Douglas Coupland: ‘I’m actually at my happiest when I’m writing on a plane’
If you told me I had to write the way that Coupland now writes, I’d give it up. You’d never hear another word from me.
Betrayed by Our Leaders: A Young Conservative Responds to Endorsements of Donald Trump
I think what Peters says here is basically correct, but I don’t think he has identified the key issues in relation to First Things, as opposed to ISI or Claremont. The latter are institutions defined politically, and while many people associated with them are religious believers, they need not be. But FT is a journal dedicated to the relationship between religion and public life — that’s it’s whole reason for being. So when I read post after post by Rusty Reno and Mark Bauerlein defending Trump — or criticizing people who attack Trump — that don’t mention Christianity, or even religion more broadly, I find myself thinking: Man, we could really use a journal of religion and public life right about now.
The right to vote should be restricted to those with knowledge – Jason Brennan | Aeon Ideas
Until you would-be epistocrats grasp the nettle and tell me who’s in the epistocracy, who’s out, and who decides I’m not listening.
Scholars & Writers for Trump – American Greatness
A few comments about this:
- Some of the signatories really surprise me.
- Some don’t.
- I’m not saying which are which.
- If they had claimed, say, that “Trump will do far less damage to the American social and political order than HRC,” I’d have replied that I very much doubt that, but I can at least understand why you think so.
- But they say “We believe that Donald Trump is the candidate most likely to restore the promise of America,” which very few of them can possibly believe.
- I suspect then, that while they actually think that “Trump will do far less damage to the American social and political order than HRC,” they also know that saying so won’t serve to rally the troops to the Trumpian flag and produce the defeat of HRC.
- The substance of the “Statement of Support,” then, is what Socrates in Plato’s Republic calls a “noble lie.”
- I don’t see anything noble about it.
UPDATE: I am hearing from several sources who insist that most of the signatories here really do believe that Donald Trump — Donald. Trump — will indeed do mighty deeds that will at least help “restore the promise of America.” So I stand corrected, I guess? I certainly stand dumbfounded.
I do not understand why this essay is getting the play it’s getting. It simply recycles every cliché of the Trumpite right.
- Acknowledging that Trump is “imperfect” and then declining to discuss the magnitude of his flaws? Check.
- Insisting that Trump has “great strengths” without defining any of them? Check.
- Affirming that Trump holds “the right stances on the right issues — immigration, trade, and war” without acknowledging that his “stances” on all those issues change more-or-less daily? Check.
- Claiming that conservatives who oppose Trump just want to keep their inside-the-Beltway Georgetown-cocktail-party status (defined here as taking a paycheck to play for the Washington Generals against the Democratic Globetrotters)?
- Equating success with wisdom — for now, anyway, until Trump loses? Check.
- Ranting a lot about death (“death is certain,” “a civilization that wants to die”) and howling that Trump Is Life, without ever explaining or even hinting at what these metaphors mean? Check and double-check.
It’s an utterly vacuous, substance-free, rhetorically unimaginative but ceaselessly flailing rant. In short, precisely what we’ve come to expect from Trump and his celebrants. So what’s there to talk about?
The Christian intellectual tradition is alive and well
With the caveat that this a rather different topic than the one I wrote my essay on, my response is that I want to agree with this but am not sure I altogether can. Reasons for doubt:
- Lupfer speaks of “the Christian intellectual tradition,” but there are several such traditions and not all of them are equally robust. Some distinctions here would help.
- There may be no strong correlation between the ones that are more robust and the ones that are more influential, inside and Church and outside.
- I’d feel better about Lupfer’s claims if I could point to scholarly fields where Christians are doing work that is clearly superior to what their secular colleagues are doing, or at least where Christians are blazing distinctive new ground.
- Lupfer commends “Christians with intellectual gifts [who are] helping their brothers and sisters think through the great questions and challenges of their lives,” and amen to that, but if we’re not also helping people who are not yet our brothers and sisters, then I fear we’re not doing the whole of our job.
Student Activism Is Serious Business
So according to Roxane Gay, the students protestors — all of them, I suppose; she never acknowledges any exceptions — are just “making the most of their college experience” by “doing the necessary work to ensure that the next generation that participates in the tradition of student activism will be fighting different battles,” while their critics — again, no exceptions are noted — (1) want to allow white people to “indulge their basest whims,” (2) think “protest should be a polite and demure endeavor that pleases everyone,” and (3) believe that “people of color [should] endure without complaint … racial aggressions both great and small.”
See how simple our political controversies are? All you have to do is boil everything down to the most reductive, simplistic, Manichaean oppositions between Good and Evil and then the answer becomes obvious!
Pope Cracks Door to Lutheran Communion
I guess I understand why Rod feels the way he does about this, but on Saturday I participated in a friend’s funeral, a ceremony in which an ancient Christian rite was lived into by a priest and a congregation who believe not only in the great ecumencal Creeds and conciliar formulae but also in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist — and yet the Catholic and Orthodox attenders of the funeral were forbidden by their own churches to receive the Bread and the Wine. And in that vital respect, though we are united with them by our shared commitment — “One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all” — we were at the Lord’s Table itself divided from them. I cannot see this kind of policing of the Eucharist as a commendable form of church discipline. I see it rather as a tragic inability to overcome old resentments and grudges. It makes me weep, and if Pope Francis is grieved by it too, then that gives me at least a little bit of hope for the healing of the broken Body of Christ.
College Encourages Lively Exchange Of Idea – The Onion – America’s Finest News Source
BOSTON—Saying that such a dialogue was essential to the college’s academic mission, Trescott University president Kevin Abrams confirmed Monday that the school encourages a lively exchange of one idea. “As an institution of higher learning, we recognize that it’s inevitable that certain contentious topics will come up from time to time, and when they do, we want to create an atmosphere where both students and faculty feel comfortable voicing a single homogeneous opinion,” said Abrams, adding that no matter the subject, anyone on campus is always welcome to add their support to the accepted consensus. “Whether it’s a discussion of a national political issue or a concern here on campus, an open forum in which one argument is uniformly reinforced is crucial for maintaining the exceptional learning environment we have cultivated here.” Abrams told reporters that counseling resources were available for any student made uncomfortable by the viewpoint.
Letter to the Catholic Academy
I’m especially pleased that Ross has doubled down here on the use of the term “heresy.” In the column that I responded to the other day, Father James Martin said that the invocation of this term is “out of bounds” because it questions one’s “fidelity.” But it doesn’t. Heresy is first and foremost a property of an idea
: it’s to say that a particular idea is theologically erroneous. (“Heresy” and “error” are cognate terms.) If an idea of yours has come under challenge as heretical, especially when that challenge comes from a layman with no theological authority, why not defend it, rather than complain about being challenged? Academics and pundits ought to be able to defend their ideas.
ADDENDUM: Let me just make it clear that this is not one of those cases in which he jests at scars who never felt a wound. In my 29 years at Wheaton College I was on more than a few occasions — some of them before tenure — accused of violating that college’s Statement of Faith or undermining the faith of my students through amorphously “dangerous” ideas. Once World magazine even ran a hit piece on me, accusing me of disparaging solid, reliable Christian authors and corrupting my students’ minds with Frenchified literary theory. But precisely because I wasn’t trying to undermine my students’ faith — just the opposite — I took these challenges as opportunities to articulate my ideas for different, and often larger, audiences. (I always talked to my students about these matters also.)
But after talking with Tim Carmody about this I do find myself hoping that in some follow-up column or post Ross will specify which scholars he believes to have redefined the notion of the “development of doctrine” to the point that it has no boundaries.
As for me, though, if a pundit were to challenge my work and declare it heretical — or even say it smells of heresy — I’d see that as an opportunity to be embraced. Unless of course I actually were a heretic. In which case I guess I’d need to learn to own my heresy.
Different Managers Use Pressing in Different Ways
The Inside Channel is one of the best soccer blogs I know. Jake Meador writes especially clearly, vividly, and informatively about tactics. If you are a soccer fan, and especially if you want to become a more knowledgable one, you should definotely check it out. This post is rather longer than most, but taught me a lot.
Diversity in the Christian University
My friend and colleague Elizabeth Corey on Christian higher education and the problem of “diversity” — to which we need (ahem) a diversity of responses.
Why I Unfollowed You on Instagram
This is remarkable: a collection of buzzwords where a human being (presumably) used to be. This is someone who with perfect seriousness refers to Pocket as the place “where I consume my link curation,” and who wants a service that “leverages a white-list of great curators.” He also says things like, “I’ve found hiring these tools for the specific tasks they’re best at has extended their relevance to me by amplifying their value,” and describes online life as “Person -> Person, Brand -> Person, Person -> Brand.” The debasement of thought and language and personhood is so absolute it’s almost admirable.
Blessed Are the Green of Heart
I don’t know that I’d read this since I published it, but now that I have read it, I think it holds up pretty well. Well enough to link to, anyway.
Intellectual Diversity in the Legal Academy
Elite law faculties are overwhelmingly liberal. Jim Lindgren has proven the point empirically. I will just add my impressions from Georgetown Law School to reinforce the point. We are a faculty of 120, and, to my knowledge, the number of professors who are openly conservative, or libertarian, or Republican or, in any sense, to the right of the American center, is three — three out of 120. There are more conservatives on the nine-member United States Supreme Court than there are on this 120-member faculty. Moreover, the ideological median of the other 117 seems to lie not just left of center, but closer to the left edge of the Democratic Party. Many are further left than that.
But at least there are three. And the good news is that this number has tripled in the last decade. The bad news, though, is that, at Georgetown, the consensus seems to be that three is plenty — and perhaps even one or two too many.
Just doesn’t feel good – Marco.org
Since few buyers of Peace are likely to seek refunds — Apple makes the process unwieldy, and many buyers will want to keep using the app anyway — this is a pretty good deal for Marco. He gets to keep a pile of cash for an app that he won’t maintain or support. It would’ve been nice if he had thought all this through before putting Peace on the market.
This Adorable Alabama Bookstore Only Sells Signed Copies
This is a really nice article about the Alabama Booksmith, but it manages to describe the shop at some length without ever mentioning what city the shop is in. For those who don’t know, Alabama is a relatively spacious place – about the size of Greece, for instance — and has several cities large enough to support a bookstore. So some further specification might be in order, says this native of Birmingham (where the shop is in fact located).