Monthly Archives: November 2015

…And The Wisdom To Know The Difference

Here are two items from yesterday’s Washington Post email digest. They both mention, in passing, important things. First is this: Failure to stop Paris attacks reveals fatal flaws at heart of European security We read: Poor information-sharing among intelligence agencies, a threadbare system for tracking suspects across open borders and an unmanageably long list of […]

Period Piece 2

I’ve got nothing tonight — I’m weary of arguing, and the Muse is silent — so for now, an update to an old item from the early days of this blog. The original post was about a Victorian-era bust of Washington Irving that stands in Prospect Park. Have a look. Here’s another example of the […]

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all of you. Among the many blessings I have to be thankful for is to have you all as readers and commenters.

Say, Uncle

Wow, this is great: the Democratic National Committee has put out a list of officially approved talking points for denouncing thoughtcrime at Thanksgiving dinner. The site is called “Your Republican Uncle“. Leaving aside what fun this will make Thanksgiving for everyone, and the DNC’s presumption that Democrats young enough to have living uncles can’t defend […]


Quite the firestorm of liberal outrage over that mass shooting in New Orleans, eh? (At a playground, no less.) We’ve hardly heard about anything else since it happened.

We Grope Together And Avoid Speech

Making the rounds yesterday was a stern item from Patrick Buchanan on terrorism and the modern West. An excerpt: What has happened to a West that once ruled the world? By any measure — military, economic, scientific — the Islamic State, compared to the West, is a joke. What the Islamists do have, however, is […]

Islam Takes The Lead

I note that Brussels, Belgium, is “locked down” for the third consecutive day in response to a threat of assault by Muslim fighters. Think of that! This great and gracious Western city, the capital of united Europe, is closed for business. Shops are shuttered, cafes and restaurants closed, public transportation suspended, and the streets, until […]

More On “Universal” Values

The Maverick Philosopher, William Vallicella, has responded to my own reply to his thoughts on the universality of Western values. I’ve just posted a longish comment over at his place. Read Bill’s post here. Related content from Sphere

What ISIS Wants

I’m beginning to find it a little tiresome being told what “ISIS wants”. My irritation is in large part because people keep telling me that “what ISIS wants” is for us to do those reasonable things that any sane polity would do to eliminate a problem that is at best a serious and continuous source […]

The “Refugee” Question: Further Thoughts

In the discussion thread under our previous post, a commenter directed our readers’ attention to an article by Megan McArdle on the question of settling “Syrian” “refugees” in the United States. Further discussion ensued. Ms. McArdle’s essay is helpful in that it identifies six low tactics that proponents of Syrian refugee resettlement have been using: […]

Katy, Bar The Door

The idea of settling myriads of Syrian “refugees” here in the U.S. is, I’m glad to see, meeting some heavy headwinds. Dozens of governors have refused to comply, and now the House has passed a bill that seeks to make the “vetting” process more rigorous. (That latter, though, is really just a gesture; “vetting” Muslim […]


When I was a young man (and dinosaurs trod the earth), if a person found himself accidentally obstructing someone’s way, he said: “Excuse me.” This is no longer so. Now, everyone says: “Sorry”. Why is this? When I first noticed this change, a year or two a ago, I thought nothing much of it. Now […]


From James Taranto’s Best of the Web, today: “There’s something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that. There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of—not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, OK, they’re […]

Ursa Major

Today’s NightWatch newsletter consisted mostly of a detailed report on Russian actions in the Middle East. I don’t do this often, as I do not want to violate fair use of their content, but I will reproduce this section of the newsletter in its entirety below the fold. (If you have an interest in international […]

Are Values Universal?

Writing at his blog The Maverick Philosopher, our friend Bill Vallicella gave our “What Now?” post a commendatory link. I thank him for that. Bill is a serious thinker — a highly trained expert in thinking itself, with a professional philosopher’s expertise in detecting and clearing away rubbish — and I’m always glad to have […]

Eppur, Si Muove!

Commenting on a recent post, our reader “John” writes: …the urge to speak truth to leftist insanity is immense. But by doing so you expose yourself to tremendous risk… Yes, I’ve thought about that a lot. Most bloggers who write from a contrarian position about these things seem to use noms de plume. In fact, […]

Le Meta-Petard

In an essay about the Paris attacks, Richard Fernandez writes: The dilemma the West now faces is that it cannot survive on the basis of the platform which its elites have carefully constructed since WW2. They are being beaten to death with their own lofty statements. They must either continue to uphold the vision of […]

What Now?

I have said this before, and I will say it again: allowing mass Muslim immigration is the stupidest and most irreversibly self-destructive thing that any Western nation can do. So in the wake of the Paris attacks, is it reasonable to imagine that Western nations, reeling from yet another inevitable and predictable act of jihad, […]


In a comment to a recent post, I expressed a dark sentiment that is as close as any sympathetic and historically literate observer of this late stage of Western civilization can realistically come to “hope”: namely that when the pathogen now ravaging our culture has assaulted enough of its tissues and vital organs, it will […]

The Fall

I’ve always loved this season. Here are a few of the snapshots that have piled up on my smart-phone this autumn. Turkeys in my front yard the other day (they should be more careful this time of year, especially keeping in mind that we grow a lot of cranberries out here): Cape Cod Bay from […]

Phase 2: ?

In what I think is called “must-see TV”, Neil Cavuto interviews one Keely Mullen, of the Million Student March, on the details of her plan. Here.

It Is Balloon

Here’s an excerpt from a post I wrote five years ago. It still seems current, so I thought I’d repost it here today. The expanded modern liberal Western mind, stripped of reverence for its cultural heritage — and having shed, as a snake sheds an outgrown skin, the scaffolding and buttresses of traditional standards and […]

Amoebic Dissent

Commenting on the chaos on college campuses in recent weeks, our reader ‘Whitewall’ asks: “…may [there] be cracks forming in one of the supports of The Cathedral?” I don’t see it that way. Keep in mind that what we call the “Cathedral” is a large complex of distinct components: thousands of academic, media and political […]

Beyond Time, Beyond Strife

From the ridiculous — see yesterday’s posts — to the sublime: The Lark Ascending, by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

On The Hustings

Just watched some of the GOP debate. Best moment of the evening: George Will quoted on Twitter as calling John Kasich “a Roman candle of undiagrammable sentences.” Carly Fiorina did well tonight, except I think she wants to start World War III. (Rand Paul noticed that too.) Jeb Bush, who really should, at this point, […]

A Monumental Precedent

Heather Mac Donald — whom, I am happy to say, I had the pleasure of meeting last night — weighs in here on the Left’s newest weapon in its “long march” through the institutions of our civilization. It’s a doozie, too: college athletics. Related content from Sphere

More Is Less

Here’s a headline from today’s Washington Post: A decade into a project to digitize U.S. immigration forms, just 1 is online The cost? So far, a billion dollars, of your money and mine. By the time the project is completed, in oh, three more years, we’re told, it should be over three billion. (Unless, of […]


The other day I spotted a few headlines that I thought bore some connection to one another. They were: Death Rates Rising for Middle-Aged White Americans, Study Finds …and: Small Towns Face Rising Suicide Rates. …and: Americans becoming less religious, especially young adults. There was also this: Illinois District Violated Transgender Student’s Rights, U.S. Says. […]


In the comment-thread to a recent post on hoplophobes, our reader ‘libertybelle’ put up a link to an excellent essay defining three human types. It deserves promotion to the front page. We read: If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen: a sheep. If you have a capacity for […]

Switch Off The Future

I don’t write about music much these days (though it’s starting to seem so pointless to write about the things I have been writing about that I should probably do so more often). But if any of you are fans of the musical genre known as “progressive rock”, I have something for you, something that […]

Odd Couple

I grew up in rural western New Jersey, where guns, and hunting, were ubiquitous. There was no mystique about them, and no agenda; they were just another thing. I learned to shoot as a little boy, and used to love plinking with a .22 at the farm down the road where my best friend lived. […]

Sol Invictus

NASA has just released a painstakingly crafted, half-hour high-resolution video of the Sun. It is fantastic. See it here, and make sure to watch it full-screen.

Sex As Quantum Observation

Conception collapses the biological Eigenfunktion: from an infinite probability-cloud of sperm and ova is instantiated a particular actuality.

Hold That Thought!

“Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him till he emerges on the other side of his Atlantic with his verb in his mouth.” — Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court Related content from Sphere

Living Doll

Where we’ve got to with humanoid robots, here.

Society As Viscoelastic Liquid

There was a lot of push-back in yesterday’s elections: a new, conservative governor in Kentucky, a “gun-control” defeat in Virginia, a restroom reaction in Houston, a “sanctuary sheriff” defeated in San Francisco, and a pot-legalization defeat in Ohio, to name a few. Longtime readers will know that “I never metaphor I didn’t like”, so here’s […]

Corruption In Eastern Europe: Tail Or Dog?

From a review, by Roger Scruton, of Russell Kirk’s America’s British Culture (1993): Kirk identifies a culture in anthropological fashion, as a set of “folkways”—inherited forms, procedures, expectations, and customs, which together define a communal way of life. Four principal folkways define America’s British inheritance: the English language and its literature, the rule of law, […]

Magic Dirt

In a completely off-topic comment to a recent post, our resident Leftist gadfly mentioned the Higgs boson. By a strange coincidence, John Derbyshire just mentioned it too! Here.

Mutatis Mutandis

A central theme of “neoreaction”, which draws a direct line from 17th-century New England to post-modern liberalism, is that modern Leftism, and therefore the cultural, ideological, academic and political framework of the 21st-century West, is a religion in search of a God. (As someone once said, the easiest way to understand the state of affairs […]

You Can Never Be Too Virtuous

Following on our previous post, I”d be remiss not to bring to your attention a white-paper from the French-based Société de Calcul Mathématique, which specializes in complex mathematical modeling, on the “climate change” cryptoreligion. In the paper’s summary, we read: All public policies, in France, Europe and throughout the world, find their origin and inspiration […]

Ice, Ice, Baby

If you’ve been reading the news carefully, you may have noticed some stories about something that used to be called “global warming”, and is now, I think, referred to as “climate change”. The idea, if I understand it correctly, is that the Earth is getting warmer — which of course it has done often in […]

Truth Or Consequences

When a society comes to believe that nothing should have consequences, it soon will face very serious consequences indeed.

House Of Pudding

In a fine rant, Fred Reed examines the national character, and finds it wanting. We read: The United States has become a nation of weak, pampered, easily frightened, helpless milquetoasts who have never caught a fish, fired a gun, chopped a log, hitchhiked across the country, or been in a schoolyard fight. If their cat […]