Category Archives: General

Whatever doesn’t obviously go anywhere else.

The Futility Of Memorials

For nearly all of us, a gravestone or other physical memorial is in any real sense as temporal, as evanescent, a thing as we ourselves are. For when such memorials no longer serve as a token, reminder, or feeble proxy for the deceased in the minds of those who knew them, they simply display a […]

“White Supremacy”

Our e-pal Bill Vallicella, the Maverick Philosopher, has a post up about “white supremacy”, a loosely defined term that is very much en vogue just now. Dr. Vallicella quotes Robert Paul Wolff: Hatred has fundamentally very little to do with White Supremacy. White Supremacy is a policy of domination and economic superiority of Whites in […]

Rut-Roh

Four years ago, I wrote the following thing: America’s ideological landscape is like the continent itself: transected by deep fault-lines at the irregular boundaries of rigid plates. Though crushed tightly together, these great masses seek to move in different directions, and so they strain relentlessly against one another. The pressure builds, and builds — until, […]

Service Notice

More than a few readers have complained to me about the “Captcha” used to screen comments here. I’ve just installed a new one that, for most of you, shouldn’t be visible at all. I hope it works well enough that I can keep using it. Related content from Sphere

Back!

Well, our daughter’s wedding happened this past Saturday, and it was a splendid event. We still have guests in town, and follow-on activities, but things are getting back to normal around the Pollack household, and I’ll soon be back in harness here at the blog. Thank you all for your patience. Meanwhile, here are just […]

Service Notice

I apologize for the slowness around here. With house-guests, and a wedding coming up, the actual world has pre-empted the online world for a little while now, and will do so for another couple of weeks. If the Muse grabs me by the collar, I’ll find the time to write, but posting will likely be […]

When In The Course Of Human Events…

Here we are again: it’s Independence Day, 2017, and the nation feels more deeply divided than ever in my lifetime — even more profoundly so, it seems to me, than it did in the Sixties. I say this for two reasons. First, back then the nation was far less heterogeneous; the real demographic inundation of […]

Florida

I found myself chatting online this morning with an old friend from my New York studio days. I was dismayed to learn that he’d moved to Florida. I’ve never seen the appeal, I must confess, of the “Sunshine State”. It’s always seemed to me a tacky and unserious place — like southern California without the […]

Power Tools

Some years ago I read The 48 Laws of Power, by Robert Greene. The book, which has become an international best-seller, has its flaws, but it is, on the whole, a sharp and insightful distillation of timeless principles. Today I ran across a half-hour animated summary of this vade mecum for the ruthlessly ambitious. Here […]

Service Update

I must apologize for the lack of content here over the past week or so. As I mentioned earlier, it’s been a busy time: sadly, I still must labor to earn the daily crust, and meanwhile we have been preparing for a wedding. (Also, on Monday the 12th, the lovely Nina and I celebrated our […]

Service Notice

A busy few days here. Back in a bit.

Western Man

   

Domino Theory

Here’s a video clip that dramatically illustrates an interesting and counterintuitive fact: a small domino can knock over a domino up to 50% bigger than itself. This means that this knocking-over can very quickly “scale up”.   How is this possible? The first domino in this video can’t weigh more than a gram, while the […]

The Very Model Of A Modern Marxist Jabberwock

Our reader and commenter Robert, a.k.a. “Whitewall”, has sent along an item from the University of Chicago Divinity School’s newsletter Sightings. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the mind of the postmodern cult-Marx priesthood that haunts the halls of the 21st-century Cathedral. (That is to say, the ones who are responsible for the grooming and education […]

Peccavi

Recently I quoted Col. Jeff Cooper. Our e-pal Bill Keezer passed along the quotation to Bill Vallicella, who reposted it on his blog. Bill did, however, notice that I had offered no source, and remarked that he doesn’t like unsourced quotations. He looked for a source, and couldn’t find one. I can’t either. I have […]

Service Notice

After much wrangling with Bluehost, I believe the server-side caching problems we’ve been having with the site are now fixed. Please leave a comment if you see any more odd behavior. Related content from Sphere

Sam Harris Interviews Charles Murray

Here’s something to listen to: a roving two-hour conversation between Sam Harris and Charles Murray. Of particular value is their discussion of the hard reality of intelligence, and of its measurability, its heritability, and the cross-cultural reliability of intelligence tests. Also: the word that changed the history of the world. Related content from Sphere

Service Notice

There’s been some odd behavior here – strange lags between publishing and items appearing, and comments appearing under the wrong author’s name. I don’t know what’s going wrong, but I do recall there being a recent WordPress update. I’ll try to sort it out. I invite affected commenters to leave a comment on this post […]

What Can I Say?

At the moment I must confess to being almost utterly exhausted, for some reason, by news and events. It’s not for lack of material to comment on: the Western polity is disintegrating, our nuclear fleet is steaming toward North Korea, there’s a mad killer on the loose, and that’s just the stuff above the fold […]

High Mileage, And Out Of Warranty

I’m sixty-one today. That’s getting on a bit, but fortunately I have the body of a twenty-five-year-old. (It’s in the trunk of my car, if you’d like to have a look.) As always, we extend natal salutations to: Guy Fawkes, Thomas Jefferson, F.W. Woolworth, James Ensor, Butch Cassidy, Sir Arthur “Bomber” Harris, Robert Watson-Watt, Samuel […]

The Merchant of Venom

Don Rickles is dead at 90. Little by little dies an era.

Across The Great Divide

Well, here is something quite remarkable for our time: an actual “conversation about race” in which two people, with completely incommensurable axioms and worldviews, discuss the topic for a full hour without shouting each other down, or resorting to violence. (Astonishingly, there isn’t even any mention of Hitler.) The interlocutors are Jared Taylor, of American […]

The Principle Of Least Action

“The ordinary man prefers easy ways so long as they may be followed, and is almost willfully heedless whether they end at last in a cul-de-sac.” — H.G. Wells, The Outline of History, p. 359 Related content from Sphere

Court v. Constitution

By now you’ve probably heard about the flagrantly tendentious decision by the Fourth Circuit in Kolbe v. Hogan, which upheld a flimsy “assault-weapons” ban in Maryland. The ruling is here. Here, here, here, and here are some responses. Related content from Sphere

Join Or Die

Our previous post touched on the inexorable encroachment of sensors and listening devices into every cranny of our lives. In the comment-thread I mentioned a “particular nightmare” of my own, and said I’d describe it in a new post. It is this: given the exponential advances being made in brain-machine interfaces and nanotech, I see […]

Tekhwan

With a hat-tip to the indefatigable JK, here’s an interesting little item: three Congressional IT staffers — brothers Abid, Imran, and Jamal Awan — may have been using their access to snoop. Related content from Sphere

Could California Secede?

In the comment-thread to a recent post, our commenter Henry argues that Calexit, as the Golden State’s secession movement refers to its goal, is a non-starter. Is it? Is secession prohibited by the Constitution? Not explicitly. By Constitutional interpretation? Well, there’s Texas v. White (1869). Wikipedia has excerpted some key passages from Salmon P. Chase’s […]

I Drink, Therefore I Am

Why is there civilization? To make beer, of course. Duh.

Earthquake Weather

Here’s me, three years ago: America’s ideological landscape is like the continent itself: transected by deep fault-lines at the irregular boundaries of rigid plates. Though crushed tightly together, these great masses seek to move in different directions, and so they strain relentlessly against one another. The pressure builds, and builds — until, sooner or later, […]

R.I.P.

Today we note with sadness two deaths: the actress Mary Tyler Moore, and the drummer Butch Trucks. Mary Tyler Moore was a beloved figure in American popular culture, and rightly so: she was gifted, beautiful, charming, funny, intelligent, decent, and magnetically appealing. She touched nothing that she did not adorn, and I think I speak […]

Like A Rug

With a hat-tip to Bill Keezer, here’s a scathing response to our Praetorian press.

So Long, BOTW

The Wall Street Journal editor James Taranto has for many years published a daily digest called Best of the Web. I’ve always enjoyed reading it: Mr. Taranto is a smart and funny guy, an astute observer, and a good writer. Mr. Taranto has now been promoted to editor of the paper’s op-ed pages, and BOTW […]

I’m Trying…

I’ll confess that its been a little hard to get back “up to speed” here since our little vacation. While we were away I was almost completely disconnected from the Internet, and from the news media. I thought I might draft a few posts, but the days and nights were full, and I never even […]

Back

We’ve returned from our trip to the British Isles. It was a splendid, if not exactly slimming, trip (too many pints and convivial repasts for that, I’m afraid), and it was nice to be almost completely off-line throughout, paying almost no attention to social media and the news. Among the highlights (besides being with family […]

Off For the Hols

We’re heading off across the pond for a couple of weeks to visit family old and new. Things will probably be pretty quiet here till the week of the 8th, but you never know: there may be reports from abroad. Feel free to browse our eleven years of archived posts (4,292 as of this entry), […]

12/8

It’s been a busy week, with scant time for writing. So just a couple of brief notes: First, it was a month ago tonight that an amazingly wonderful thing happened: we sent the Clintons packing. I still can’t believe we really did it. But we did! Also, I should note the death of John Glenn. […]

Different Animals

Consensus is orthogonal to truth.

Flags, Speech, and Symbols

Not long ago I had a little rhubarb on Twitter with my old e-pal Kevin Kim on the subject of flag-burning. Kevin had quoted George Carlin’s remark that he preferred to leave symbols to the “symbol-minded”. The meaning of Mr. Carlin’s remark, and of Kevin’s quoting it, is clear enough: that the flag is just […]

Happy Thanksgiving!

…to all of you. Given recent events, I’m sure it will be a contentious gathering in millions of homes across the country. That’s a shame, because we ought, if we really want, to be able to put social and political externalities aside for one day. Thanksgiving is a beautiful holiday, and a necessary idea. All […]

The Umbrella Man

Today’s offering, courtesy of War on the Rocks: an essay on the study of history, from MIT’s Francis J. Gavin. Here.

Not To Worry

My liberal Jewish friends are on the fainting couch after the Trump victory. One said to my wife that as a Jew he now felt very afraid of what might be coming. I think they should relax. Here’s the economist David P. Goldman, whom you may know as the pseudonymous Asia Times columnist “Spengler”, and […]

Socratic Method – NOT

My old e-pal Kevin Kim and I have just had an unpleasant falling-out, the result of what I thought was a spirited, but not unfriendly, back-and-forth on Twitter last night about flag-burning, the power of symbols, and the persistent truths of human nature. The topic is an interesting and important one, and one that is […]

Service Notice

Our daughter’s visiting from Austria with our infant grandson, and we are all out of town for a wedding this weekend. Back soon. Chat amongst yourselves, if you like.

Rise And Fall

Here’s a fine animation showing the expansions and contractions of religions and empires over the past two thousand years.

Sunday Sermonette

Just a couple of links to get the ball rolling on this busy Sunday: first, a pungent jeremaid by Lewis Amselem, a.k.a. Diplomad (nothing we haven’t all been saying, really, but a fine summary of where matters stand), and then John Schindler with a retrospective look at the F.B.I’s role in Mrs. Clinton’s email affair. […]

That Time Of Year Again

Tomorrow will be the first day of autumn, my favorite season. Here’s a musing on the topic from ten years ago.

Star Trek

Last year about this time I spent a delightful weekend on Star Island, a rocky speck off the cost of New Hampshire, and this weekend I’m doing it again. Why leave the charming seaside village of Wellfleet, and all the comforts of home, for spartan accommodations on a remote, craggy islet? It’s because I have […]

Temporal Provincialism

Our reader Robert, a.k.a. Whitewall, posted in the comment-thread to our previous post a link to an editorial piece from The New Criterion (by way of Instapundit; the original is here). It deserves promotion from comment to post. The piece, which is presumably by Roger Kimball, the editor of New Criterion, uses a beautiful phrase […]

Right, Then

Now that all the fuss is over, it’s time to relax a little. The lovely Nina and I will be here in the heart of Europe for another week or so, and may do a little touring around. After that is August, when this blog traditionally goes mostly silent for a summer break. I’m sure […]

Liam Brendan Wright

With his mother, our daughter Chloe, about an hour ago. A very happy day for us all. Related content from Sphere