Truth as a Democratic Project

By |2018-09-18T05:47:02-05:00September 18th, 2018|

To save democracy from subjectivism, truth must become a democratic project. The greatest of crimes can be enacted in the name of sincerity, authenticity, and “being at peace with oneself.” Each of these criteria looks to one’s own estimate of oneself… During the Presidential Campaign of 1996, in California, President Bill Clinton said that [...]

How Friedrich Nietzsche Changed Philosophy Forever

By |2018-06-22T14:36:54-05:00June 19th, 2018|

Friedrich Nietzsche sought to change the world, and there is significant evidence that the existentialist philosopher succeeded. Many of the contemporary world’s assumptions regarding the primacy of individualism and the disavowal of universals were exposited by Nietzsche.[1] Yet, one of this thinker’s most important revolutions lay in his complete redefinition of philosophy. The dominant [...]

In Defense of Splitting Hairs

By |2017-08-09T22:30:23-05:00August 9th, 2017|

We need to draw distinctions. The words we use are crucial to this endeavor. They matter. To deny this is to become a deconstructionist, and engage in self-defeating activities like writing lengthy books on how words have no meaning. Splitting hairs seems a far worthier past time… Our modern means of communication favor brevity, [...]

Truth, Treasure, Maps, and Traps

By |2017-11-11T12:18:51-05:00July 1st, 2017|

Religious dogma is true— indispensably true—but Truth is truer, and bigger than dogma in the same way that a map is true, but the journey is truer and bigger than the map… Editor’s Note: This essay is an abridged version of a chapter in Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s book The Romance of Religion. When I [...]

Richard Weaver’s Conservatism of Affirmation & Hope

By |2016-06-13T15:58:54-05:00May 19th, 2016|

III Richard Weaver reasoned it was the emergence of nominalism, the departure from Plato­nism and Christianity, which produced the intellectual heresies leading to the trauma and anguish of the modern era. “It was,” he elaborated, “William of Occam who pro­pounded the fateful doctrine of nominalism, which denies that universals have a real existence,” and [...]

The Homogenization of America

By |2015-12-26T11:37:41-05:00November 1st, 2015|

On a trip to Oklahoma I arrived at the airport and was taken to a suburban retail area for a meal. Suddenly it occurred to me that I could very well have been back in any part of the United States. Wherever I go in the USA I find the same retail developments with [...]

The Land that Cultural Relativism Forgot

By |2015-10-20T12:53:08-05:00September 24th, 2015|

Cultural relativism is that preferred meta-ethical philosophy of left-wing apologists for barbarities committed by Islamists and other violent fanatics, both at home and abroad. When some old-school liberal like Bill Maher condemns some Middle Eastern theocracy for preventing women from driving, executing apostates, or refusing to prosecute honor killings—for being, in a word, illiberal—he’s [...]

Relativism and the Antichrist

By |2015-05-20T12:30:35-05:00May 10th, 2015|

When Pope Benedict warned about “the Dictatorship of Relativism,” he meant it. Literally. This was hammered home not long ago when I was speaking to a group of students about the issue of same sex marriage. I prefaced the discussion with a description of relativism saying that this non-philosophy was now the mainstream, default [...]

Tolkien, Trees, and Tradition

By |2019-03-19T17:41:15-05:00February 2nd, 2015|

My wife has just sent me two links showing a linguistic family tree illustrating the relationship of the various modern European and Oriental languages with their Indo-European roots.[1] This use of a tree-metaphor to encapsulate the living traditionalism at the heart of language was one of the imaginative roots of J.R.R. Tolkien’s creation of the [...]

Witches on the Heath: Abandoning the Transcendentals

By |2016-11-26T09:52:09-05:00September 1st, 2013|

Richard Weaver Like Macbeth, Western man made an evil decision, which has become the efficient and final cause of other evil decisions. Have we forgotten our encounter with the witches on the heath? It occurred in the late fourteenth century, and what the witches said to the protagonist of this drama was [...]

On Saving Relativity From Relativism

By |2014-01-18T15:21:17-05:00January 11th, 2013|

Those of us who identify in various ways as “conservative,” especially in academic settings, have a story that we like to tell. It is a story wherein we are the heroes, and the villain bears the name “relativism.” We all believe in truth, while it seems like a great many scholars nowadays do not, [...]

Allan Bloom and Souls Without Longing

By |2015-05-27T13:22:40-05:00October 29th, 2012|Tags: |

So I’ve gotten a lot (meaning several) emails complaining that I haven’t gotten around to keeping my promise of talking about Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind. Well, sorry. Here’s one reason why. I’m actually teaching that fascinating—and flawed—book right now, and I thought you’d learn more if I waited until after [...]

Relativists an Endangered Species?

By |2016-11-26T09:52:13-05:00September 22nd, 2012|

Relativists are an endangered species on America’s campuses, and in 30 years they will probably be extinct—or, if not, then sequestered in made-up departments that are denigrated by the rest of the faculty and eyed predatorily by budget directors on the lookout for programs to cut. The Yale English department is a good example. In [...]