The Queers Versus The Homosexuals is the probably the best thing I’ve ever read from Andrew Sullivan, a real crie de couer.

Confirmation bias? Maybe. I had more or less intuited (there certainly were hints in print) that some trans” kids are flailingly trying to cope with homosexuality. Now it appears that it’s most”, not some.”

May 20, 2023

it is because … political discourses … are so detached from the prospect of actual violence that they can afford to be so extreme.

Alexis Carré, 💬 in the concluding essay in a series on the coalition of the sensible” at Public Discourse.

May 18, 2023

Middleborough school district is going to get slaughtered in this case. Prof. Friedman highlights the reasons why. Why do schools, after getting cogent pre-litigation demand letters, persist in flipping off the constitution?

May 18, 2023

Benjamin Schwarz and Christopher Layne, Why Are We In Ukraine?: for some, this may come as a surprise; for others, it’s a reminder. Those who might be surprised most need to read it.

Where it leaves me is so what?” As in, so, what can I do to get the US to come off its high horse voluntarily?”

May 18, 2023

May 16, 2023

We’ve acquired, by chance, some cheap entertainment for our cat. A nuthatch has been picking over a cherry tree close to our sunroom, but then flies over and pecks a casement window (screen inside, not out). It excites the cat mightily.

May 16, 2023

[W]here CNN went wrong was in the audience it assembled, a generally adoring crowd who laughed heartily at Trump’s jokes, clapped lustily at his insults and thrilled to his every puerile flourish. When several of them had their turns at the microphone, their questions were air kisses, which is why Collins had to keep stepping in to slap Trump around with her own. The contrast — her righteous firmness, their star-struck flaccidity — was disorienting and repellent. Between now and November 2024, we’re in for a stranger and scarier ride than in any other presidential election in my lifetime, and there’s no telling how it will end.

Frank Bruni

May 11, 2023

How much mischief can be done by a stochastic parrot if many people believe it’s a god?

May 4, 2023

A stress test for the First Amendment

Wayne State University Professor Steven Shaviro’s Twitter post is more nuanced than has been generally reported by pearl-clutchers (click the image to see the full text).

Test your free speech commitment: should this public university have suspended Shaviro?

UPDATE: Wayne State Professor Steven Shaviro Volunteers As First Amendment Tribute

March 28, 2023


We are offended only by those who are boorish in the way that working class people are boorish, not by those who are boorish in the way that our powerful classes are boorish.

J Budziszewski

March 6, 2023

Why not both?

The story in the Morning Dispatch was headlined Meat Market or Lab?”

My thought: Why not both? Our betters are trying to sell us on the idea of clean meat,” grown in a lab from animal stem cells that just don’t know when to shut it off.

Where I come from, animal cells that just keep growing and growing and growing are called cancer.”

March 3, 2023

Not gonna boycott Dilbert

I’ve seen people cancelled” over respectable conservative opinions or fairly anodyne statements. Scott Adams, Dilbert creator, is not one of them.

Scott Adams somehow was an early predictor that Donald Trump would win the Presidency. He went on to become a Trumpist in his activities outside of Dilbert. I’ve been leery of him personally as a result. And now he seems to have gone further — into racially divisive advice.

But if my local rag drops Dilbert, I’ll continue reading it on the web here until the strip itself becomes toxic.

February 27, 2023

Why, despite so much, I still read him

To understand the Fox News phenomenon, one has to understand the place it occupies in Red America. It’s no mere source of news. It’s the place where Red America goes to feel seen and heard.

David French

February 26, 2023

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 19th 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

February 22, 2023


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

February 21, 2023

Kamala Harris isn’t going anywhere

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

February 21, 2023

Fox News 2020 Election Coverage Decisions Demonstrate that Demand for Misinformation is a Bigger Problem than the Supply

February 20, 2023

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.

February 19, 2023

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

February 16, 2023

Reason is the slave of the passions

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

February 16, 2023

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