The Cultural Contradictions of Modern Liberalism

By |2018-10-30T14:31:30-05:00September 19th, 2015|Tags: |

The Common Good of Constitutional Democracy: Essays in Political Philosophy and on Catholic Social Teaching by Martin Rhonheimer, edited by William F. Murphy, Jr. (Catholic University of America Press, 2013) This collection of essays is billed as a defense of “constitutional democracy” or, in a more exact translation from the German, “the democratic constitutional state.” [...]

Irving Babbitt: Against Romanticism

By |2015-08-28T15:33:40-05:00August 28th, 2015|Tags: |

Rousseau and Romanticism by Irving Babbitt (Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1991) This reprint of the best-known work by Irving Babbitt (1865–1933) is a sturdy addition to Transaction’s Library of Conservative Thought. When it was initially published in 1919, it was recognized by discerning readers as the landmark it has since become. The New York Evening [...]

The Promise and Failure of Democracy

By |2016-05-09T16:08:32-05:00August 21st, 2015|Tags: |

After Tocqueville: The Promise and Failure of Democracy, by Chilton Williamson, Jr. (ISI Books, 2012) Twenty years ago, as the Cold War ended with the triumph of the West over Communism, Francis Fukuyama proclaimed the “end of history,” by which he meant that human political community had reached its final and best stage of [...]

Is There a Patron Saint of Teachers?

By |2017-07-31T23:48:12-05:00July 25th, 2015|Tags: |

“Your total ignorance of that which you profess to teach merits the death penalty. I doubt whether you would know that St. Cassian of Imola was stabbed to death by his students with their styli. His death, a martyr’s honorable one, made him a patron saint of teachers.” —Ignatius Reilly, in John Kennedy Toole’s, [...]

Jonathan Swift: Vexing the Rascally World

By |2017-07-31T23:48:15-05:00June 26th, 2015|Tags: |

Jonathan Swift In a letter of Jonathan Swift (1667–1745) addressed to the poet Alexander Pope (1688–1744), dated September 29, 1725, Swift spoke of returning to the grand monde of Dublin to deal with various curates and vicars, and to “correct all corruptions crept in relating to the weights of bread and butter throughout [...]

The Art of Intimacy

By |2015-06-05T13:21:51-05:00June 15th, 2015|Tags: |

The Literary Correspondence of Donald Davidson and Allen Tate edited by John Tyree Fain and Thomas Daniel Young. Of those sources ordinarily consulted by literary historians and critics, letters are surely among the most suspect. In the first place, we all write lines that are no more than the accepted conventions of social intercourse: “I [...]

Redeeming the Time of Morality and Order

By |2015-06-02T08:53:04-05:00May 29th, 2015|Tags: |

Russell Kirk’s Redeeming the Time was published posthumously in 1996. And as its title suggests, it is a book about thinking and acting in light of moral constraints that demand something of us. In fact, if we boil the book down to its bedrock message, it is a book about morality and order—how the [...]

On the Depths of Villainy

By |2017-07-31T23:48:17-05:00May 10th, 2015|Tags: |

Rev. James Schall Probably the most famous letter writer of the ancient world was Cicero. In 59 B.C., Cicero wrote to Gaius Scribonius: “There are many sorts of letters. But there is one unmistakable sort, which actually caused letter-writing to be invented in the first place, namely the sort intended to give [...]

Moral Visions of the Free Market

By |2016-07-17T10:01:05-05:00February 8th, 2013|Tags: , , |

Wealth, Poverty & Human Destiny
 edited by Doug Bandow and David Schindler For religious believers, the complicated issue of reconciling the free market with traditional morality is one of increasing importance as the ideology of capitalism gains unprecedented public support and globalization becomes unavoidable. The prospect of material triumph appears omnipresent, and the justifications [...]

A Player Piano for the Twenty-First Century

By |2014-01-04T20:26:20-05:00February 7th, 2013|Tags: , |

Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. I have long resisted reading Kurt Vonnegut. In this life of finite time and seemingly infinite and ever expanding good things to read, his biography or writing just did not seem enough to clear the bar to justify pushing some other unread book aside. I am very glad, however, [...]

Scalia: A Candle in the Darkness

By |2013-12-12T14:34:47-05:00January 25th, 2013|Tags: |

Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts by Antonin Scalia and Bryan A. Garner. These are dark days for American law. In June, Chief Justice John Roberts, in what was a stark betrayal of his oath to uphold the Constitution, upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the “ACA” or “Obamacare”) as a [...]

Ten Conservative Books Revisited

By |2014-02-07T16:48:42-05:00January 17th, 2013|Tags: |

In 1986, Russell Kirk gave a lecture titled “Ten Conservative Books” in which he identified ten important books that distilled or expressed conservative principles, from Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France to T. S. Eliot’s Notes Towards the Definition of Culture, the book Kirk pressed upon the hapless Richard Nixon. The essay is worth reading not [...]

Living Conservatism: Burke and Tocqueville

By |2013-11-21T11:41:11-05:00January 7th, 2013|Tags: |

Virtue and the Promise of Conservatism: the Legacy of Burke and Tocqueville, by Bruce Frohnen. Conservatism lives. It continues to exercise its power over bright young minds. It also shows us a way of life, how to live. For these assertions there could be no better evidence than Bruce Frohnen’s Virtue and the Promise of [...]