Friday, November 28, 2008

Economic un-reality

A bad response to the disasters wrought by the financiers would certainly be let politicians run the economy. The truth is that both the prevalence of finance and the prevalence of politics are symptoms of social and cultural weakness, since both are means, not ends.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Piotr Verchovenskij goes to San Francisco

The current outburst of ideological violence will sound familiar to those of us who love Dostoevskii (or who know the history of Europe, 1789-1989).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Hopefully this will not come to pass. The US bishops seem willing to stand up and fight.

Offer something

Ross Douthat trashes George Weigel.

$27,000 a year progressives

A piece of some anthropological interest.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Decline and fall of California

Victor Davis Hanson is what the Romans called a laudator temporis acti. But at least he can write decent English...

Be brave

A plea for defending the interests of young people when they conflict with those of the teachers' unions.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Not happy

Cardinal Stafford makes waves.

Freedom of conscience

An interesting controversy.

Unintended consequences

If you think this is horrible, you should worry about the day they will discover a genetic marker for "androphilia". Strangely enough, Will Saletan and most of his ideological peers seem oblivious to the danger.

Friday, November 21, 2008

To the bunkers!

From time to to time (but not too often) you should read the Mogambo Guru, just to be reminded that there is a degree of folly to human affairs.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Canon Fodder

What is the point of the "Great Books"? Some have seen the idea as an exercise in snobbery, some as an attempt to save Western civilization, some as a way to make money. Yet after reading this article the question remains: Are there some books that should be read by everyone?

Nihilism watch, XVII

Some more depressing material. An interesting point here is the way in which the de-humanization of the self is justified with a bogus reference to "science." The problem of course, is not science but a complete dis-education of the person, to the point that the heart seems almost atrophied. At least, though, this is a more transparent and honest situation than the romantic/modern claim that Christian spousal love is "natural."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008


A story on Michelle Rhee. At least she seems to have one clear idea: that in order to educate you need good teachers above all else. Not good methods, not a favorable social environment, not better educational theories. Young people learn from teachers.

Fill more forms

This column has an interest beyond the specific story (the murder of a baby in Britain) because it discusses a trend:
So much effort goes into the procedure that no time, energy or inclination is left over to secure the alleged purpose of the procedure.

The triumph of procedure over content is indeed all around us, for instance in education.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Meet Martin Eisenstadt. Notice that many of his "scoops" have become common knowledge and will keep being believed by many people for a long time to come.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Join the club

Movie buffs may enjoy this piece by Ken Russel.

"Known as the CURRICULUM"

Diane Ravitch explains the problem with "No child left behind:" neither money nor formal accountability nor federal mandates can produce good education.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Compassionate nihilism

Melanie Phillips does not exactly hit the right tone, but she is right that the figure in recently history that most resembles Obama is Tony Blair. Personally attractive, moderate in economic matters, hawkish in foreign policy, but ultimately the enabler of a disastrous progressivist ideology and a believer in the redemptive power of the state. She is also right in pointing out that Blair's (and, probably, Obama's) sentimental-technocratic progressivism reflects most of all a gaping cultural vacuum. Ultimately, politics must rely on some notion of what it means being a human being, and on some body of shared knowledge about how to live in society and educate young people. Otherwise, without any roots in the past, what is left is the editorial page of the New York Times: sentimental mush and moronic babbling about equality. In this vacuum, individual politicians can be personally intelligent and well-meaning, but (bad) ideas have their own power and produce their own effects.

Reality check

Shelby Steele on the Obama election and race.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

To be filed under "What's Ahead?"

President-elect Obama is known to have taken a keen interest in education. So whom might he pick for Secretary of Education? Here are some possibilities.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Class divide

Christopher Caldwell makes an interesting summary of the presidential campaign.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Thinking straight

Maggie Gallagher explains the obvious. The fact it is not obvious is quite a bad sign regarding our collective capacity for rational judgement.