One last salvo on immigration

Mark’s points about the relationship between American dynamism and immigration are well-taken. Again, I’d like to stress that I’m endorsing an exceedingly mild form restrictionism – perhaps a system that expands immigration quotas for Third World countries not adjacent to our border while limiting the number of new arrivals from Latin America. That said, I…

Folk wisdom and the tyranny of the experts

[updated below] I’ve been thinking about birth a great deal lately. This is likely because birth in my family is just around the corner. Our second is due in July. In any case, all this birth-thinking and meeting with doctors and birthing experts and midwives and such has me pondering how we as a culture…

A brief defense of the Pope

[updated] “I read the coverage of the Pope every day in the newspapers and listen to the BBC news and as a Catholic and a journalist I feel like crying out pathetically: “This is not fair!” And it isn’t fair, or reasonable. Intelligent journalists who are normally capable of mental subtlety and of coping with…

Community, technology, & work

I think this Amanda Marcotte piece is pretty interesting.  She touches on the idea of work and community and how the modern workplace has, until very recently, served to cut us off entirely from our loved ones during the day.  This, she asserts, was not always the case.  People used to come into more contact…

On noble savages and the humanity of the ‘other’

Sullivan nods approvingly at this passage from Conor on Avatar’s Na’vi: The problem with the noble savage cliche is that it is demonstrably untrue. The people who inhabited North America before the arrival of Europeans warred, died for lack of medicine, sometimes killed animal herds so unsustainably that they faced starvation — so despite the…

culture is everything (well, mostly everything)

“In short, liberals and conservatives refuse to see the areas in which they have common ground because far too often they simply cannot get past the cultural markers that prevent them from even listening to the substance of what their cultural opposites are saying.” ~ Mark Thompson In this post Mark is responding to what…

conservatives as self-parodies

This interview with Andy Schlafly [below] of conservapedia.com is hard to watch.  It’s almost embarrassing.  I think Colbert is at his best for most of the exchange, and the zinger about creating his own reality is marvelous.  Schlafly really is the ultimate self-parodic conservative, and I’m not just saying that because he has one of the…

Modernity, Christianity and Islam

I linked to this earlier, but amateur history buffs will find Cato Unbound’s discussion on the origins of modernity pretty fascinating. The central point of contention is the so-called “first cause” of modernity – did the West develop because of spontaneous social change, secularism, the rise of “engineering culture,” or competition between European states? I’m…

gay marriage and the catholic church in maine

[updated] Maine proponents of gay marriage rights woke to defeat today, which is a shame and another signal that the country is still bitterly divided on this issue.  The New York Times reports: “The Catholic Church was a leading supporter of the repeal campaign, even asking parishes to pass a second collection plate at Sunday mass…

From the Department of Missing the Point

Despite my recent disagreements with Conor, one area where he is indubitably correct is in criticizing conservatism’s inability to engage the culture in which it must exist.  This, to me, is not a political issue – it has little to do with winning elections or with governance – but it leaves conservative cultural critiques utterly…

Kulturkampf

Victor Davis Hanson is visiting Europe. More precisely, Italy and Greece. Several profound insights into the nature of continental society follow: After concluding another 16 days in Europe. I am again reminded how different their form of socialism  is, and yet how closely it resembles the model that Obama seeks for America. The vast majority…

John Derbyshire and the Wise Latina

“Judge Sotomayor was raised in public housing? So was I. Her mother was a nurse working late shifts? So was mine. When did white working poor people disappear off the face of the earth? Where are the eager listeners to their “compelling stories”?” ~John Derbyshire John “Derb” Derbyshire pendulates between very sensible and very silly. …

a quote for a cloudy afternoon

“I gave up on post-theism in my 20’s. I worked through my post-post-theism in my early 30’s. I’m currently enjoying my post-post-post-theism too much to really contemplate post-post-post-post-theism, but, hey. Maybe someone will write a book about it that I can yell about and I’ll be a convert. Or, maybe, I’ll backslide and become a…

Angels & Demons

I read Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons several years ago.  I liked some of the puzzles, and the mystery and suspense were gripping enough, but at the end of the day Brown’s prose makes Stephen King look like Oscar Wilde.  If I want a good page-turner I’ll pick up a Grisham novel.  Even so, after…

going to war with the army you have

“Rather than deep moral and spiritual renewal leading to civic health, what if it’s our national solipsism and susceptibility to suggestion that pull us together, and pull us through? What if, rather than being stuck with virtue, we discover that, after a few initially painful changes in lifestyle, we can buy spray-on virtue in a…

From Intolerance to Tolerance to Acceptance

Freddie has made a strong argument against viewing autism as a positive thing to be celebrated.  In so doing – and keeping in mind that he is our resident liberal – Freddie argues that such views are political correctness run amok.  To complete the role reversal, I, one of our two resident self-avowed libertarians, am…