Spirits of Rhetoric

From First Thoughts

The Immanent Frame, an academic blog launched on the release of Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age , is still going strong. They’ve started a new discussion series , replete with invited scholars, centered around Obama’s traditionalistic inaugural claim that the “values upon . . . . Continue Reading »

A Darwinian Telos. What Faith!

From First Thoughts

Andrew has a fairly careful and modest essay at the Times on the progress of religious faith in the face of scientific progress. The issue of whether faith should gird us to not fear scientific truth is an intriguing one; the Holocaust was scientifically true, after all, meaning the facts could not . . . . Continue Reading »

The Sunshine King

From First Thoughts

Richard Florida is blogging . Behold the intellectual firepower : While I find such lists informative and fun, in my book Who’s Your City, I say that there is really no such thing as a single best city:  Invoking the old and somewhat cliched adage, “different strokes for . . . . Continue Reading »

American Rapture

From First Thoughts

There are two models of rapture — one super-worldly, one this-worldly, one in which we are abducted, from here to eternity, and one in which we are inducted, to infinity and beyond. The first model is depressing if it’s the only opportunity we have to experience eternity. Even the . . . . Continue Reading »

Our Crippling Lingo

From First Thoughts

Long have I railed against the way the phrase ‘sense of’ has crept, like ragweed, into our daily discourse at every level. But this, from Gail Collins in conversation with David Brooks, is particularly egregious and illustrative: And I walked away from the whole drama with a sense that . . . . Continue Reading »

The Empire that Wasn’t?

From First Thoughts

How long before we look back on the American ‘imperial age’ as a hiccup, a fling with power never really actualized, stabilized, or formalized? Christian Brose at Foreign Policy ‘s Shadow Government points us to Andrew Schearer writing yesterday in the Wall Street Journal : . . . . Continue Reading »

Togetherness Today

From First Thoughts

Here’s a nice contrast. First, Rod : As Wendell Berry explains, especially in “Sex, the Economy, Freedom & Community,” you cannot have community without order, and you cannot have a workable order as long as both economic and sexual decisions are wholly privatized — that . . . . Continue Reading »

Prospects for Neo-Neoconservatism

From First Thoughts

Ross’s latest NYT column makes a point I think I alluded to earlier: just because losing Arlen Specter is bad doesn’t mean having him to begin with was good . And this is not just a charge you can level due to Specter’s stance on policy (on ‘strictly political’ issues . . . . Continue Reading »