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Homo Amazonicus

For religious conservatives, Alec MacGillis’s Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America is one of the most important books to appear in quite some time. That may sound like an odd claim. As his title suggests, MacGillis has written about Amazon’s dramatic reorganizing of the . . . . Continue Reading »

Therapeutic Revolution

One of the most remarkable features of our society is its blithe dismissal of tradition. Religious practices that have long shaped our social and political life are held in contempt. Time-tested convictions that guided generations before us are not just second-guessed but mocked and denounced. It is . . . . Continue Reading »

Foucault’s Principalities & Powers

In the late 1960s, a sociologist described French theorist ­Michel Foucault (1926–1984) as “a sort of frail, gnarled samurai who was dry and hieratic, who had the eyebrows of an albino and a somewhat sulfurous charm, and whose avid and affable curiosity intrigued everyone.” Claude Mauriac, . . . . Continue Reading »

Eminent Boomers

Every generation thinks itself the best, or the worst, or the first, or the last. Anything to distinguish it from the generations that came before. Intergenerational contempt is nothing new, even if it purports to be: It was there even as Marcus ­Tullius Cicero was beheaded in Rome in 43 b.c. But . . . . Continue Reading »

When Campion Met Miss Anscombe

Edmund Campion (1540–81) and Elizabeth Anscombe (1919–2001) were among the most brilliant of their generations of Oxford students: he at St. John’s College, she at St. Hugh’s. Later, each held fellowships in the university and delivered sermons in the university church of St. Mary the . . . . Continue Reading »

Adversary Culture in 2020

The unrest that erupted in late May 2020 started in ­Minneapolis, my hometown, with the death of George Floyd in police custody. In the protests and riots that followed, Black Lives Matter and Antifa were the shock troops, “police brutality” the rallying cry. It seemed at first an uprising from . . . . Continue Reading »

Beyond the Grave

The idea that one can report on one’s own death is paradoxical, if not preposterous. As ­Epicurus wrote in his Letter to Menoeceus, “When we exist, death is not; and when death exists, we are not.” To which Woody Allen added the ­footnote, “I don’t mind dying . . . as long as I . . . . Continue Reading »

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