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Category Archives: Political issues

Centrist authoritarians

A radical centrist disciplines a partisan. George Cruikshank, 1839, Wikimedia Commons. I believe it was Paul Krugman who came up with the term “radical centrists.” Here’s how I would define them: Smug, preening, mediocre intellectuals who strut their undoubted moral superiority, claiming an ability to see “both sides” and believing themselves to be innocent of […]

Apple News+

There are two versions of Apple News. The free version, called just “Apple News,” is on all Macintosh computers, iPads, and iPhones. The subscription version, called “Apple News+”, costs $9.99 a month. For some years, I had casually used the free version on my iPhone, because it often showed me things that I had missed […]

A profile in courage

Rep. Barbara Lee at an anti-war powers protest in 2020. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Twice in my life I have had the experience of living through a period of great collective danger, periods in which many of the American people completely lost their minds. One of those times was November 2016, when, though he lost the […]

Church culture

A tent revival I drove out during the cool of the evening yesterday to pick up the mail and look for more canning jars. At Sandy Ridge up near the Virginia line, people were gathering under a big tent for a tent revival. I stopped to take pictures, but I kept well back from the […]

It was much worse than I thought

Until this week, I would have thought that all the events that occurred between election day (Nov. 4, 2020) and the Capitol insurrection (Jan. 6, 2021) were just the random, malignant thrashings of disinformed idiots. But now it appears that there actually was a plan and a conspiracy to overturn the election. The key to […]

Martin Chuzzlewit

Pinch starts homeward with the new pupil. Hablot Knight Brown (also known as Phiz). Source: Wikimedia Commons. In our era, Charles Dickens is neglected and undervalued. Martin Chuzzlewit surely is one of Dickens’ most neglected and undervalued novels. For reasons that I was completely unprepared for, now would be a good time for a Dickens […]

How to keep on losing

People in these parts are still flying their Trump flags. Many are faded and tattered. This one has fallen and has been down for days. The Republican Party, as it is currently constituted, and, given the course it’s on, cannot win another national election. The 2020 election made that clear. And yet, with the exception […]

An international recipe for progress

Scotland 2070: Healthy, Wealthy, Wise. Ian Godden, Hillary Sillitto, Dorothy Godden. College Publications (London), 2020. 218 pages. What would it take for Scotland to attain the same level of wealth and wellbeing as the Nordic countries? This book lays out a fifty-year plan for accomplishing that. What’s remarkable about this book, though, is that its […]

Can we have some nice things now?

Pete Buttigieg at Washington Union Station. Source: Wikipedia. With “Amtrak Joe” in the White House, and the new U.S. secretary of transportation wanting to lead the world in high-speed rail (we’re now 19th) can we Americans now have some nice things? To people like me, who have ridden thousands of miles on trains (President Biden […]

The squeals of the formerly dominant

David Hume (1711-1776) from a portrait by Allan Ramsay “Generally speaking, the errors in religions are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous.” — David Hume As a liberal and firm believer in free speech, I am willing to take my lumps from what others say and think. But whether on principle it strengthens my case […]