Sacred Truths in a Profane World

By |2018-07-19T07:43:31-05:00July 18th, 2018|

One after another, the sacred spaces that our customs have protected are invaded and spoiled. That which has been assumed to be unquestionable, indeed protected from the questions that might profane it, is for that very reason subjected to question... In America and across Europe, the business of government has been detached from religious faith. This [...]

The Closing of the Western Mind

By |2018-01-20T00:36:35-05:00January 19th, 2018|

Allan Bloom’s diagnosis in The Closing of the American Mind can explain far more about the sorry state of American higher education and the Western condition than popular stories that blame the Enlightenment, or democracy, or medieval nominalism. And it is therefore a valuable starting point… Last year marked the thirtieth anniversary of Allan [...]

Coming Home: Why Conservatism Appeals to Young People

By |2019-02-07T12:40:13-05:00December 31st, 2017|

Conservatism is in many ways a philosophy of belonging. It appeals to the nation as a communal home, a vessel for culture, language, custom, tradition and all the vestiges of identity garnered from generations of shared history… Recent discussions about conservatism have wondered how it can appeal to young people. These discussions necessarily emphasize [...]

Frederic Manning’s “Her Privates We”: A Mystery of the Great War

By |2017-12-23T01:05:58-05:00December 22nd, 2017|

Neither a pacifist’s nor a militant’s novel, Her Privates We is praiseworthy both for its unforgettable characters and for its compelling, if necessarily tentative, exploration of this mystery of personhood under extreme pressure… Her Privates We by Frederic Manning (272 pages, Serpent’s Tail, 1999) Almost everyone enjoys a good detective story, and Her Privates We [...]

Coming Home in “Scrutopia”: A Happy Week With Roger Scruton

By |2017-09-20T22:19:20-05:00September 20th, 2017|

According to Roger Scruton, traditions and attachments to place and home are precious as they give order and meaning to life. They fill a basic human need. Once destroyed, they cannot be brought back… G.K. Chesterton famously wrote “The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at [...]

The Threat of Free Speech in the University

By |2019-03-05T13:29:24-05:00September 4th, 2017|

If a university stands for anything, surely it stands for that idea of truth, as a guiding light in our darkness and the source of real knowledge… Free speech in a university is a very different thing from free speech in Congress or Parliament, freedom of the press, or free speech in the street. Each [...]

The Godless City: Until Buildings Have Faces

By |2019-01-04T11:40:30-05:00June 5th, 2017|

When the modern city enshrines the temporariness of facelessness as a permanently utilitarian way of life, then something has gone dreadfully wrong… The Aesthetics of Architecture by Roger Scruton (Princeton University Press, 2013) One of the principal observations of Sir Roger Scruton about the modern city is an architectural observation. Modern architecture expresses the [...]

Roger Scruton on Architectural Principles in an Age of Nihilism

By |2017-05-19T09:20:45-05:00May 18th, 2017|

Without defending the citadel of the mind, how can we build a beautiful city? Without the conviction of true propositions, whence do we think beauty will come?… In Conversations with Roger Scruton (2016), Mark Dooley engages in a fascinating book-length interview with the famous English philosopher. While best known academically for unfashionable arguments on [...]

The Virtue of Irrelevance

By |2017-04-13T12:10:32-05:00February 24th, 2017|

The old curriculum, with its emphasis on hard mathematics, dead languages, ancient history, and classical music, is often portrayed today as “irrelevant,” an offense to modern children, a way of belittling their world and their hopes for the future… How many writers, educators, and opinion formers, urgently wishing to convey the thoughts and feelings [...]

The Social Message of Social Media

By |2018-10-29T16:35:34-05:00August 19th, 2016|

In the first chapter of Understanding Media (1964), called “The Medium is the Message,” Marshall McLuhan begins the book by explaining his most famous aphorism. Over time, the proposition has acquired the status of a cliché, such that its original meaning and intent can become obscured. But as W. Terrence Gordon, the editor of the [...]

“The Ring of the Nibelung”: Romantic Nonsense?

By |2016-10-10T14:47:15-05:00August 10th, 2016|

The Ring of the Nibelung, Wagner’s great cycle of operas exploring the origin of consciousness and the birth of the human world begins in the depths of the river Rhine, and also in the depths of the unconscious, hearing the voice of the natural order from which human kind departed in the long distant past. [...]

Conservatism Means Conservation

By |2018-10-15T18:36:36-05:00July 17th, 2016|

Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join Roger Scruton as he considers the conservative nature of environmentalism. —W. Winston Elliott III, Publisher Environmentalism has all the hallmarks of a left-wing cause: a class of victims (future generations), an enlightened vanguard who fights for them (the eco-warriors), powerful Philistines who [...]

Postmodern Music: Groans Wrapped in Mathematics

By |2016-06-17T14:50:23-05:00June 16th, 2016|

Arnold Schoenberg In Gurrelieder, Verklärte Nacht, and Pelléas et Mélisandes, Arnold Schoenberg showed total mastery of tonality and of late romantic harmony, and these great works entered the repertoire. But by the time of the Piano Pieces, op. 11, Schoenberg was writing music which to many people no longer made sense, with melodic lines [...]

The Revenge of Pierre Boulez, Destroyer of Music

By |2016-05-31T13:17:15-05:00May 3rd, 2016|

DE MORTUIS NIL NISI BONUM: Of the dead, nothing unless good. But you can take it too far, reinventing someone who was a power-hungry manipulator, by allowing no one to speak for him save his partisans, many of whom owe their careers to promoting him. As the French say, on a ras le bol [...]