Unholy Holidays

From Web Exclusives

My commuter railway sent out the warning on a Friday afternoon in late December: No alcoholic beverages would be allowed on the trains this weekend. It was not a new temperance message or Bloombergian attempt to control our vices, just a safety announcement on the eve of SantaCon, an event in New York and many other cities, during which Kris Kringle-disguised revelers drink themselves silly through a weekend before Christmas. Continue Reading »

Leaving Brooklyn

From the April 2013 Print Edition

My family had been in Brooklyn (or, as I will ever call it, God’s country) for over a century, refugees from the Lower East Side and a Jacob Riis“style life in early-twentieth-century New York. My father didn’t speak much about his youth in Bensonhurst, but what he did say was . . . . Continue Reading »

The Achievement of Jacques Barzun

From Web Exclusives

One of the last of the generation of critics that included Edmund Wilson, Irving Howe, and Lionel Trilling, Jacques Barzun, who died yesterday at the age of 104, developed a historically informed critical approach that, without descending into polemic, didn’t shy from defining or diagnosing Western culture. For Barzun, “the historian can only show, not prove; persuade, not convince.” To do that required both sureness of judgment as well as respect for the unpredictability and vagaries of history… . Continue Reading »

Lacking Liberalism

From the December 2011 Print Edition

The Democratic Soul: A Wilson Carey McWilliams Reader ? by Wilson Carey Mcwilliams,? edited by Patrick J. Deneen and Susan J. Mcwilliams ?University Press of Kentucky, 440 pages, $40 Redeeming Democracy in America ?by Wilson Carey Mcwilliams ?edited by Patrick J. Deneen and Susan J. Mcwilliams . . . . Continue Reading »

The Real Myth

From the February 2011 Print Edition

The Myth of American Religious Freedom by David Sehat Oxford, 368 pages, $29.95 Conservatives, argues David Sehat, profess religious freedom, but only to secretly assert the coercive power of law to force people to live under a particular religious establishment. Liberals, in turn, are afraid to . . . . Continue Reading »

Russell Kirk & Postmodern Conservatism

From Web Exclusives

This week marks the ninetieth anniversary of the birth of Russell Kirk. Kirk, who died in 1994, is best remembered for his role in helping to create the postwar conservative movement in America. His groundbreaking work, The Conservative Mind , received national attention when it was published in . . . . Continue Reading »

Barzun at 100

From Web Exclusives

Remember the culture wars? In light of September 11 and the continuing War on Terror, it seems hard to believe that there was a time when Jesse Jackson chanting with Stanford undergraduates seemed like a real threat. The fight still rages on in some quarters, however, generating, as it did two . . . . Continue Reading »

The Fall of Rome: Season Two

From Web Exclusives

What was perhaps the most pro-Christian show on television did not have a single Christian character in it¯and there was no way it could have. Rome , the hit series that has just completed its second (and for now final) season on the cable channel HBO, turned out to be a surprising affirmation . . . . Continue Reading »

Progress and Religion

From the April 2002 Print Edition

Not so long ago, before the dot“com bubble“burst and the September 11 terrorist attack, it seemed as if history would deliver all good things. The Dow was continuing its steady rise, and the nation seemingly faced no insurmountable problems. We were living at or near the end of history, . . . . Continue Reading »