Burke’s Postmodern Conservatism

From First Thoughts

Another fine lesson from Scruton’s A POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY: Conservatism is itself a modernism, and in this lies the secret of its success. What distinguishes Burke from the French Revolutionaries is not his attachment to things past, but his desire to live fully in the present, to understand . . . . Continue Reading »

Scruton-izing an Aging Society

From First Thoughts

Here’s the second installment in the wisdom of Roger Scruton’s A POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY: . . . [G]given that fact, it is more than ever necessary for us to incorporate death into our life plans. We need to recognize the value of timely death and the futility of living beyond the point . . . . Continue Reading »

Stanley Fish Questions Curiosity

From First Thoughts

Stanley reminds us that curiosity isn’t a virtue. For Pascal, it’s nothing more than the vanity of beings in love with their own capabilities. It distracts us from the duties that should flow from love of God and each other. Curiosity can easily morph into love of diversity or losing . . . . Continue Reading »

Strauss vs. Nietzsche

From First Thoughts

Peter Minowitz, the author of the meticulous and fascinating STRAUSSOPHOBIA: DEFENDING LEO STRAUSS AND STRAUSSIANS AGAINST SHADIA DRURY AND OTHER ACCUSERS, seems to have some way of alerting himself whenever his cool title is mentioned on the web. I heard from him very soon after I listed . . . . Continue Reading »

OIKOPHOBIA

From First Thoughts

I’m not usually that big on the phobias. I’m all for respecting and loving gay people, but I doubt there’s really a disorder that’s properly labelled “homophobia.” And I was skeptical when our provost here at Berry College cautioned us to be sensitive to students . . . . Continue Reading »

Strauss, Postmodern Gossip, and Canada

From First Thoughts

So there was a herd of POSTMODERN CONSERVATIVES in Toronto at the American Political Science Association meeting. Sam Goldman shared many charming—yet troubling—details about his growing up in New Jersey, including his membership in a PUNKER THAN THOU band with an edgy name and . . . . Continue Reading »

It Ain’t Voodoo Economics

From First Thoughts

We POSTMODERN CONSERVATIVES are justly proud not only of our philosophical, theological, and political literacy, but also of our economic literacy. So we can see, without being social or cultural libertarians (and while wanting, of course, to keep Locke at least somewhat in the Locke box), that . . . . Continue Reading »

Was Reagan a Conservative?

From First Thoughts

Is the pope Catholic? Well, some think not. According to the erudite Richard Gamble, ol’ Ronald was too Puritanical in the wrong way to be conservative. He gave us irresponsible tax cuts and a “Wilson” or evangelical, transformational foreign policy. His speeches were full of an . . . . Continue Reading »

What is Straussianism?

From First Thoughts

Please don’t think I’m a Strauss-obsessed geek. I just thought you’d like to read the latest version of my talk for the American Political Science Association meeting to be held in Canada. In his essay on Kurt Riezler, Strauss writes “If we are permitted to say that . . . . Continue Reading »