April 2007 Archives
April 19, 2007
The party of grateful men.
Among the foundational Conservative values is simple appreciation. Gratitude for the good that he, somehow, through no merit of his own, is able to enjoy and recollect, will always be at the very heart of what animates the Conservative. It will not do for us to forget this, and accept the pretense that Conservatism is just another variety of political activism, always exercised by discontent and annoyance. This is the pretense of the professional political operatives, whose livelihood depends upon the continued agitation of segments of the population. Their business is not the happiness of man, but his unhappiness. Political operatives we will always have with us; yet the Conservative at least knows their place. And knowing the place of things is a fine formulation for wisdom.
Conservatism has given pride of place to gratitude. This is the ground of its politics.
April 23, 2007
Good news for Melissa--for now
There is some good news today in the case of Melissa Busekros, about whom I posted on Right Reason last month.
Today is Melissa's 16th birthday. She acquires some unspecified and apparently not completely clear additional rights over her own custody at the age of sixteen and took this opportunity to leave the foster home where she was being held secretly at midnight. She walked and hitchhiked to her own home, arriving as a wonderful surprise for her parents at 3 a.m. All that I know of the new situation is found here. Melissa has a lawyer of her own and is planning to tell any police who show up that she refuses to return to foster care on the advice of her lawyer. This young lady excites my admiration by her courage and maturity.
What the upshot will be is apparently still unknown, as it seems that the authorities could still take her back into custody against her will. Also, if the authorities have marked this family out for trouble, they might still harass them regarding their younger children, though these children are in school.
But it has been a happier birthday for Melissa and for her parents than I could have hoped several weeks ago. Many happy returns of the day, Melissa!
HT Dale Hurd
April 24, 2007
New Kirk collection.
ISI Books has brought out a rich new collection of Russell Kirk’s writings: The Essential Russell Kirk, edited by George A. Panichas. It will serve nicely as an introduction to one of the great but greatly neglected men of American Letters. A Conservative truly and a gentleman, Kirk influenced the postwar history of the Republic — though his usual position was in dissent — in inscrutable but profound ways. The breadth of his reflections, the careful elegance of his style, the depth of his erudition, the joy and gratitude in his heart, and his candor about the crisis that confronts modern man: each is robustly demonstrated in this volume.
Kirk will ever be associated with the name Edmund Burke: for that alone — for reviving interest in the greatest Conservative of the modern age — he would be justly memorialized. But he accomplished much more. He brought the word ideology under the obloquy it so richly deserved, turning hundreds of aspiring Conservatives away from this ruinous intoxicant. In his fiction as well as his essays, he subtly emphasized the mystery of life on this earth, the ineradicable duality of man, caught as he is between his animal nature and his longings for the supernatural. He revitalized interest in other worthy figures: the fascinating and enigmatic John Randolph of Roanoke, the House of Representative’s greatest orator; the intellectual peregrinator Orestes Brownson, once given the astonishing honor of the title “an American Newman”; the forgotten traditionalists of the interwar years, Irving Babbitt and Paul Elmer More; and many more.
The most basic need of man, according to Russell Kirk, is order. Discovering, illuminating and defending the principles of American order was his vocation, which he carried out with grace, wit and intrepidity — as the reader of this volume will discover forthwith.
April 26, 2007
Esolen on masculinity.
The Catholic news service ZENIT interviewed Professor Anthony Esolen recently on the subject of masculinity and civilization. The result is a tour-de-force of probing intellect and wisdom.
April 27, 2007
Freethinking Ruins All Things
Slate has started publishing excerpts from Christopher Hitchens' new book (so very cleverly titled God Is Not Great), the first of which is here. The argument he advances is certainly not new, nor does Hitchens say that it is. He takes some satisfaction that his objections have been recycled time and again. His "mildest" criticism that religion is man-made is supposed to be the stab to the heart, the "most devastating" thing one can say about religion. If this is the case, the religious people of the world can rest easy and return to quarreling with one another, leaving the pestiferous atheist to abuse someone else's patience with his tedious declarations of enlightenment.
April 28, 2007
What's Wrong with the World?--U.S. Sharia watch 1
What's wrong with the world? Well, we could start here, with the development of a school that is just inches away, as it were, from being a madrassa, in Brooklyn, NY, as a public school. It will be language-intensive in Arabic, focus on "Muslim culture," and be run by a woman beloved of CAIR. She is especially concerned to let us know that her school won't shy away from "sensitive issues" in the world, like the plight of the Palestinians and "colonialism."
April 30, 2007
Reflective Conservatives are periodically haunted by the question, How do we resist Liberalism? They seek not a theoretical answer, however important that may be, but a practical answer. Liberalism at times seems a resistless force. It has subjugated to its unanswerable authority one of this country’s political parties; and it is on the verge of conquest of the other. It has very nearly made conservatism, at least in its mainstream guises, its vassal and sycophant. It has achieved enormous and ruinous advances into the territory of Christianity. Its opponents are numerous but fragmented, bewildered and largely ineffectual. What concrete steps of resistance should be taken?