’t misinterpreted what the real co-authors wrote. And what they wrote is pretty commonsensical. Singal’s defenders rejoiced, perhaps to excess, at his vindication:

Ever since I have started writing about this issue, a subset of genuinely immoral people in academia and media have tried very hard to lie about my writing on this subject and, in some more extreme cases, destroy my reputation with straightforwardly defamatory claims. My work is by no means perfect or above critique, and I’ve made mistakes, but there’s a chasm that’s light years wide between what I’ve written and what a subset of my critics insist on maliciously and performatively pretending I’ve written.

Could anything better symbolize this than an academic popping up to wrongly accuse me of misrepresenting his work, and of not reaching out to him beforehand, only for it to turn out that he didn’t even write the thing he claimed to have written? Over and over, I tweeted at the people who had jumped on the bandwagon against me, demanding deletions and apologies (my batting average wasn’t great on the apologies front). It was not a good use of my time, and of course my lack of grace here certainly didn’t improve the overall Twitter climate on this issue (and so many others): the debate over youth gender medicine really is treated like a team spectator sport rather than a matter requiring humility, nuance, and compassion. My “enemies” were thrilled that I had been humiliated, and they performed the online equivalent of beating up a me-shaped piñata, and then my “allies” were thrilled at the dramatic turnabout and gave Edmiston the same treatment.

I’m certainly not saying that my actions and his were equivalent; he was the aggressor, he publicly launched a false accusation at me, and he badly misrepresented his role working on the WPATH SoC. Rather, I am saying that the hysterical pitch of Twitter exacerbates everything, and that I threw fuel on the fire because I was so tired of years of defamatory bullshit and had finally achieved the sort of nigh-indisputable, 120-decibel vindication I’d often longed for during these profoundly asinine blowups.

It’s quite a tale if you’re interested.


The most effective way to sap distraction of its power is just to stop expecting things to be otherwise—to accept that this unpleasantness is simply what it feels like for finite humans to commit ourselves to the kinds of demanding and valuable tasks that force us to confront our limited control over how our lives unfold.

Oliver Burkeman, Four Thousand Weeks

Down the Straussian Rabbit Hole – by Damon Linker

It’s become quite common among readers of Strauss to recognize that his mature writings (from roughly the early 1940s on) contain two teachings: a morally edifying surface message for public consumption and another, deeper, more subversive teaching fit only for his most careful and discerning readers. This is how Strauss claimed the greatest works in the history of political philosophy from the ancient Greeks on down to the late 19<sup>th</sup> century were written, and it’s now widely assumed the often-elliptical formulations and unresolved paradoxes in his own books and essays point to the same strategy in his own work.

The challenge, as always, is deciphering the hidden, or “esoteric,” teaching and separating it out from the surface, or “exoteric,” message.

Smith, following Canadian author Shadia Drury and others, including Alamariu, suggests that Strauss’ esoteric teaching is, in most respects, indistinguishable from Nietzsche’s: radically inegalitarian, contemptuous toward democracy, thoroughly anti-Christian, and favoring a strict aristocratic hierarchy with Great Philosophers who break violently and gleefully from the restraints of ordinary morality, patriotism, and piety at the tippy-top.

Damon Linker, Down the Straussian Rabbit Hole


The results are in, and there’s no evidence that mask mandates, alone or in combination with other preventive measures, made any difference in Covid transmission. But the CDC is unbowed:

When people say they “trust the science,” what they presumably mean is that science is rational, empirical, rigorous, receptive to new information, sensitive to competing concerns and risks. Also: humble, transparent, open to criticism, honest about what it doesn’t know, willing to admit error.

The C.D.C.’s increasingly mindless adherence to its masking guidance is none of those things. It isn’t merely undermining the trust it requires to operate as an effective public institution. It is turning itself into an unwitting accomplice to the genuine enemies of reason and science — conspiracy theorists and quack-cure peddlers — by so badly representing the values and practices that science is supposed to exemplify.

There were people who “knew” masks were useless before evidence warranted their certainty, and we should not hold them up as prophets now. I, for one, went along with the CDC, but fully aware at the time that (a) they were motivated by the demand that “somebody do something!” and (b) there were some reasons (mask filtration data, size of the virus, etc.) to think they were scripting mere hygiene theater.

I sing in one small choir that continues to rehearse and sing masked — for the supposed benefit of the immunocompromised spouse of one singer. Part of me wanted to trumpet these results and demand an end to our masking; part of me wants to just quietly quit the choir at the end of this season; part of me … well, it’s a long story and I don’t want to hold the group up for derision. Moreover, there’s this important qualification:

[T]he analysis does not prove that proper masks, properly worn, had no benefit at an individual level. People may have good personal reasons to wear masks, and they may have the discipline to wear them consistently.


(Source: Bret Stephens, who’s discussing a survey by “Cochrane, a British nonprofit that is widely considered the gold standard for its reviews of health care data.”)

It’s Nellie Bowles Day!

It’s Friday (as I write), which means that Nellie Bowles has brought forth another TGIF collection

  • Pfizer is dropping a fellowship that wasn’t open to white or Asian applicants, after civil rights lawyers reminded them that’s super illegal.
  • NPR cutting 10 percent of its staff: The public radio station—that is, in part, taxpayer funded—is losing money and needs to cut staff. I can’t point to an institution that has more fully failed its mission than NPR, which went from fulfilling a genuine public service with news and great stories (I’m thinking of early This American Life) to just another hyper-partisan maker of mush. Tote bags and mush.

And a longer one:

University DEI admins come up with their perfect replacement: Vanderbilt University’s office of diversity issued a statement consoling students about a recent mass shooting at Michigan State. But apparently they are so very busy that they used AI to write it.

Let me back up: last week, 43-year-old Anthony Dwayne McRae—who had previously pleaded down a felony charge that would have prevented him from possessing a gun—slaughtered three students, seemingly at random, on Michigan State’s campus.

In response, Vanderbilt’s equity workers released a touching statement about how everyone needs to be kind and inclusive to, I guess, prevent mass shootings by nearby career criminals: “Another important aspect of creating an inclusive environment is to promote a culture of respect and understanding.” And: “[L]et us come together as a community to reaffirm our commitment to caring for one another and promoting a culture of inclusivity on our campus.” And: “Finally, we must recognize that creating a safe and inclusive environment is an ongoing process that requires ongoing effort and commitment.” It’s the same nonsensical but warm sentiment said over and over—inclusive (7 times), community (5 times), safe (3)—and it kinda worked!

Except at the bottom of the statement was this sentence: Paraphrase from OpenAI’s ChatGPT AI language model, personal communication, February 15, 2023.

People were upset. The university apologized. And yes, you could ask what exactly these bureaucrats are doing all day. But their laziness might also be their genius: replace all university bureaucrats with ChatGPT. Like the discovery of penicillin, sometimes accidents make genius.

The saddest part may be that if Vanderbilt Administrators hadn’t slipped up and included the footer, nobody would have suspected that this wasn’t just more bureaucratic pabulum.

Odd empowerment

Not only is the statue not fully human, it is not an attempt to depict a real woman, with the exception of having a collar as a tribute to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Not one historical woman was judged worthy of receiving the honor by [artist Shahzia] Sikander.

The statue has some resemblance to women in its figure, but it is then changed and warped into something nonhuman and nonfemale. Its hair forms horns and the arms become tentacles. The face is void and harsh. The statue clearly plays on Early Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus in which the deity rises from a clamshell, but whereas Venus is the epitome of the feminine form, this one is deliberately smoothed over. It is a depiction of a neutered woman, a woman who must lose and transcend her femininity in order to be empowered.

The statue represents two great deceptions foisted upon women in modern society. To be empowered, women must intentionally diminish their femininity and to succeed in life necessitates delaying motherhood and, if necessary, sacrificing one’s own child. Far from empowering, this message treats femininity as inherently lesser than masculinity; it then is a worldview that can never affirm women as women.

Sarah Stewart, Value and True Femininity


Free-speech defences of porn treat ‘individual choice’ as a static matter than can be controlled by the principle of avoiding harm. The Second Law of Pornodynamics argues that the inexorable consequence of normalising porn will be systemic harm, and as such all porn should be brutally repressed.

[T]he sequel to “Porn will always exist” tends to be “and so we should normalise, regulate and contain it”, with the unspoken subtext “… and make money out of it without being socially ostracised.”

Mary Harrington, The Three Laws of Pornodynamics. Don’t overlook “and make money out of it.”

I don’t write much about pornography because, thank God, I rarely think about the harder-core versions (i.e., excluding the soft-core porn that is much of prime-time and "reputable" streaming videos today). I have it on good authority, though, that it’s pandemic, not excluding "good" kids.

Blasphemy, old and new

[I]t’s not possible to have a functioning society without restrictions on speech and actions that violate that society’s sacred values. For without some sacred values, you don’t have a society, just chaos and conflict. This is still understood by those Muslim believers who react with anger (and sometimes worse) when nonbelievers insult the Prophet.

[I]f something looks a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. And when a movement with an instantly recognisable symbol, a distinctive metaphysics (identity precedes biology, all desire must be celebrated) and a calendar of feast days celebrated by governments, corporations, universities and public bodies acquires the ability to punish those who deface its symbols, the only possible thing you can call it is an emerging faith – one with a tightening grip on institutional power across the West.

Of course it remains to be seen whether this faith will prevail, or be replaced by something still newer and stranger. The point is: forget the marketplace of ideas. Forget the secular interregnum. It’s over: even if you personally are still among the number mumbling about civil debate and tolerance, you’re surrounded by a growing array of factions who don’t play by those rules.

Mary Harrington, Blasphemy is dead. Long live blasphemy.

The stars must have aligned

I have no idea what this means, but on Friday Peggy Noonan and David French both published admiring articles about Jimmy Carter’s 1979 “Malaise Speech.”

You’re welcome.


Northerners go to Florida to find happiness and after about thirty-six hours they realize that climate does not solve their problems: even though it’s 75 degrees, they still are themselves and that’s their problem. They feel isolated, their life is purposeless, they believe stuff they know is not true.

Garrison Keillor


There he goes again

Chuck Schumer once again is backing more extreme Republican primary candidates who he thinks will be easy enough to beat in the general election:

I’m not immune to the pushback that it’s the voters’ faults. Sure. Kind of. If the ads said, “This person is a lunatic and is being backed by the Democrats because that’s how sure they are that he can’t win a general,” I’d be totally on board. If the ads just said, “This person has repeatedly said the 2020 election was stolen,” I’d be pretty close. But that’s not what they say!

“Janel Brandtjen is as conservative as they come,” reads a postcard sent to Republican voters from the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, which calls her “a conservative pro-Trump Republican.”

The TV ads being run by the presumptive Democratic nominee note that their preferred Republican won an award for being “pro-life legislator of the year” from a state organization.

A candidate who otherwise would have very little funding and low name recognition is suddenly up on television and in every voter’s mailbox as the “conservative pro-Trump Republican.”

I don’t think it’s entirely fair to “blame voters” at that point ….

Sarah Isgur, The Sweep

Kamala Harris is going nowhere

Speaking of the 25th Amendment, there is a part of it with which many Americans are not familiar: If Biden wants to nominate a new secretary of state or a Supreme Court justice, this requires the approval of the Senate—but if the president wishes to choose a new vice president, this requires the approval of both the Senate and the House of Representatives, which currently is under Republican control. There are many Democrats who wish to be rid of Vice President Kamala Harris, whom they have rightly judged to be a political liability with no likely political future of her own, but the only way Biden is getting rid of Harris is by dumping her from the ticket and getting reelected in 2024. It is very difficult to imagine House Republicans voting to approve any new vice president Biden might conceivably choose. Mitch McConnell took a lot of heat for running out the clock on Merrick Garland but, far from paying a political price for this, he harvested a bumper crop of political benefits. Kevin McCarthy, who serves at the mercy of a dozen or so howling moonbats, would have no incentive at all to help Biden replace Harris—and with the vice presidency vacant, McCarthy would be second in line to the presidency with only the oldest-ever incumbent between him and the Oval Office. That’s a storyline more appropriate to a political thriller, but it is something to keep in mind if your current Kremlinology tells you Harris is going anywhere.

Biden is stuck with Harris, and Democrats—and the country—are, it seems, stuck with the both of them, however doddering the man in charge of the executive branch of the federal government may be. It is tempting to write that with only a little sensible political calculation, Republicans could put themselves in an unbeatable situation. But if you think the coming election is foolproof, then you don’t know the fools in question.

Kevin D. Williamson

Marjorie Taylor Greene’s ejaculation

On Marjorie Taylor Greene’s ejaculation about a Red State/Blue State “divorce”:

Neither political tribe finds much satisfaction in the United States as it actually is and in Americans as they actually are. That is because the United States of America is a real place full of real people rather than an exercise in ideological (more genuinely tribal) wish-fulfillment.

Kevin D. Williamson

As befits Kevin D. Williamson, there’s much more to his column than that bit.


[Ted] Cruz and [Josh] Hawley know that what Trump was trying to do was unconstitutional and would, if successful, gut the Constitution and perhaps even democracy. They simply lacked the courage to tell the snowflakes what they don’t want to hear, so instead they lent aid and comfort to the atrocity this week.

Jonah Goldberg, January 8, 2021.



Home may be where the heart is but it’s no place to spend Wednesday afternoon.

Walker Percy, Lost in the Cosmos

Rhodes Scholars

… Pete Buttigieg, the man who is proving single-handedly that Rhodes Scholars are overhyped.

Nellie Bowles

And if you eat the yellow snow?

[W]hen you sit down on ice, you get polaroids.

Garrison Keillor

Tradition is a bulwark against the power of commerce and the dissolving acid of money, and by removing these, all revolutions in the modern period have ended up accelerating the commercial and technological shift towards the Machine.

Paul Kingsnorth

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.

Tuesday 2/21/23


Last October, I began wearing a continuous glucose monitor (CGM).

My diabetes has never been bad. I’ve never needed insulin. The Family Practitioner who started me on Piaglitazone and Metformin never even uttered the word “diabetes.” He said “I’m going to put you on some meds to control your blood sugar, which is a bit too high.” Soon he dropped the Piaglitazone.

Since my Doc was sort of proactive, I suspect that I never actually made it past “pre-diabetes,” which I think is pretty much the same as “metabolic syndrome.” I’ve known I had metabolic syndrome/pre-diabetes for more than 30 years. And while my doctors (past and present) seemed to consider my A1C of 6.2 pretty good, I looked at it, and at the scale, and eventually said “maybe I put weight on so easily because of what high blood sugar does,” and began thinking that CGM technology might help me control that.

That thought became a reality shortly thereafter when I learned of Levels Health. Through them, I got a Dexcom G6 CGM. This is my personal, subjective report.

First, using a CGM requires some acclimation. Levels didn’t mention that CGM sensors only last about 10 days, and each one measures serum glucose differently. I had to figure that out by looking at the Dexcom app and puzzling over the blank next to “last calibration date.” Yes, you do need to calibrate your CGM sensor unless you want merely to get an idea of the direction your serum glucose is moving twelve times an hour.

Thus, second, the ads for Dexcom that say “no more finger pricks” are exaggerating. You need finger pricks in order to calibrate the new CGM sensor. In my experience, I really need two finger-pricks per sensor: one when glucose is low, another when it’s high. I only calibrated my current sensor at low glucose, and I’m all but positive that it’s exaggerating the rise caused by benign meals that have not been a problem before. Still, two finger-pricks in ten days is much better than what some diabetics experience.

Third, there’s only one good place on my arms to wear a CGM, and if I sleep on that arm with a CGM, it’s apt to disrupt the sensor’s operation. What that means is that my phone is likely to erupt in the dead of night with shrill false alarms (overriding the “off” switch on the phone) of dangerously low blood sugar. Were I frankly diabetic, especially Type I, that no-opt-out alarm might save my life, but for me it’s a definite bug, not a feature.

Fourth, in my experience, the area where I habitually insert the CGM sensor becomes sensitive, giving off stinging sensations and other unpleasant sensations at times.

Fifth, my CGM sensors have intermittent outages where they cease communicating with the app. For that reason, I hesitate to push my luck by swimming or sinking into a hot bathtub, even though that’s supposed to be okay for up to 20 minutes. My hygiene grade is down a bit.

Sixth, it really is interesting, after 30+ years of metabolic syndrome, to watch in more objective terms how a single meal can send my glucose soaring, with all that implies.

Seventh, it worked. I dropped my A1C from 6.2 to 5.7 in four months. I lost a modest amount of weight. Then my new doctor (the old one, younger than me, retired) monkey-wrenched things by saying that he didn’t like diabetics to have A1C that low, for fear of their blood sugar dropping dangerously low. (The likelihood of me ever observing a diet so strictly that I drive my blood sugar too low seems vanishingly low.) I also broke through a weight-loss plateau, though total weight loss with CGM remains modest.

Eighth (and here I pivot), it turns out that controlling serum glucose, for me at least, means eating a low-carbohydrate diet. I know how to do that without a monitor.

Finally, there’s something about CGM that feels to me like biohacking, like quantifying things that really require only generality, like being a control freak. And biohacking seems adjacent to transhumanism, with which I want nothing whatever to do.

So I have told Levels not to ship my next CGM order. I plan to continue a low-carb diet. I plan to do occasional pin-pricks before and after planned binges. If you are pre-diabetic or put weight on too easily, I would recommend giving a look at Levels Health and CGM for a while to get in touch with your very own metabolism.

I haven’t even ruled out returning to CGM during my year-long Levels Health membership. But in a few weeks, I’m done with CGM to give me “metrics” (beyond my weight) on the effects of low-carb eating.


Thought fodder

One historical analogy does seem salient to me, though: the drugs [gender clinics] now give to gender-dysphoric teens are very closely related to the drugs they used to “cure” Alan Turing of his gayness. Every time I think of that I shudder.

Andrew Sullivan

Fox civil war

Fox news is supposed to be separate from Fox opinion, and the few times I’ve watched the former, that seems broadly true. But that doesn’t mean that there’s perfect mutual understanding and harmony:

  • On Nov. 9, 2020, host Neil Cavuto cut away from White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany as she made unsubstantiated claims of a stolen election. “Unless she has more details to back that up, I can’t in good countenance continue to show you this,” Cavuto said on the air. For this, Fox News Senior VP (and former Trump White House press aide) Raj Shah labeled Cavuto a “brand threat” in a message to top corporate brass.
  • Hannity and Carlson tried to get Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich fired for fact-checking a Trump tweet about Dominion and noting that there was no evidence of votes being destroyed. “Please get her fired. Seriously… What the fuck?” Carlson texted Ingraham and Hannity on Nov. 12, 2020. “It’s measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not a joke.” Hannity exploded on top execs, including one who panicked and wrote that Heinrich “has serious nerve doing this and if this gets picked up, viewers are going to be further disgusted” with Fox
  • On Nov. 19, 2020, after Fox broadcasted the now-infamous Giuliani and Powell press conference about Dominion, then-White House correspondent Kristen Fisher got in trouble for fact-checking their bogus claims. Per the filing, “Fisher received a call from her boss, Bryan Boughton, immediately after in which he emphasized that higher-ups at Fox News were also unhappy with it, and that Fisher needed to do a better job of, this is a quote, respecting our audience.”

Nick Cattogio, Fox News Hates Its Viewers

White race hucksters — it’s all about the incentives

if you want a job in DEI – especially an enviable senior position like [Rachel Elizabeth] Seidel [a/k/a Raquel Evita Saraswati] enjoys – being a person of color is explicitly an advantage, as those job listings pretty much universally list coming from a minority background as an advantage in the hiring process. If you create an advantage, people are going to pursue that advantage. Whether or not such a pursuit is ethical is not really relevant to the basic question of incentives and behavior. But like so much else in our contemporary racial conversation, there’s an element of unreality here, as every new Dolezal results in a round of shaking heads and “why would somebody do this?” But it’s obvious why they’re doing it. Progressives created the incentives that are provoking the behavior! This is the world we’ve made.

But the incentives are still unmentionable. As I wrote a couple years ago, we’re in this permanently unsettled position regarding efforts to diversify institutions: all right-thinking people are meant to support such efforts, but if you speak directly about the impact of those efforts – if you acknowledge that programs intended to benefit some minorities in a selection process result in some minorities benefitting in that selection process – then that’s an impermissible microaggression that suggests minorities aren’t deserving. I invite you to go into certain circles of Twitter and say “a lot of Black students get into Ivy League schools because of affirmative action.” You’d be pilloried. But the people pillorying you would all be supporters of affirmative action programs… which exist to get more Black students into Ivy League schools. You must support the intent of the programs but deny their effects. You need to advocate for affirmative action that helps Black and Hispanic students get into elite colleges; you are never to say that some Black and Hispanic students got into college because of affirmative action. But the latter statement forbids expressing precisely the condition endorsed by the former. It’s all deeply bizarre and a product of our permanently-enflamed racial discourse.

Freddie deBoer, We’ll Get Dolezals Until the Incentives Change

But Freddie states the other side, too:

With both the Dolezal phenomenon and affirmative action, we’re laboring under an inability to frankly reflect on racial progress and benefits that accrue to being a people of color. The reasons for this are eminently understandable; there’s a fear of taking the focus off of all the work we still have to do to achieve racial equality, and of seeming to suggest that the benefits for people of color I’m talking about are of anything like the same scale or intensity as the challenges they face. They aren’t, of course. But if part of our duty as people opposed to racism is to create social structures that address inequality, some of those structures are going to result in benefits to people of color that could potentially be exploited. The only other alternative is the kind of racial fatalism that’s admittedly quite popular, the belief that we can never create any benefits for people of color at all.


More recent Freddie:

Facebook makes me feel the way I feel when I’m in a hospital.


High admiration for the speech I despised

It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.

At those words, spoken by George W. Bush on January 20, 2005 (and penned by the late Michael Gerson), I repudiated my notional membership in the Republican Party. (I call it “notional” because Indiana doesn’t register voters by party, and while I consistently voted Republican primary ballots, I was never a party activist, precinct chairman or such.) I probably also uttered some sort of epithet and commented that Dubya had just declared perpetual war.

I wasn’t wrong, and I don’t regret my independence. But maybe I should have listened attentively to the rest of that second inaugural address:

I remember being startled the moment I heard the words. My ears flinched. I wasn’t sure if I had heard what I thought I had heard. I looked around at the bundled-up men and women shivering on the Mall with me to see if they had heard the same thing I had. They were politely clapping their mittened hands. I thought I caught an undercurrent of murmuring, as if they didn’t know what to make of it.

Some critics called it “messianic” and “extraordinarily ambitious,” and accused Bush of announcing a “crusade.” The conservative columnist and former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan said the speech “left me with a bad feeling, and reluctant dislike,” because it had “no moral modesty,” no “nuance.” The goal of ending tyranny was “somewhere between dreamy and disturbing,” a case of “mission inebriation.” “This world is not heaven,” she chided. 

But, as Gerson later noted, “in the speech, this goal is immediately and carefully qualified.” Bush noted that ending tyranny “is not primarily the task of arms,” that “freedom, by its nature, must be chosen,” and that “when the soul of a nation finally speaks, the institutions that arise may reflect customs and traditions very different from our own.” It was “the concentrated work of generations,” and “America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling.” Noonan was wrong: Bush was remarkably and explicitly humble and realistic in describing the goal of ending tyranny, which elevated his vision further. 

This was no utopian or imperial mission to conquer the world in the name of saving it. It was a statement of principle, sketching an orienting framework within which to understand who we are and what we stand for. Bush was pointing to a polestar, a single fixed point to help guide the ship of state through the storms and winds that would always come.

The problem with the speech’s legacy is not the presence of moral ambition, which is necessary, but that we failed to take note of the rest of the speech, after the declared goal of ending tyranny. We forget the humility and realism, and we forget that Bush went on to speak of the importance of character, integrity, and family; of community, religion, and service to others with “mercy, and a heart for the weak.” He called on Americans to embrace love for their neighbors and to “abandon all the habits of racism.” Ambition without character does indeed lead to arrogance, moral compromise, and failure, Bush seemed to be saying, even as he warned that character without ambition is too passive in the face of evil.

Paul D. Miller

Bruni on DeSantis

So now Ron DeSantis is wishy-washy. A bit of a wimp. Or at least runs the risk of looking like one.

That’s a fresh sentiment discernible in some recent assessments, as political analysts and journalists marvel at, chew over and second-guess his failure to return Donald Trump’s increasingly ugly jabs.

I wish I agreed. I’m no DeSantis fan. But where those critics spot possible weakness, I see proven discipline. Brawling with Trump doesn’t flex DeSantis’s muscle. It shows he can be baited. And it just covers them both in mud.

Frank Bruni

Supreme Court shortlist

Perry Bacon Jr. said the quiet part out loud in his Washington Post column, titled There is only one way to rein in Republican judges: Shaming them.

So at least in the short term, there is only one real option to rein in America’s overly conservative judiciary: shame.

Democratic politicians, left-leaning activist groups, newspaper editorial boards and other influential people and institutions need to start relentlessly blasting Republican-appointed judges. A sustained campaign of condemnation isn’t going to push these judges to write liberal opinions, but it could chasten them toward more moderate ones.

Bacon names and shames federal judges who halted the student loan cancellation policy (Erickson, Grasz, Pittman, and Shepherd), judges in the CFPB funding case (Engelhardt, Willett, and Wilson), and judges in a recent Second Amendment case involving domestic violence restraining orders (Wilson, Ho, and Jones). We should thank Bacon for helping to assemble the next Supreme Court shortlist.

Josh Blackman

Be it remembered …

Trump’s lying began with the crowd size of the 2017 inaugural and ended with his denial of the 2020 election results. In between these two events, it was, indeed, literally, morning, noon, and night—without ceasing.

Live Not by Lies From Neither the Left Nor Right

Tradition is a bulwark against the power of commerce and the dissolving acid of money, and by removing these, all revolutions in the modern period have ended up accelerating the commercial and technological shift towards the Machine.

Paul Kingsnorth

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.

Sunday of the Last Judgment

Full Lent is just a week away for us Orthodoxen. And my Bishop will be at my Parish to begin with us!

A long-favorite passage

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:14-19. That this has been a favorite passage for more than 50 years may explain why, after 30 years, I embraced Orthodoxy readily.

Wrong question

Fr Alexander pointed to the adverse results of that confusion:

In my opinion, the Orthodox, when discussing the problems stemming from our present “situations,” accept them much too easily in their Western formulations. They do not seem to realize that the Orthodox Tradition provides above all a possibility, and thus a necessity, of reformulating these very problems, of placing them in a context whose absence or deformation in the Western religious mind may have been the root of so many of our modern “impasses” And as I see it, nowhere is this task more urgently needed than in the range of problems related to secularism and proper to our so-called secular age.

Healing Humanity: Confronting our Moral Crisis

Adam’s sin

Christian readers at least since St. Augustine have tended to see in Adam the archetypal sinner who passes sin on to his physical progeny. This, however, is not the way Adam was seen within the Second Temple period that formed the background for the New Testament texts. Adam was seen rather as the one who brought death to the human race. He is not so much seen as the origin of human sin as the origin of human mortality.

Fr. Stephen DeYoung, Religion of the Apostles

Self-evidently true

At the level of the church, we must abandon practices adopted from the secular marketplace that trivialize our faith, and instead return to traditional church practices that encourage contemplation and awe before a transcendent God.

Alan Noble, Disruptive Witness

I say this is self-evident, but somehow people ignore it or (at best) interpret it differently than I do.

When thinking gets in the way

I’m always struck by the fact that so many of the great saints were completely unlettered. St. Porphyrios is one of my favorite modern saints. He ran away from his parents at the age of twelve, went to Mount Athos, never went to school. He was a great saint because he didn’t ever think about God in that theological way. These people  know the Gospels intimately, they understand the church, but they’re not academics. They’re not sitting around with their big left brains, trying to dissect the faith. It never occurs to them to do that. I think it’s partly because they haven’t gone through fifteen years of Western-style education, which you later have to unlearn. I feel like I’ve spent the last twenty years progressively getting rid of stuff I thought was the way to gain knowledge. I mean, it’s a way to gain certain kinds of knowledge, but if you want to engage with a spiritual path, or with Nature, or with any of the stuff that matters, it gets in the way. I’ve found that repeatedly.

Paul Kingsnorth via Rod Dreher

Remembering Benedict XVI

All that said, I believe that when future historians look back and write about modern Catholicism, Benedict XVI will be remembered less for what he wrote (here I respectfully differ from Cardinal Müller) and more for two acts of ecclesiastical governance that will have consequences for a long time to come.

The first was the 2007 papal directive Summarum Pontificum_,_ which liberalized rules concerning the celebration of the traditional Latin Mass. By this act of administrative fiat, Benedict XVI entrenched the celebration of a rite that had defined Catholicism for centuries before Vatican II. It was a concrete expression of his view that the Second Vatican Council must be interpreted and implemented with a “hermeneutic of continuity.”

The ongoing celebration of an ancient liturgy has no direct logical implications for our interpretation of Vatican II’s teaching on dogmatic topics, nor does it bear upon moral theology. Nevertheless, there is a fundamental truth often repeated by the Church Fathers: Lex orandi, lex credendi—the law of prayer is the law of belief, or more colloquially, as we pray, so we believe …

The present pontiff has issued his own executive order, Traditionis Custodes, which reverses Summarum Pontificum. Pope Francis backs up his new restrictions with the strong language of censure. But this pontificate has failed to curtail celebration of the old rite. The reason is simple: We live in an era that champions permission and ignores prohibition…

No doubt the Bavarian pope, who coined the memorable phrase “dictatorship of relativism,” knew that in the twenty-first century permissions granted cannot easily be rescinded. Benedict granted capacious permission to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass, in all likelihood knowing that once the “yes” gained a foothold, only Herculean efforts by ecclesiastical authorities would eliminate the new freedom. The consequences are wonderful. Benedict’s “liberalization” of rules concerning the Latin Mass has created and will continue to create a barrier to theological, moral, and liturgical programs of discontinuity, which means that liberal Catholic dreams of reinventing the faith to make it more congenial to our present age will not succeed. Benedict XVI was a church politician of greater wile than he let on.

R.R. Reno.

I quote this mostly to plant a seed: Lex orandi, lex credendi. A Church that “worships” with drums, guitars and synthesizers at 90db doesn’t believe the faith of the Orthodox Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom. A Roman Catholic Church that forbids the traditional Latin Mass does not, it seems to me, practice the same faith as a Church that celebrates it.

Tradition is a bulwark against the power of commerce and the dissolving acid of money, and by removing these, all revolutions in the modern period have ended up accelerating the commercial and technological shift towards the Machine.

Paul Kingsnorth

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.

Thursday, 2/16/23


Don’t say we weren’t told

Many sober voices warned that an expansion of NATO to Russia’s border would poke the Bear, leading to an inevitable war. As long ago as 1998, following the U.S. decision to expand NATO eastwards, George Kennan said the following to Thomas Friedman:

“I think it is the beginning of a new cold war. I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else. This expansion would make the founding fathers of this country turn over in their graves.

Patrick Deneen, Russia, America, and the Danger of Political Gnosticism.

Self-critical thinking

Super-smart people, as Haidt notes in The Righteous Mind, are more skilled than others at finding arguments to justify their own points of view. But when they are asked to find arguments on the opposite side of a question, they do no better than anyone else. Brainpower makes people better press secretaries, but not necessarily better at open-minded, self-critical thinking.

Jonathan Rauch, The Constitution of Knowledge

Alarmist medical news feed

There must be an alarmist news feed, because my local TV station’s noon news always clocks in around 12:20 with some new medical study that shows I should give up yet another pleasure.

I offer in response Study Shows You’re Nobody Until Somebody Loves You.

Distraction is deliberate

“Distraction” will become the formal currency that drives the economy because in a nation where people (especially young men) can no longer count on full-time employment, the state will have every incentive to support and defend every hedonistic, narcissistic, distractive behavior in order to keep attention off themselves and their failed policies.

James Howard Kunstler, Living in the Long Emergency

UBI provocation

What Basic Income ultimately proposes is to detach livelihood from work. Its immediate effect would be to massively reduce the amount of bureaucracy in any country that implemented it. As Leslie’s case shows, an enormous amount of the machinery of government, and that half-government corporate NGO penumbra that surrounds it in most wealthy societies, is just there to make poor people feel bad about themselves. It’s an extraordinarily expensive moral game played to prop up a largely useless global work machine.

David Graeber, Bullshit Jobs


(An FBI field-office report lumped some “traditionalist” Catholics with “violent extremists” and called for government investigation:)

The document’s “open source” reporting comes from the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has spent years branding mainstream conservative groups as “hate” organizations and has no credibility outside progressive circles. The FBI gumshoes also point to articles in Salon and The Atlantic, which shows they need to expand their reading lists.

No wonder the FBI retreated once the document was made public. It hastened to say the report didn’t meet its “exacting standards” and was being removed from its system. It also promised the FBI “will never conduct investigative activities or open an investigation based solely on First Amendment protected activity.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray’s problem is that millions of Americans no longer believe this ….

Wall Street Journal

An even bigger problem is that millions of Americans justifiably no longer believe anything the federal government says.

WFYI has ruined WBAA

I just need to say this for the benefit of search engines.

WFYI, public radio Indianapolis, purchased WBAA, Indiana’s oldest radio station and the voice of Purdue, in one of a handful of Mitch Daniels moves that have really pissed me off.

At the time of the purchase, WBAA was a better-run station than WFYI, but I had no idea how terribly-run the buyer would make its new acquisition. Monday morning, I listening (because my wife prompted me) to a news segment that ran unintelligibly at half- or quarter-speed. Broadcasts from WBAA are routinely jumping back and repeating 5-10 seconds or material. As I typed this, they played three things (live stream and two pre-recorded announcements, one of them an inaccurate announcement of the time) simultaneously.

Very sad, though it saves me a $X in annual support.


I want to be a headline-writer when I grow up

I’m cutting back, both by design and lessening interest, on reading about politics. But the headline on an NYT Opinion piece amused me: Nikki Haley Has a Great Future Behind Her.

Top issues of the day

Damon Linker explains why anti-woke isn’t his top voting issue:

Here, meanwhile, are some of the things I consider to be significantly more important than the president and party I vote for coming down against wokeness:

Will the president and party abide by the rule of law, including the peaceful and orderly transfer of power based on the lawful and accurate counting of ballots?

Will the president and party treat mendacity like a virtue, knowingly spreading lies in order to discredit ideological opponents, undermine trust in federal law enforcement, and whip up insurrectionary rage in the hopes of using it to overturn constitutional checks on power?

Will the president and party fight to preserve government programs on which tens of millions of Americans rely? Or will they act, instead, to fulfill the wishes of plutocratic donors who care most of all about cutting their own taxes?

Will the president and party make wise, level-headed decisions in foreign policy? Or will they react on the basis of personal pique and very narrowly defined notions of national interest (and even on the basis of the president’s pursuit of self-enrichment and the party’s desire to score cheap political points)?

If the president and party do make a move against wokeness, will they do so in a way that’s compatible with individual freedom? Or will the goal be achieved by enhancing government power and curtailing various rights, including the freedom of association?

I would add to Linker the reality that the GOP has seized upon “woke” like Christopher Rufo seized upon “critical race theory”, stretching them beyond recognition and crudely weaponizing the stretched misrepresentations.

Chris Christie ain’t afraid of Florida Man

“I’ve known him for 23 years, and so I’m not the least bit afraid of him,” Christie told The Dispatch during an interview last week, while in Washington for meetings with Republican governors. “The presence of Donald Trump [in the primary] still makes a difference to a lot of people. He didn’t do what the normal one-term president does, which is go away in shame because they’ve lost. He has no shame.”

“If I get in, I get in because I want to win,” Christie said. “I’m going to be a truth-teller in this race. I think that the American people are hungry for the truth, and they don’t even know what it is anymore.”

Chris Christie of Donald Trump

Tradition is a bulwark against the power of commerce and the dissolving acid of money, and by removing these, all revolutions in the modern period have ended up accelerating the commercial and technological shift towards the Machine.

Paul Kingsnorth

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.

Just what the world needs?

Everybody is talking these days about the decline of the West, and with good reason. Some people think that Christianity should have something to say about this: that as the faith was the rock on which the West was built, so the faith should rebuild it again, or defend it against its enemies. We need a Muscular Christianity! they insist in the comment sections. Bring on the Christian knights! they shout on YouTube. But I don’t think this is how it works. When the last empire collapsed, the Christians of Europe weren’t trying to build, let alone defend, some construction called “Christendom.” They didn’t plan for the dome of St. Peter’s or the Battle of Lepanto. They were just trying to do the humblest and the only thing: to worship the true God, and to strip away everything that interfered with that worship. They took to the deserts to follow Christ and to battle the Enemy. Their work was theosis. They had crucified themselves as instructed. What emerged as a result, and what it turned into—well, that wasn’t up to them.

In a time when the temptation is always toward culture war rather than inner war, I think we could learn something from our spiritual ancestors. What we might learn is not that the external battle is never necessary; sometimes it very much is. But a battle that is uninformed by inner transformation will soon eat itself, and those around it. Why, after all, were the cave Christians so sought after? Because they were not like other people. Something had been granted to them, something had been earned, in their long retreats from the world. They had touched the hem. After years in the tombs or the caverns or the woods, their very unworldliness became, paradoxically, just what the world needed.

Paul Kingsnorth, A Wild Christianity

The loss of Christendom gives us a joyous opportunity to reclaim the freedom to proclaim the gospel in a way in which we cannot when the main social task of the church is to serve as one among many helpful props for the state.

Stanley Hauerwas, Resident Aliens

Sunday of the Prodigal

Irish Saints are special

My favorite story about [St. Colman Mac duaghis, who lived in a cave as a hermit for seven years] concerns his wild companions. The saint, the legends tell us, somehow befriended a cockerel, a mouse, and a fly, and trained them to help him out. The cockerel’s job was to crow when he needed to get up in the morning to pray. The mouse’s role was to step in if Colman didn’t feel like getting out of bed: It would nibble his ear until he roused himself. As for the fly, Colman trained it to walk along the lines of his Bible in the dim light, so he could follow it as he read. A new stained glass church window in the nearby town of Gort portrays the saint with his three animal companions rather sweetly.

Nothing lasts, of course, especially the life of a fly. It wasn’t long before Colman’s companions died. He confided his sadness in a letter to another Irish saint of the time, Columba. His friend’s brief reply distilled the unworldly essence of desert spirituality: “You were too rich when you had them. That is why you are sad now. Trouble like that only comes where there are riches. Be rich no more.”

Paul Kingsnorth, A Wild Christianity


A new Terry Mattingly article for the Acton Institute, The Evolving Religion of Journalism reminds me to share some wise words from Alan Jacobs:

Wondering how to decide what to read? Here’s a simple but effective heuristic to cut down the choices significantly. Ask yourself one question: Does this writer make bank when we hate one another? And if the answer is yes, don’t read that writer.” Americans have these wildly distorted views of people whom they perceive to be their political enemies because so many journalists and talking heads enrich themselves through stoking hatred. Those people should be utterly shunned.

Avoiding them will do wonders for your blood pressure. More importantly, it’s a pre-condition for healing your soul.

Sometimes the application of the heuristic is awkward: I read Rod Dreher’s “diary” on Substack but stopped reading the bile he’s paid to produce for the American Conservative.

And I pray for him to unite his divided mind.

Clive the Convivial

Clarke and Lewis eventually met, perhaps around 1960, as Francis Spufford has narrated: “Clarke contacted Lewis and they arranged to meet in the Eastgate Tavern, Oxford. Clarke brought Val Cleaver as his second; Lewis brought along J. R. R. Tolkien. They saw the world so differently that even argument was scarcely possible. As Orwell said about something completely different, their beliefs were as impossible to compare as a sausage and a rose. Clarke and Cleaver could not see any darkness in technology, while Lewis and Tolkien could not see the ways in which a new tool genuinely transforms the possibilities of human awareness. For them, machines at very best were a purely instrumental source of pipe tobacco and transport to the Bodleian. So what could they do? They all got pissed. ‘I’m sure you are very wicked people,’ said Lewis cheerfully as he staggered away, ‘but how dull it would be if everyone was good.’ ”

Alan Jacobs, The Year of Our Lord 1943

Dystopians: Orwell < Huxley < Lewis

On the flight over from Budapest, I almost finished Lewis’s novel That Hideous Strength, which is really terrific. I would have done, but the plane landed with two chapters to go. I’ve been saying for a while that the totalitarian dystopia we are living towards is much more like Huxley’s Brave New World than Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, but it’s really and truly like Lewis’s That Hideous Strength. I kept thinking, as I read along, how eerily on the nose Lewis was in 1945, when he published it, about how things are today in our creepy technocratic anti-human society. The technocratic conspiracy that runs the Britain of the novel manages to manipulate the media to manufacture consent and approval by the population, in ways that bring to mind the way the US Government manipulated social media outlets to control the Covid message. On the hopeful side, the brave little band of Christian warriors in That Hideous Strength are humble and frail, but heroic. One wants to be like them, when the time comes. One also wants a kindly bear called Mr. Bultitude.

So I did finish it, in London, and the conclusion was deeply moving, but not just at the emotional level. I felt like I had glimpsed a deeper truth — the kind of truth that moves the world. I won’t spoil it for you, don’t worry. I can say, though, that at the end, the “Director” — a sort of Gandalf figure directing the resistance to nation-destroying evil — explains to his seemingly feeble band of conspirators why despite appearances, the plain work they did vanquished great evil in an apocalyptic spiritual battle.

Rod Dreher

I agree with Rod: Orwell < Huxley < Lewis


What is it that craves? It is your ego—your created sense of a permanent ‘self’—and it craves because it believes that if it can have what it craves it will stop suffering. This is the story of our civilization, and we are discovering the hard way that it doesn’t work.

Paul Kingsnorth, Savage Gods. This was written while Kingsnorth was a Pagan or a Buddhist or something — not yet Orthodox Christian — but he wasn’t wrong.

Our barbarism and superstition

Sometimes it is difficult to exaggerate how strange, barbaric, and superstitious an age ours really is.

David Bentley Hart, Therapeutic Superstition.

I don’t much care for Hart these days, but I much enjoyed the essay he concludes thus.

Don’t think about this

Tradition is a bulwark against the power of commerce and the dissolving acid of money, and by removing these, all revolutions in the modern period have ended up accelerating the commercial and technological shift towards the Machine.

Paul Kingsnorth

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.

Friday, 2/10/23


Malodorous and malarial overtones

” How has it come about,” C. S. Lewis once asked, “that we use the highly emotive word ‘stagnation,’ with all its malodorous and malarial overtones, for what other ages would have called ‘permanence’?” It is, Lewis suggests, because the dominance of the machine in our culture altered our imagination. It gave us a “new archetypal image.”

Ken Myers, All God’s Children and Blue Suede Shoes

Enabling the trans social contagion

There’s a reckoning coming for this — or so I hope. The alternative to a reckoning is people like assistant secretary for health Dr. Rachel Levine continuing to lie and cover up this scandal, and getting away with it.

Before I published, there were signs of a reckoning coming, from Senator Josh (“I used to be a conservative till I discovered the joy of demagoguery”) Hawley and the Missouri Attorney General.

Hold off on the funeral plans

Red states like Florida and Texas are growing at the expense of Blue states like New York and California. The main driver is said to be housing costs.

But beware jumping to a triumphalist conclusion, Red-staters:

Blue states aren’t doomed or dying. At any rate, high housing costs generally reflect very high demand from lots of people to live in a particular area; New York City isn’t some dystopian wasteland where no one can see their future. But even relatively small changes (minorities of workers working from home or moving away) can still lead to acute crises for cities ….

Jerusalem Demsas, How Florida Beat New York

The telltale need for affirmation

Stalinism made courage in thought especially dangerous, but the pressure to align one’s opinions with those of a favored group is universal. Solzhenitsyn detected this pressure even before the Revolution. Vorotyntsev, the hero of his novel November 1916, finds himself at a meeting of Kadets (the Russian liberal party). He listens as everyone voices the proper views they all already hold. He is struck that their confidence needs constant reinforcement and that those with progressive opinions regard it as “imperative . . . to meet and hear all over again what they collectively knew. They were all overpoweringly certain they were right, yet they needed these exchanges to reinforce their certainty.” An experienced colonel, Vorotyntsev knows that their opinions about common soldiers are absurd, but for a reason he cannot explain, he finds himself expressing agreement.

Gary Saul Morson


Age six, I once ruined Pass the Parcel at a schoolfriend’s birthday party, because I was distracted by a headline on a layer of discarded newspaper. MIND BOMBED BY THE MOONIES. I remember being intensely annoyed when it was taken off me before I could find out what that meant, and confused as to why all the adults thought my outrage was funny. It marked me out as one of those oddballs generally more interested in ideas than in who and what is immediately present. That trait has persisted: my mad professor streak is trying to friends and family, to this day.

Mary Harrington, Are effective altruists more horny?.

I watched Harrington in a YouTube dialog, and her physical mannerisms were completely consistent with the “oddball” she describes.

They also reminded me of me.

IDW Alums

Interesting podcast about the Intellectual Dark Web (you remember that, don’t you?). It seems that if you put like-minded extremists in a room and close the door for a while (literally or by lumping them under a label like “IDW”), they emerge more extreme.

Still, I’m puzzled that so many of the IDW figures started on the Left but the whole thing now (apparently) codes Right.


Now is not the time to discuss this is not an argument — it’s a derailing tactic.

Jesse Singal, The New, Highly Touted Study On Hormones For Transgender Teens Doesn’t Really Tell Us Much Of Anything



You can say Mr. Biden fibbed, misled and exaggerated, and you wouldn’t be wrong, but in rope-a-doping Republicans on Medicare and Social Security he showed real mastery. “Some Republicans—some Republicans—want Medicare and Social Security to sunset. I’m not saying it’s the majority.” When they catcalled and booed he said he was glad to see it—“I enjoy conversion.”

I don’t care how planned that line was, it was good.

“So folks, as we all apparently agree, Social Security and Medicare is off the books now, right?” He meant off the table. “All right. We’ve got unanimity.”

The Republicans, as we all know, made a mistake in taking his bait. They should have laughed. Instead, when he painted them as dogs they barked and snarled. Much has been made of Marjorie Taylor Greene and her grimacing and jeering. In her flamboyant fur-collared jacket she was compared, on social media, with Cruella de Vil and late-stage Sharon Stone in “Casino.” That was unkind. She seemed to me more like the colorful Belle Watling, although without the kindness and dignity.

Peggy Noonan


“I thought [Sarah Huckabee Sanders’] speech was terrible. If you’re going to give a counter speech, you’ve got to talk about important issues. Don’t get me wrong, the wokeism is very important. But it’s not quite the heart of the matter right now, right? It’s not the heart of the matter. Let’s be blunt,” – Steve Bannon, via Andrew Sullivan.


Biden was triangulating hard. Stylistically, this was not-Trump at all. Substantively, it was Trump all the way. If Trump were not mentally ill, he’d sit back and bask in his legacy of reorienting US politics — including the Democrats — toward all the themes he stressed from 2015 on. He’d be happy to go down in history as populism’s bipartisan legitimizer. (But of course he’s out of his mind.)

Andrew Sullivan, William Jefferson Biden

An extremely sensible proposal

Kevin D. Williamson:

My own belief is that the senior figures in the Trump administration—Donald Trump himself, Mike Pence, the various Cabinet secretaries and agency chiefs, etc.—should never again hold any position of public trust—or, if not never again, at least not in the foreseeable future … The same is true for those in Congress who voted against certifying the 2020 election results and those who were otherwise involved with the attempted coup d’etat of 2020-2021. Trumpworld lawyers such as John Eastman, Rudy Giuliani, and Cleta Mitchell should be disbarred.

I do not think that any of this should be done in a spirit of vengeance, nor do I believe that we should work to socially ostracize these people or go out of our way to ruin them financially, though, of course, their employment prospects would be narrowed in some cases. Rather, I think that we should think of them the way Marcus Aurelius thought about his hypothetical sparring partner: We have had a bad experience with them, and we should take such steps as are necessary to avoid repeating that experience. Once is enough. 

Put another way: The point of keeping Trump administration veterans out of positions of public trust is not to punish them—it is to keep them out of positions of public trust.

I am not saying that Nikki Haley and other veterans of the Trump administration are necessarily villains or dishonorable people or anything like that. I am saying that they are an avoidable risk—and we should avoid them.

I shall do my part.

Russia, Ukraine, U.S.

Beyond a certain point, the United States is no longer “helping” or “advising” or “supplying” the Ukrainians, the way it did, say, the Afghan mujahedeen during the Cold War. It is replacing Ukraine as Russia’s main battlefield adversary. It is hard to say when that point will be reached or whether it has been already. With whom is Russia at war — Ukraine or the United States? Russia started the war between Russia and Ukraine. Who started the war between Russia and the United States?

In an age of smart devices, robotics and remote control, the United States’ involvement in the war has always been greater than it appeared. The computer-guided rocket artillery that Ukraine has received from the United States may seem analogous to the horses and rifles that a government might have sent to back an insurgency in the old days. They look at first like traditional weapons, albeit advanced ones.

But there is an important difference. Most of the new weapons’ destructive power comes from their being bound into an American information network, a package of services that keeps working independently of the warrior and will not be fully shared with the warrior. So the United States is participating in these military operations at the moment they happen. It is fighting.

Russians say the war is about preventing the installation of an enemy military stronghold on the Black Sea, strong enough to close off what has for centuries been Russia’s main access to the outside world. Without Ukraine, Russia can be turned into a vassal state. That NATO intends to bring about the subjugation, breakup or even extinction of Russia may be true or false — but it will not sound implausible to a Russian.

We should not forget that, whatever values each side may bring to it, this war is not at heart a clash of values. It is a classic interstate war over territory and power, occurring at a border between empires. In this confrontation Mr. Putin and his Russia have fewer good options for backing down than American policymakers seem to realize, and more incentives to follow the United States all the way up the ladder of escalation.

Christopher B. Caldwell, Russia and Ukraine Have Incentives to Negotiate. The U.S. Has Other Plans. (The link is to an unlocked NYT article; no subscription necessary.)

Personal immunity, hard-won insight

Donald Trump’s detractors—including yours truly—would often make the mistake of downplaying his political effectiveness simply because we were utterly immune to his (alleged) charms.

Jonah Goldberg, Falling in Line, Not in Love

I’m in that camp with Goldberg: utterly immune. I struggled to figure out his effectiveness even intellectually, but I’ve eventually settled on something like these:

  • When you tell a large chunk of the country that their voices are not worth hearing, they are going to react badly—and they have. (David Brooks, How the Bobos Broke America)
  • Telling parents they’re bigots or are unenlightened for not embracing the latest faddish orthodoxy is not a winning message. (Pamela Paul, What Liberals Can Learn From Ron DeSantis)

Prudential calculation

[T]he classical statesman permits errors and vices, not because he believes in tolerance for its own sake, but because state action would, in his estimation, harm the common good of the polity more than the vices or errors do.

Ius & Iustitium, The Iron Law of Tolerance

This very much was why I opposed criminal laws against sodomy 50+ years ago — not because I thought that vice was a virtue or even neutral.

It seems quaint even to mention that now, but my position remains substantially the same today.

Tradition is a bulwark against the power of commerce and the dissolving acid of money, and by removing these, all revolutions in the modern period have ended up accelerating the commercial and technological shift towards the Machine.

Paul Kingsnorth

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.

Monday, 2/5/23



This battle was lost even before I entered it, so I rarely mention it. Here goes anyway.

Where the reasons for infertility are known, we are free to develop treatments to cure them. But even if we intervene in an individual’s body to restore its reproductive function, conception still might not occur. Therapeutic interventions of this sort, which are certainly admissible for a Christian who seeks to be a parent, do not seek the conception of a child. They aim to remove known obstacles so that the couple may try to conceive a child. This may seem like a small difference, but it is not. A medical treatment of this sort seeks to enable a man and a woman to conceive. It does not seek to replace their roles in conception.

Matthew Lee Anderson, The Biblical Case Against IVF. Not surprisingly, there’s much more than this to Anderson’s argument.

I agree with Anderson’s conclusion against IVF, but not necessarily for the reasons he adduces. I particularly hesitate at the label “Biblical” in the title, as I don’t think one Christian in a thousand would reason his or her way to Anderson’s conclusion given only the Bible.

What I really agree with is thinking carefully and critically about new technologies presented to us.

We’re not going to take this any more

At various times before the nineteenth century, Byzantines, Arabs, Chinese, Ottomans, Moguls, and Russians were highly confident of their strength and achievements compared to those of the West. At these times they also were contemptuous of the cultural inferiority, institutional backwardness, corruption, and decadence of the West. As the success of the West fades relatively, such attitudes reappear. People feel “they don’t have to take it anymore.”

Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order

I wish I’d read this book decades ago. A mind-extender.

Knowing how little we know

A world of radicals needs incrementalists to make real change, Greg German and Aubrey Fox argue in Persuasion. “Gradualists know how little they know,” they write. “Anyone trying to understand a given problem these days is necessarily missing crucial information because there is simply too much information to process effectively. Gradualists acknowledge that, inevitably, errors happen. Building on this insight, an iterative, incremental process allows for each successive generation of reformers to learn from, and improve upon, their predecessors’ efforts.” Make no mistake, they continue: “We still need dreamers and visionaries and rabble-rousers who want to pursue moon-shot goals like curing cancer and ending hunger. But our default setting should be to admit the obvious: Our problems are big and our brains are small. Incrementalism is nothing less than the endless, ongoing effort to alleviate injustices. It is a way of greeting the world in a spirit of optimism even in the face of the daily conflicts, disappointments, and tragedies that life throws at all of us.”

The Morning Dispatch

Younger and older Jefferson

Jefferson observed at one time that it would be better to have newspapers and lack a government than to have a government and be without newspapers. Yet we find him in his seventieth year writing to John Adams: “I have given up newspapers in exchange for Tacitus and Thucydides, for Newton and Euclid, and I find myself much the happier.”

Richard Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences

I’m a bit behind Jefferson.


Excerpts from Nellie Bowles’ weekly TGIF

Department of horrible ideas: State Democrats in Massachusetts want to offer prisoners reduced sentences for donating organs. Yes, I’m serious. In the new bill: If you, a prisoner, go under the knife to give up a kidney or some bone marrow, you could get up to a year of your prison sentence reduced. The lawmakers say the bill would “restore bodily autonomy.“ 

What in the free-market hell is this?

President of Heritage calling to cut military spending? What world am I in? This week, Kevin Roberts, the president of the conservative Heritage Foundation, wrote about how America needs to cut defense spending. “For too long, Republicans considered it a victory to increase defense and non-defense spending by equal dollar amounts, without cutting a dime from the deficit.” And: “Congress needs to put away its kid gloves and put the Department of Defense and other agencies alike under the knife to excise wasteful spending.” 

Getting riled up about military budgets is an age-old progressive hobby, and I still get mad looking at charts that compare U.S. military spending to every other country in the world. That Republican Heritage Foundation leaders are now saying we need to cut defense spending—and Democrats are pushing for more military spending—is amazing. The military and Big Pharma are somehow becoming pet projects of the left. Soon they’ll be advocating on behalf of Big Corn.


If you have a shit life, escape to the Metaverse.

Mary Harrington on the Rebel Wisdom YouTube channel. That about sums it up. Bread and Circuses for the new millennium.

Narrative, meet Reality

[T]his week, the former executive editor, Len Downie, a near-icon of the old school, published a report on journalism and found a broad consensus among his colleagues that, in the words of one editor-in-chief, “Objectivity has got to go!” So every story now assumes “white supremacy” as the core truth of the world.

So what happens when stories arrive which, on the face of it, seem to refute that entirely? Take three recent events: two mass killings of Asian-Americans within two days in California by an Asian-American (in Monterey Park) and a Chinese national (in Half Moon Bay); five black police officers in a majority-black police force with a black police chief all but lynched and murdered an innocent black man; and a trans woman was convicted of the rape of two other women with the use of her penis.

How on earth do these fit into the pre-arranged “white supremacy” template?

Andrew Sullivan, ‌When The Media Narratives Meet Reality

I must travel in weird circles. I’ve never seen racist or homophobic or transphobic violence with my own eyes.

But considering how the media gaslight us on so much else (e.g., Russiagate, Hunter Biden’s laptop — I could go on, but these are the iconic gaslightings of recent years), why should I believe the press that white supremacy is everywhere when that defies my personal experience?

The US media has the lowest credibility — 26 percent — of 46 nations, according to a 2022 study by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. And “moral clarity” journalists seem intent on driving it even lower.

(Andrew Sullivan again)

(I am aware of structural racism. Here’s a video for you if you aren’t. or think it isn’t real. If you want to call that “white supremacy,” you’ll need to come up with some stronger term for things like the KKK and the Charlottesville “Jews will not replace us!” jackasses.)

You can’t make this stuff up

But what I find even more bizarre is this critique from the Buzzfeed piece:

Another huge problem: MrBeast’s video seems to regard disability as something that needs to be solved. He doesn’t say in the video or in any of his subsequent public statements whether he consulted with the video’s subjects about how they felt to have their disability treated as a problem. That’s something that’s been argued over in the days since the video was uploaded.

Really? I suspect the fact that these blind people signed up to be cured of their blindness is a really strong indicator that they thought being blind was a problem. Talk about denying the humanity and agency of the disabled; you fools should have been proud of your blindness.

Call me retrograde and bigoted all you like, but I think that curing blindness is good. I don’t think it’s so good that we should drag blind people into hospitals and operate on them against their will. But, again, short of something like that … shut up.

Jonah Goldberg

All I can say for the Buzzfeed take is that Jesus did once ask a lame or blind person (I don’t recall which) “Do you want to be healed?”

Yes, you can!

We can’t help but notice you haven’t read our emails in a while.

National Review email to me in the early morning hours of February 5.

Yes you can help notice: don’t put trackers in them.

You’re welcome.


What is “National Conservatism”?

National conservatism is a baggy term—for some it means traditional conservatism with a particular concern for the American nation-state; for others it signifies collectivist social policies combined with social conservatism.

Barton Swaim

Tearing my hair out

The Covid emergency ends when the Supreme Court says it ends.

President Joe Biden.

I shouldn’t have to tell you how perversely wrong that it, but it certainly captures a bit of how Congress and the President reflexively defer to SCOTUS for any heavy lifting.

It’s particularly baffling in this case, though, since Amtrak Joe has announced that the Covid emergency will end in May — not that he’ll petition the Court for that.

Hold them all accountable

There is something deeply, cosmically unfair about a group of elites force-feeding voters a lie about a stolen election, bilking them out of their money, demanding with the most overheated rhetoric that they “fight” to save the country—and then avoiding all responsibility while those people are hauled off to jail for doing what they’d been asked to do.

Sarah Longwell, Hold them all accountable

Haul them off anyway. If we can’t stop demagogues, we can deter the rubes who believe them.

Whatever self-advancement requires

Writing in the National Review, Jack Butler lamented Daniels’ decision in a piece that included this passage: “I cannot begrudge a man his choices, particularly when made with his characteristic thoughtfulness. However, I can’t help but to think that, even if he himself won’t regret bowing out, the country will. While the Mitch Danielses of the world will seriously reflect on whether to enter politics and decide against it, the opportunists in public life will make no such considerations. They will instead do or say or think whatever is necessary for their own self-advancement. This paradoxical asymmetry will benefit some — indeed, it already has — but will continue to make us all worse off. The ranks of the shameless in our politics will grow while the reserves of the honest will diminish. That is not a promising trajectory if it continues unabated.” For the full piece, here it is: “Mitch Daniels Declines to Run for Senate. That’s Bad News for Our Politics.”

Based in Lafayette Substack

Turnabout ain’t fair play

That the American right would eventually tire of [progressive control of schools] and take steps to combat it through acting directly on the public schools themselves should not be surprising to anyone. And if this unhappy tale in American public life is to end with anything other than tragedy, it will require significant steps to deescalate, steps that must begin with an attempt to sincerely understand the opposite side’s concerns. The catechetical agendas of both right and left will need to expand themselves to accommodate questions of peaceful coexistence and principled pluralism amidst our deep differences. Should we fail to do this or if this turns out to be impossible, as it may well be, then reason offers little hope for any happy outcome to these current controversies.

Jake Meador, Education, Catechesis and the State.


In the 1960s, the liberal-progressive establishment successfully managed black anger, which became explosive in major cities, by accommodating demands for civil rights and allocating vast sums for economic uplift while preserving America’s existing hierarchies of wealth and power.

R.R. Reno. Reno’s title, Anger-Politics on the Right, suggests an updated application for this political placebo.

Bad Apples?

In 2022, no institution (aside from the presidency) reflected a greater partisan trust gap than the police. A full 67 percent of Republicans expressed confidence in the police, versus only 28 percent of Democrats.

David French, ‘Bad Apples’ or Systemic Issues?. I believe this was French’s debut as a full-time Opinion Writer for the New York Times.

Republicans under the gestalt-a-scope

The Republicans—where to start? They’re riven by policy disagreements, some of which stem from philosophical disagreements regarding what conservatism is and must be in the 21st century. Weirdly, since politics is a word business, their Washington leadership can’t find the words to talk about this. They don’t know how to talk about public policy. In the debt-ceiling debate, if that’s the right word, they’re allowing themselves to be tagged as the Axe the Entitlements party, or at least as people who’d secretly like to do it but can’t admit it, but when they’re in power they’ll try.

If they do that they will never win national power, or at least presidential power, again. Which they kind of know. But they do it anyway. Because they haven’t decided if they’re a “limited government” party or a party that accepts, as it should, that the federal government will never be small in our lifetimes, and being mature means seeing that and turning the party’s focus toward the pursuit of more conservative ends, such as . . . helping families? Police the government, don’t spend like nuts, aim for growth, encourage dynamism, think long term.

In any case they should stop saying “limited” government. People think the federal government is already limited, as in slow and stupid. They’d like it to be able and efficient. Maybe lean into a government that doesn’t push us around, demanding more than it’s due. Everybody wants that.

Peggy Noonan, Our Political Parties Are Struggling

Tradition is a bulwark against the power of commerce and the dissolving acid of money, and by removing these, all revolutions in the modern period have ended up accelerating the commercial and technological shift towards the Machine.

Paul Kingsnorth

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.

Sunday of the Publican & Pharisee 2023

What to do when there’s nothing left to do – I

In both of the spiritual traditions in which I have immersed myself over the last decade – Buddhism and Orthodox Christianity – this spirit of necessary detachment, this sense that to tie yourself too closely to the churning affairs of the world is to invite destruction, is the precursor to the work. To a Buddhist, the ongoing effort to ‘detach’ yourself from created things is the only way to sidestep the first of the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths: that ‘to live is to suffer.’ From an Orthodox perspective, to live after the Fall is also to suffer. The work of the Christian who wants to find the way home again is to ‘die to the world’: to rid himself of the ‘passions’ of worldly attachment as the essential prelude to walking the narrow path which leads to theosis: union with God.

The theologies of Zen, Orthodoxy, Mark Anthony and Robinson Jeffers differ wildly, and yet they alight, all of them, on this same reality. So does every other religious tradition I know of. To watch the great fall, to say goodbye to Alexandria, to accept that nothing gold can stay: this is the task of people who find themselves living through the falling years. It is the prelude to doing anything useful with our time. If we spend that time lamenting the fall, or trying to prevent it, or stewing in bitterness at those we believe responsible, we will find ourselves cast into darkness. If we ‘degrade ourselves with empty hopes’ of some form of technological or political salvation yet to come, the darkness will be just as deep.

No: the only way out is through. To dance with the way things are moving. To watch the great fall, accept its reality, and then get on with our work. What that work might be, in the age of the Total system, will differ for each one of us. Rebellion, restoration, protection, the building of new structures: I’m going to explore each of these in coming essays. But before anything can happen, we have first to get our inner house in order.

Paul Kingsnorth, Watch the Great Fall

What to do when there’s nothing left to do – II

The loss of Christendom gives us a joyous opportunity to reclaim the freedom to proclaim the gospel in a way in which we cannot when the main social task of the church is to serve as one among many helpful props for the state.

Stanley Hauerwas, Resident Aliens


Hindus who used words such as religion, or secular, or Hinduism were not merely displaying their fluency in English. They were also adopting a new and alien perspective on their country and turning it to their advantage.

Tom Holland, Dominion

Science & Faith

Coincidentally, as I approached the end of Fr. Christopher C Knight’s Science and the Christian Faith: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Uncommon Knowledge podcast featured Michael Behe, John Lennox, and Steven Meyer arguing for Intelligent Design against Darwin.

It’s astonishing how differently Knight and the Intelligent Design proponents treat Darwin. Knight:

The question of how miracles are to be understood becomes a very different one than that usually assumed if we abandon the notions of the “supernatural” that are now prevalent in discussions about miracles … [M]iraculous events represent, not the “supernatural” action of of an outside agent, but an anticipation of the character of the “world to come.” The state that these events unveil is above nature only in the sense that it is above the subnatural state in which, because of the fall, we now find ourselves. Miracles represent the true nature of the world intended by God in his creation of it.

[O]ur scientific picture of evolution through natural selection arose originally from Charles Darwin’s observations of differences between closely related species and subspecies. It was later reinforced and refined, however, both by fossil evidence and by genetic insights quite unknown to Darwin himself. These genetic insights were themselves later underpinned by biochemical insights that arose through the work that followed the discovery of the structure of DNA, and by technical advances that now enable us to look in detail at the genetic makeup of all living things.

The robustness of the present scientific consensus means that those Christians who insist that their faith is incompatible with that consensus often present an enormous barrier to those who are scientifically literate but who might be willing to explore the Christian view of the world.

Though Darwin’s achievement was a magnificent one, it was only later, through the integration of genetic insights unknown to Darwin himself, that his evolutionary theory could be regarded as robust from a scientific perspective.

In contrast, the ID guys (who I can’t directly quote because it was a podcast, and I wasn’t interested enough to try to write down quotes) all spoke as if accumulating evidence against Darwin is growing more irrefutable every day.

I have no need of that hypothesis.


My attitude is that there is no AI. What is called AI is a mystification, behind which there is the reality of a new kind of social collaboration facilitated by computers. A new way to mash up our writing and art.

I frequently found myself trying to dissuade people from buying NFTs in 2022. They were often working folks without a lot of money to spare. When I would try to explain that only a very few, very early people made those fortunes you hear about, that by now there’s no one left to buy your NFT for more than you paid; when I said those things they looked back at me like cult members, eyes full of hope. Sure, people have been falling for get-rich-quick schemes forever, but this was something more. There was also religion. NFTs were a cross between a lottery and the prosperity gospel, which holds that wealth and godliness are the same thing. When I tried to save people from getting ripped off it was as if I was attacking their religion. They weren’t angry; they pitied me.

Jaron Lanier

No comment

Tradition is a bulwark against the power of commerce and the dissolving acid of money, and by removing these, all revolutions in the modern period have ended up accelerating the commercial and technological shift towards the Machine.

Paul Kingsnorth

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.