Category Archives: Society and Culture

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

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: […]


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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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


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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

In The Gloaming

Making the rounds today (hat-tips to, among others, Bill Vallicella and our commenter Whitewall) is a jeremiad by Victor Davis Hanson, who has made these lamentations his métier in recent years. In this one, he mourns in particular the lost virtues of the West: the qualities that made our civilization shine so brightly, that gave […]

On Growth And Form

Montesquieu: “It is in the nature of a republic to have only a small territory; otherwise, it can scarcely continue to exist… In a large republic, the common good is sacrificed to a thousand considerations; it is subordinated to exceptions, it depends upon accidents. In a small one, the public good is better felt, better […]

Destroyer Of Worlds

The modern attitude places the burden of proof upon every aspect of traditional life. All is disposable unless proven necessary, including even the axioms upon which such proof depends. What vessel could contain this universal acid? Related content from Sphere

Memes And Species

A culture, a civilization, is a memetic ecosystem. If one species — a ritual, a tradition, a way of modeling some aspect of the world — goes extinct, the effect may reverberate through the entire habitat. Related content from Sphere

La Difference

Back in 2007, psychologist Roy F. Baumeister gave a talk on why men and women are not the same. It’s lucid and thoughtful, and well worth your time. Read it here. Related content from Sphere


In our recent post on neoreactionary bloggers, we noted again, as we have often done before, the applicability of the Second Law of Thermodynamics to social decay. Our reader ‘antiquarian’, in the comment thread, pointed out that the late Robert Conquest’s (p.b.u.h.) Second Law of Politics also describes an entropic rule. For those of you […]

Reactionary Roundup

“Neoreactionaries” are a wordy bunch, and it’s hard to keep up with the volume of blogorrhea they produce every week. If you’re interested, Nick B. Steves, who appears these days to be NRx’s General Secretary, posts his own gleanings from the “reactosphere” in a weekly, somewhat Catholic-leaning summary, here, and he’s also put together a […]


In the mail today came a link to an excellent, informative, and even-handed article on inequality, social mobility, and the heritability of advantageous traits. The author is an Englishman named Toby Young, and he zeroes in nicely on the question one comes to once one has hacked through the thorny ideological thicket surrounding these topics. […]

Trust: Our Strength, Our Fatal Weakness

The indefatigable JK has posted a link, in one of our recent comment threads, to an outstanding article that deserves promotion to the front page: an in-depth look at high- and low-trust societies and how they got that way. Read it here. Related content from Sphere

Rights For Robots?

In today’s newsletter (which I recommend again to you all), we find a link to the following story: Incident of drunk man kicking humanoid robot raises legal questions We read: A few weeks ago, a drunk man in Japan was arrested for kicking a humanoid robot that was stationed as a greeter at a […]

As I was Saying…

I’ve written several posts about the culture of victimhood and microaggression now hegemonic in academia and eslewhere. Among other points, I’ve noted that such a culture of perceived oppression is actually made possible only by the clemency of the ambient culture: It is as if the grievance culture is a little ‘virtual machine’ running inside […]

Dawkins And Diversity

With the migrant crisis in Europe at full boil, immigration is a hot topic. I’ve just had another round with our multiculturalist gadfly in the previous post’s comment thread, but of course we’ve been over all of this before. I invite readers to review, in particular, the long and patient discussion we had here, which […]

As The World Burns

Though it’s September, and time to get back to business around here, I haven’t had enough quiet time over the past few days to do any serious writing. (Though you may find it hard to believe, it actually takes me rather a long time to produce a substantial post — and then there’s coming up […]

How Frogs Are Boiled

With a hat-tip to our reader and commenter Libertybelle, here’s a strong piece by Mark Steyn on the way things happen.

Order And Disorder

Here is an article from Vox about a trans-gendered high-school student, with a female body, who wants to use the boy’s bathroom. The title of the piece is: A federal judge said being transgender is a mental disorder. Here’s why he’s wrong. The piece relies for its argument on the recent (2013) reclassification, by the […]

The ‘National Conversation’ Continues

Here’s a good post by Lewis Amselem, a.k.a. ‘Diplomad’, on race relations in the West. He begins: Let me be blunt: I find that discussions of race quickly get boring, idiotic, inconclusive, and, often, verbally and even physically violent. Race tells you very little if anything about a person and his or her attributes except, […]


Stop me if you’ve heard this one: A biology professor and two of his graduate students are doing field-work in the jungle. Suddenly they are surrounded by tribal warriors brandishing spears and clubs. They are quickly subdued and taken to a village a few miles away. The Chief appears. He glowers at them and says: […]

The New RINO

It appears that the intellectual and philosophical conclave known as ‘neo-reaction’, or the ‘Dark Enlightenment’, has just made its first memetic inroad into the broader political culture, with the derogatory neologism ‘cuckservative’. The term refers to ‘conservatives’, generally white and male, who, cowed and ensorcelled by the hegemonic multiculturalism and relativism of what neo-reactionaries calls […]

A Respectful Whistle

This may ring a bell: There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and […]

America’s Jacobins: Feeling Their Avoine

Recently a commenter scoffed at suggestions that, given the sudden anathematization of all things Confederate, statues honoring Confederate heroes might soon be removed. Fast forward a week, and we’re already moving past anything so tame as that — to the actual disinterment of the dead. No announcement yet as to which lamp-post will display the […]

The Culture War: Dispatch From The Front

The other day, in the context of the gagging and grinding-into-the-dust of a dissenting Oregonian baker, I mentioned Tom Nichols’ observation about the difference between authoritarians and totalitarians: that the former only cares about what you do, while the latter must also control what you think. Totalitarians demand not only obedience, but conversion. Mr. Nichols […]

Troubleshooting Gun Violence

A recent exchange on Twitter (another urgent call for gun bans, in reaction to the spree-killing in Charleston) reminded me once again the extent to which gun-control zealots are driven, not by reason and wisdom, but by missionary Utopianism, cultural resentment, naive and sheltered pacifism, and lust for social control. (As someone once said, gun […]


Or, Woe to the Vanquished, Part II. What’s the difference between authoritarians and totalitarians? As Tom Nichols observed recently: the former only cares about what you do, while the latter must also control what you think. They demand not only obedience, but conversion. Things are moving fast these days. This acceleration is exactly what we […]

Woe To The Vanquished

From the latest Radio Derb, here’s a corking rant by John Derbyshire on the latest national frenzy: the destruction and damnation of all symbols of the Confederacy. It’s so good that I reprint it here in full, with some emphasis added. Back there in our April 11th podcast I noted the 150th anniversary of Robert […]

Here We Go

“I find your lack of faith disturbing.”

Killing Them Softly

The Supreme Court ruled today on a case about the constitutionality of lethal injection. From the Washington Post: The Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 on Monday to uphold a procedure used by states to carry out executions by lethal injection. The justices were considering a challenge brought by death-row inmates in Oklahoma, who allege […]

Two Chief Justices In One!

Another day, another fundamental reordering of American society by the Supreme Court — this time, as expected, by just one man. The decision is just out, and I haven’t had time to read it yet. I did see this, though, from Chief Justice John Roberts: Under the Constitution, judges have power to say what the […]

The Web Of Obligations

Beautiful piece here on the memory of the Civil War. Shall we, like the Taliban, destroy our statues with dynamite because they offend a prevailing dogma? Shall we disinter the bones of our ancestors like the radical Jacobins of the French Revolution did, scattering their unearthed remains to the winds – first to be reviled, […]

Carthago Delenda Est

In the wake of the Charleston shootings, there has been a new chorus of calls for the obliteration of symbols of the historic South. For balance, here is an essay, by William Cawthon of the Abbeville Institute, about the crushing of Southern identity by the hegemonic ideology of the Protestant North over the past half-century. […]

Is The Enlightenment To Blame?

Bill Vallicella, the Maverick Philosopher, replies to a question of mine, here. It’s a good and thoughtful response. When time permits (which it doesn’t at the moment), I’ll have some thoughts of my own to add. Bill has told me he will open the comment-box for that post (a rare move for him these days), […]

I Can’t Do That, Dave

There’s an item in the Independent today announcing that “Self-driving cars may have to be programmed to kill you“. As is so often the case, dear Readers, you heard it here first. Related content from Sphere

Through The Looking-Glass

Here’s a story that’s making a stir today: apparently one Rachel Dolezal, the leader of the Spokane, Washington chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is a white woman who has been passing herself off as black. It’s been said* that “to learn who rules over you, simply find out whom […]

Two From Hoffer

I’ve often mentioned and quoted the longshoreman philosopher Eric Hoffer. Here are a couple of passages from his book Reflections on the Human Condition, which was published in 1973: The untalented are more at ease in a society that gives them valid alibis for not achieving than in one where opportunities are abundant. In an […]

Gradually, Then Suddenly

In a response to our recent post on the entropic influence of the political Left, commenter ‘Epicaric’ wrote: It is my impression … that these forces have accelerated of late, shedding its once linear progression for a pace far more geometric in nature. This is entirely ‘lawful’, and is exactly what we should expect. All […]

While I’m On The Subject

Speaking of Hillary Clinton: something you hear often from her supporters (not to mention Mrs. Clinton herself) is that “we need a woman in the White House”. The assumption seems to be (indeed, can only be) that a woman would somehow do the job differently than a man, simply by virtue of being a woman. […]

Liberal Theodicy

Today I read a good piece by one of my favorite political writers, Mollie Hemingway. In the wake of the Amtrak derailment, and the Left’s immediate rush to blame the disaster on inadequate government spending (which is to say, on fiscal conservatives), she raises the concept of ‘theodicy’ — that is, “attempts to defend God’s […]

On Baltimore

In the aftermath of the Baltimore riots, there was a great deal of partisan debate about the root causes of the many woes of the urban black underclass. Many on the Right went no further than to blame black “thugs” and “race-hustlers”, and to call for militaristic crowd-control, while the Left settled in comfortably to […]

Things To Read

I’m swamped with work tonight, so I’ll just pass along two interesting articles. First, here’s a good piece by Frank Miniter: How To Win a Debate With an Anti-Gunner. Gun owners and Second Amendment defenders living, as I do, in the belly of the liberal beast are all too familiar with the reflexive scorn that […]