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David P. Goldman is a senior editor of First Things.

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Confessions of a Coward

From Web Exclusives

Early in April, with the publication of the May issue of First Things, I stepped out from behind the pseudonym Spengler to begin arguing my more considered ideas under my own name. The experience has been an interesting one: constricting in some ways and yet freeing in others. My Spengler columns actually began as a joke. In 1997 the Asia Times asked me to write a humor column, and the name Spengler seemed a funny touch: the author of The Decline of the West as a comic writer for an Asian daily. The print edition of the newspaper soon went under, but I revived the persona for the online-only edition in 1999. Contrary to my expectations, it won an audience and became a vehicle for more than I had originally imagined it would be. Continue Reading »

Fessing Up

From First Thoughts

Bearing public witness isn’t Jewish custom. We confess our collective sins corporately on the Day of Atonement. But an editorship at First Things is not a seat on a Wall Street trading floor, or a teaching gig at a conservatory of music; it is a position of public trust, and I owed the . . . . Continue Reading »

The Revolt of Mediocrity

From First Thoughts

If the New York Times shuts down, at least I won’t have to respond to mind-numbing items like David Brooks’ April 30 peroration, “Genius: the modern view.” Aldous Huxley’s wife Laura infamously said that her husband looked like a stupid man’s idea of what a clever . . . . Continue Reading »

Will all cultures be saved?

From First Thoughts

Rod Dreher over at BeliefNet has a weather eye for religious oddities, and yesterday posted a note about an evangelical missionary to the Amazon jungle who lost his faith after getting to know a tribe that saw the world in a radically different way:[Dan] Everett spent decades living with the Piraha . . . . Continue Reading »

Ali Allawi predicts the end of Islam

From First Thoughts

Ali Allawi’s book on the crisis of Islamic civilization received more attention than most recent volumes on the subject, including a brief note in the London Economist April 16. I reviewed it in a “Spengler” essay this morning in Asia Times. It is a very good book, in the sense . . . . Continue Reading »

Jack Kemp, 1935-2009

From Web Exclusives

Jack Kemp passed away this weekend, of cancer at age seventy-three. Former vice-presidential candidate, congressman, and Housing secretary, he was the most improbable and the most important hero of the Reagan Revolution after the Gipper himself. Without Jack’s true-believer’s passion for . . . . Continue Reading »

Fr. Samir’s 111 Questions on Islam

From First Thoughts

Samir Khalid Samir, S.J. has devoted half a century to Islamic studies, and the English translation of his 2002 interview book on Islam is a welcome reminder that the subject of Islam can elicit more than shrillness. As an introduction to the subject and as an antidote to anodyne apologies, 111 . . . . Continue Reading »

Sen. Spector Announces Gender Switch

From First Thoughts

Washington, April 29 — Sen. Arlen Spector of Pennsylvania today announced that he will change gender, in addition to changing his party affiliation from Democratic to Republican.“Our polls indicate that Democratic voters in Pennsylvania thought they were voting for an ‘Arlene . . . . Continue Reading »