54 results
June 29, 2015

Determining a bad idea’s antecedents usually is messy and often is impossible. Just when did a particular bad idea begin? Seldom is there an analogue to Athena coming fully formed from the forehead of Zeus.

Usually one bad idea derives from an earlier bad idea, which in turn derives from still earlier bad ideas. In order not to get lost in a long series that disappears into the mists of pre-history, you need to choose a point at which you can say, “For purposes of discussion, I count...

June 22, 2015

“I speak—more or less fluently—eight languages and have a reading knowledge of eleven others, necessary for my research.” He could have spoken to almost anyone in the world in that person’s native tongue. He was very much a catholic Catholic.

Born in 1909 under the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn’s childhood languages, as I recall him explaining, were German, Hungarian, and Latin. Maybe there were one or two others languages too. I forget, but he seemed never to...

June 15, 2015

I spent the last few days at a men’s retreat in Nebraska. To a Californian, Nebraska is a peculiar state. It’s unrelentingly green and nearly flat. Low hills rise just enough to block distant vistas. You can’t see more than a couple of miles, at least in the part of the state where I was. Your view is truncated, which may be appropriate when trying to focus on the interior life.

...
June 8, 2015

People leave the Catholic Church for all sorts of reasons, none of them sufficient but some of them better than others.

I can understand if someone concludes that certain Catholic teachings are wrong and that, in conscience, he must cease to be a Catholic. There are former Catholics who left because they decided that the Real Presence isn’t real or that popes don’t have a special role or that women ought to be ordained. I can understand their decision while thinking them wrong in...

June 1, 2015

I last saw Don nearly forty years ago. We were on the veranda of a house at the top of the cliffs in Laguna Beach, watching the sunset and sipping fine California wine. Don was explaining how he had come to be fired from his job as a political science professor at his university.

Ever since then I’ve considered his to be a story of how tragedy—in the proper Greek sense—can affect anyone...