No Freedom of Speech for “Racists?”

Last month, Alan Potash, the Midwestern regional director of the ADL, wrote the Omaha World-Herald to declare that “freedom of speech does not extend to racist groups.” As Eugene Volokh points out , this is particularly dangerous for a Jewish organization to hold, given the decades-long . . . . Continue Reading »

Localism and Anti-Semitism

Yes, Jody rightly draws attention to the role of anti-Semitism in the sort of modern conservatism that sees history, tradition, and place as anchors of sanity. By my reading, however, that role is complicated and full of ironies. One irony comes from the Stalinist era. “Rootless . . . . Continue Reading »

The Mystery of Knowledge

This morning, I sat next to an autistic man on the metro. We chatted a bit, and then he grabbed a scrap of paper and scrawled on it: “JOBFAIR=1979” “GAO=2009” He then concatenated the numbers, and wrote: 19792009 His pen lingered above the piece of paper for thirty seconds or . . . . Continue Reading »

Eros, Tradition, and the University

The latest issue of Society is out and I have a review essay in it of Barry Bercier’s provocative The Skies of Babylon: Diversity, Nihilism, and the American University.   Below is a brief excerpt of my contribution to the issue: At the very end of The Closing of the American Mind, Bloom . . . . Continue Reading »

Re: Localism

My problem with your localism , Rusty, is the Jews. But, then, it’s always the Jews, isn’t it? Or the blacks, or the foreigners, or the diseased. The problem usually comes down to the Jews, though. In the experience of Western civilization, the Jews have proved for a long time the stone . . . . Continue Reading »

Solidarity, Hegemony, Individuality

Our PAL has made a comment down there that deserves some above-the-fold riffing. He writes that Locke knew nominalism would become more true as a description, but it could never become completely true. Part of the description of world where words are weapons and nothing but is of the incessant . . . . Continue Reading »


Canon lawyer Ed Peters takes apart L’Osservatore Romano ‘s recent tribute to Michael Jackson: For most of my life L’Osservatore Romano has been a sleepy Roman rag that arrived weeks after its publication date, printed in cheap ink that soiled the fingers of those who felt the need . . . . Continue Reading »

What’s So Bad About Hypocrisy?

In light of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and Utah Senator John Ensign’s recent scandals, Christopher O. Tollefsen takes a philosophical look at the problem of hypocrisy: La Rochefoucauld famously said that “hypocrisy is a tribute vice pays to virtue.” This is often . . . . Continue Reading »

eBaywatch: Triptych: UPDATED

This caught my eye, not because it’s an example of egregiousness, nor again because it’s so particularly fine, but because I have one. Mine belonged to my grandmother. Her house was full of things which I was allowed to handle in ritual fashion: the decomposing china-and-kid doll . . . . Continue Reading »