Skip to main content


Showing posts from May 31, 2020

September Memories

We have established that I'm a big dork. Or maybe I'm a big nerd. In any case, I would go to a political philosophy conference the day after the worst night of my life. Well, what am I going to do? Cancel the trip? I'm going to drop a name right here, because that's just what you do, when you are an obscure writer, and nobody cares what you have to say. I shook Jake Meador's hand at that conference. I sat right next to Wendell Berry for six hours. No, I haven't read him much. But if he writes anything like he talks, he's a good egg, just like everyone says. If it's true that Obama likes him, good for Obama. He bloody well should. I had this strange feeling that a lot of our categories were completely meaningless. It's just like when I go to the Front Porch Republic conferences; I don't know what categories to use. We are in some general sense like-minded, but me from eight years ago would've called the lot of them a bunch of Commies and c

In Principle, I Favor Reparations

I don't want to write a history tome here today, but the government promised newly freed slaves 40 acres and a mule. It never came. Someone recently pointed out that the equivalent of 40 acres and a mule today would be about $60,000. I'm no math guy, but that would be a lot of money. We might not be able to do that, even if we should. It's not like racism simply vanished, even at the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And the effect of this ongoing racism in economic terms--in practical terms--is the prevention of the accumulation of intergenerational wealth. We'll come back to that. Yeah, there are racist attitudes floating around in the Republican Party, and in the conservative media ecosystem. Of course there are. The GOP absorbed the Dixiecrat South within a period of about 20 years. We would have at the very least absorbed racially insensitive attitudes as a function of partisanship, when I was there. It's worse now, because talk radio rose up in the la

In Defense Of Bishop Gregory

Phil Lawler over at Catholic Culture criticized the Bishop for his criticism of Donald Trump, because the president stopped by one of our shrines in DC. He also announced some religious liberty protections while he did that. You know, it's possible to be opposed to whatever the new Democratic administration will do with respect to religious liberty, and to be opposed to the president's photo opportunity stunt. Their principal desire seems to be the imposition of their reproductive and sexual ideology upon anyone who does not agree. Perhaps the problem for Donald Trump is that he's a bad politician, so he always looks like he's pandering, which he is. Perhaps the problem for Phil Lawler is that the preservation of a so-called Catholic culture has been bound up with the success or failure of Donald Trump. If anyone had bothered to speak in plain terms about what was right and what was wrong, maybe a few more of us wouldn't be so tempted to jump on the opposite end o

A Cross-Examination

It's been kicking around in my head for days now, but Professor Cross was musing on Facebook about the run-up to the Iraq war. In his judgment, the standard for just war was not met, because there was no threat of an imminent attack. That observation has been made in many quarters for a long time now, and is not in itself controversial anymore. Yet he went on to say that the decision to engage in a preemptive war, based on the possibility of horrific attacks in the future, has legitimized the preemptive use of force by police against citizens. The professor said in effect that we were facing the consequences of our own philosophy. As much as I hate to admit it, I think he's right. While I'm at it, I think the good professor would enjoy watching a film called, "Minority Report". It's about this sort of preemptive consequentialism. It's also a theological reflection on sovereignty and free will. [You only like it because it has Tom Cruise.--ed.] In any c

Thanks, LeVar Burton

About 2 years ago, I saw most of "Roots." It was on one of my local sub-channels. There were moments I wept. And not necessarily at the obvious injustices. Mr. LeVar Burton played Kunta Kinte in that film. Fans of the blog note that he is even more famous for playing Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge, the Chief Engineer of the Enterprise, on "Star Trek: The Next Generation." He has also inspired multiple generations of kids as the host of the educational program, "Reading Rainbow." I don't know if LeVar Burton took that role on "Roots" because he was a struggling actor short on cash, but I get the sense from reading interviews with him that in fact, he is well aware of his own blackness, and his part in the story of the African-American experience here in the United States. What I can tell you is that the sins of systemic racism, and the social impact of racial bigotry, are better explained by that film than by mountains of academic papers. A

Leaving Las Vegas

I realized several months ago that this presidency is like Las Vegas. It's bright and shiny in places, and it can impress you if you're not paying attention. When you dig underneath the glitz and glamour, it's all fake and kind of sad. But now that trashy fakeness turns violent, as tear gas and rubber bullets are fired at peaceful protesters, and journalists. I don't intend to give a rousing defense of all journalists at all times, as if I am Bob Woodward. This is still supposed to be America, and we don't physically attack journalists here. Forcibly removing protesters with police in riot gear, so that Trump can hold a photo op in front of a church that doesn't want him there, is peak Las Vegas. For their part, they were helping peaceful protesters stay healthy and hydrated. I saw somewhere that they got forced off their own patio. I feel obliged to mention that extremist elements are using the legitimate outrage over the death of George Floyd to start ri