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Cliven Bundy And The Rural Way

Thanks to Bill Keezer for sending this our way: a fine, wistful meditation by Victor Davis Hanson on a vanishing species. It is the way of aging men to mourn the world they loved, and the treasures they hoped in vain they might cherish and keep safe for their children’s children. But of course we […]

Goodbye, Rigor

Hello, … well, something very different indeed. Here’s an article about what college “debate” has become.

Nationalism vs. Empire

In his latest column, Patrick Buchanan argues that what confounded the Soviet empire, and what will keep Vladimir Putin’s revanchist ambitions in check today, is not sanctions or military threats, but a rising tide of nationalism. We read: Before we start sending troops back to Europe, as we did 65 years ago under Harry Truman, […]

C.I.V. — A Case Study

In a splenetic comment to an earlier post, a reader presents us with a clinical example of what I have called Cultural Immunodeficiency Virus: an AIDS-like memetic infection that attacks the social organism’s immune system, rendering it incapable of making essential discriminations — in particular, exactly those self/other distinctions that any organism must make to […]

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This

Here’s a fine online edition of Philogelos, the world’s oldest joke book.

Gee, What A Coincidence

Megan McArdle comments on the Obama administration’s conveniently timed revamp of insurance-data collection: I’m speechless. Shocked. Stunned. Horrified. Befuddled. Aghast, appalled, thunderstruck, perplexed, baffled, bewildered and dumbfounded. It’s not that I am opposed to the changes: Everyone understands that the census reports probably overstate the true number of the uninsured, because the number they report […]

Settled, Schmettled

Here’s a calm and reasonable article about “climate change”. The author is Lennart Bengtsson, an impeccably credentialed climate researcher. We read: More CO2 in the atmosphere leads undoubtedly to a warming of the earth surface. However, the extent and speed of this warming are still uncertain, because we cannot yet separate well enough the greenhouse […]

Endangered Species

Here’s a good piece by Jon Hinderaker on the Bundy affair.

And Then My Heart With Pleasure Fills

It’s just spring here in Wellfleet, and suddenly there are daffodils everywhere. I love daffodils; they seem perfect to me. They sing of warm spring sunlight, and cool clear air, and dark fertile soil, and of beauty unvanquished. I’ve always thought that daffodils are pure joy. I’ve written in these pages, from time to time, […]

Hate Speech

I just took an online survey called “How Stereotypically White Are You?” It offers a hundred criteria, and asks the respondent to check all that apply. Most of them were things like “Have you ever listened to John Mayer while hooking up with someone?” (The sort of questions I might have asked — “Have you […]

How Heartbleed Works

A simple explanation from Randall Munroe.


We’ve been hacked, it seems. Perhaps it’s that ‘Heartbleed’ business, although my understanding was that Bluehost, my hosting service, had not been affected. Thanks to Matt Walker for leaving a comment on one of the (now deleted) spam posts to tell us that our RSS feed is corrupted also. Our in-house team of cyberterrorism experts […]


Brandeis University has rescinded its decision to award Aayan Hirsi Ali an honorary degree at this year’s commencement. You might have thought that a Jewish liberal-arts institution that was sufficiently impressed by Ms. Ali’s advocacy of women’s rights to offer her this honor wouldn’t be put off by her outspoken criticism of a culture that […]

Phase Transition

A story that’s making the rounds today concerns trending changes in the way people read. Here’s the lede, from today’s Washington Post: Claire Handscombe has a commitment problem online. Like a lot of Web surfers, she clicks on links posted on social networks, reads a few sentences, looks for exciting words, and then grows restless, […]

Creative Destruction

My Android phone just had a stroke, and I had to do a factory reset. I lost all my applications, which meant I had to go rummaging around to replace them. It’s turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because I’ve found some nifty new ones, and after blasting away all the cruft that […]


Too much social/political stuff lately. Will lay off for a while.

Another Witch-Burning

This time it’s Javascript inventor Brendan Eich, who failed to pull his neck in quickly enough as the Overton Window sped leftward. He was defenestrated today as head of Mozilla, for supporting a rational ideological position that every society on earth — and even Barack Obama himself — defended until just a couple of years […]

Charles Murray Responds to HuffPo Vituperation

Recently the Huffington Post took a big swipe at Charles Murray, with all the intellectual rigor we’ve come to expect from the blank-slate universalist Left. The argument appears to be that he’s a racist, sexist old white guy, so everything he says must, a priori, be false, and therefore beneath refutation. (When an idea is […]


– Zoomable panorama of the Milky Way. – “Wrong again, dear.” – What women want. – :-( – Privilege!. – How the blow-fly flies. – Biohazard. – Now that’s a rat. – Mate In 10! – Warning: major time-sink. – WWI as bar-fight. – How is this man alive? – Aesop updated. – Good clean […]

Chemotherapy For A Cold

Matt Ridley comments on the latest round of climate reports from the UN, here. I present this simply in the interest of balance, of course. I find it necessary to reiterate our own editorial position on global warming “climate change” from time to time, so here it is: 1) The Earth may indeed be warming; […]

Women At War!

I’ve written before (see here, here and here) about my mother-in-law, Lily Renée Willheim Phillips, who was born in Vienna, fled the Nazis in the Kindertransport, and made her way first to England and then to New York. Once she got here, she took up a job drawing comic books, working at a company called […]


It’s lousy out: chilly and raining. It occurred to me earlier, as I was taking note of this, that there are an awful lot of words for this sort of weather, all beginning with ‘d’: damp, dark, dispiriting, dreary, dull, dismal, disagreeable, drenching, dank, drab, doleful, dim, depressing, and probably some others I haven’t thought […]


Patrick Buchanan’s been on a bit of a roll lately. In his latest, he invites us to look at this Ukrainian ruction from the Russian point of view.

Fair-Weather Friend

The political statistician Nate Silver recently predicted that the Democrats might lose the Senate this fall (insh’Allah). This has caused some consternation over on the Left. Mr. Silver also moved his blog, recently, from the New York Times to ESPN. In an item published earlier today, he notes that this seems to have ruffled a […]

The Center Cannot Hold

In case you missed it, Venice has just voted to secede from Italy. It’s happening all over Europe: a backlash against centralization, a resurgence of identitarianism, and a yearning for local control. (It’s happening in America, too.) When I was in Venice and Florence in 2012, it seemed that almost any conversation with the locals […]

The Heat Death Of The Universe

Back in February the New York Times Magazine published an article about the decline of eros in the modern-day marriage. The story noted a surprising fact: where there is less differentiation in gender roles, there tends to be less sex. We read: A study called “Egalitarianism, Housework and Sexual Frequency in Marriage,” which appeared in […]


– Learn a card trick from Penn and Teller. – Credit where credit’s due. – A survey of meteorologists on “climate change”. – Where the wild things are. – Unintended consequences of Britain’s welfare state. – Bead chains in action. – Why Intelligent Design retains its broad appeal. – Height and IQ. – The Museum […]


Boy, what a week. Not being a man of independent means, I still must toil for my daily crust, and this week that included a 24-hour-long workday spanning Tuesday and Wednesday (a software crisis in the Antipodes, now resolved). I used to do a lot of those as a youthful studio rat, but for a […]

Between Two Chairs

Blessed is he who hath a soul, Blessed is he who hath none, Woe and sorrow to him who hath it in conception. – Gurdjieff

Current Events

Well, it appears from yesterday’s referendum that the people of Crimea would rather be Russian. Vladimir Putin is glad to welcome them back to the Motherland. The Obama administration, which didn’t want to see the referendum happen at all, imposed some punitive measures on a few Russian big-shots, but nobody over there seems to mind […]

Family Matters

Our e-pal hbd*chick has just put up a fascinating post on the Hajnal Line. The what? The Hajnal Line marks a boundary between areas of Europe characterized by different marriage practices. Among hbd*chick’s primary areas of interest is the effect these differences have had on both culture and genome in historical time. Hie thee thither […]

It’s On

Over at VDare, John Derbyshire reviews A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History, a forthcoming book by chief New York Times science writer Nicholas Wade. The book is important — a watershed, really. For the first time (that I’m aware of, at least), a major writer with impeccable Cathedral credentials brings squarely into mainstream […]

The Minimum Wage, Part 2

A while back I agreed to comment on a New York Times editorial advocating a rise in the minimum wage. (The editorial, entitled The Clear Benefits of a Higher Wage, is here.) The brief editorial’s main point is that a minimum-wage increase cannot be reliably expected to cause enough of an increase in unemployment to […]

You Get What You Pay For

WSJ columnist James Taranto has a regular feature in his Best of the Web newlsetter, in which he posts news items where obvious cause-and-effect relationships are presented as baffling paradoxes. A typical such item might be a headline that says “Despite Historically Low Crime Rate, Incarcerations Are At All-Time High”. He had a good one […]

Comic Relief

I’m working late tonight, as I often do on Tuesdays. To ease my toil, I generally listen to classical music on Pandora; one of today’s highlights was the pyrotechnic allegro ma non troppo from the Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso for Violin and Orchestra in A Minor, by Camille Saint-Saëns, as played by the incomparable, and […]

Shoulder-High We Bring You Home

It was a sad day today: the lovely Nina and I drove to Philadelphia to attend a memorial service for the twenty-eight-year-old son of some dear friends. The young man, who died suddenly and unexpectedly, had made a very deep and very positive impression on a great many people’s lives, and hundreds were in attendance. […]


While all eyes are on Ukraine, it would be easy to lose sight of an earlier U.S. foreign-policy triumph: Libya. Has it really been a year and a half since we stopped having to worry about how to spell ‘Khadaffy’? How time flies. Anyway, in case you were wondering, it’s going straight to hell — […]

Cage Fighter vs. Pajama Boy

OK, one more on the events in Ukraine, this time from DiploMad. (h/t to Bill Keezer.) Key excerpt: “Putin is a patriot; Obama is not.”


Here’s another good article about Putin’s play in the Ukraine (or just “Ukraine”; I can’t keep track).

Hey, This Is Easy!

From the Times: WASH­ING­TON — The Oba­ma ad­min­is­tra­tion, strug­gling with con­tin­ued po­lit­i­cal fall­out over its trou­bled health care law, said Wednes­day that it would al­low con­sumers to re­new health in­sur­ance poli­cies that do not com­ply with the law for two more years. The ac­tion is a re­flec­tion of the dif­fi­cul­ties the pres­i­dent has faced as […]


XKCD is always clever, and often brilliant. I like this one in particular.

History? How Many Divisions Does He Have?

I’ve been hearing a lot lately about Vladimir Putin’s being behind the curve, history-wise. The reader who sent me that Ceylan Özbudak article yesterday, for example, said in his email to me that “territorial gain is an atavistic idea”, as well as saying that “I really question how strong supposed ethnic/historical affiliations are at this […]

Her Knight In Shining Armor

Here’s a depressing commentary on, among other things, the quality of the modern American male (my emphasis): Woman Going Into Labor Robbed in Anne Arundel County – A woman reported to be in labor and her boyfriend were robbed in Annapolis as they headed to a hospital, police said. The couple was confronted by three […]

Ukraine: Jottings

I haven’t said much here about the situation in Ukraine; it would be like shooting fish in a barrel to use this latest ruction as an opportunity to highlight the incompetence of this administration’s foreign-policy team, and anyway, others have beaten me to it. (I will, however, recall that during the 2012 presidential campaign, Mitt […]

HBD 101

Given the popularity in recent years of books like Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate, and the ready availability of reference material on the internet — and given also the accumulated wisdom of the ages, the testimony of our own eyes, and simple common sense — it always comes as a bit of a shock to […]

The Minimum Wage, Part 1

There’s been a lot of argument lately about whether to raise the minimum wage, and I haven’t had much to say about it in these pages. But a comment in a recent thread got me digging into the topic more deeply than I had before, and so it’s time for a post about it, I […]


In a Takimag article called Useless Mouths, John Derbyshire looks at the road ahead, as technology displaces more and more workers. I recall that this sort of gloomy forecast was common when I was a boy, but I think this time round it’s more on the mark. (Barring a Butlerian Jihad, that is.) Things have […]

Service Notice

We’ll probably be offline for a few days. Meanwhile, here’s something interesting to read. Update: this is a good one too: with a hat tip to Bill K., a fine rant from VDH.

The Idols Of The Tribe

Our previous post touched once again on how liberal orthodoxy habituates its adherents to deny reality and suppress the expression of truth. One such truth is the near-total hegemony of liberal orthodoxy itself in the social sciences, and of course our leading liberal commenter has wasted no time in denying it. (As I said in […]

Battle Lines

Last year I wrote this about liberal orthodoxy’s unavoidable antagonism to truth: A sine qua non for the modern liberal ideologue is a flair for living comfortably in a state of cognitive dissonance. This is made necessary by the internal contradictions of his worldview, and by its frequent, and calamitous, collisions with the social, political, […]