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Happy Easter

"When the disciples saw the risen Christ, they beheld him as a reality in the world, though no longer of it, respecting the order of the world, but Lord of its laws. To behold such reality was different and more than to see a tree or watch a man step through a doorway. To behold the risen Christ was an experience that burst the bounds of the ordinary. This explains the extraordinary wording of the texts: the strangeness of Christ's 'appearing,' 'vanishing,' suddenly standing in the middle of a room or at someone's side. Hence the abruptness, fragmentariness, oscillation, contradictoriness of the writing . . . the only true form for content so dynamic that no existing form can contain it."

Romano Guardini, The Lord

Good Friday

Good Friday
“The Son of God suffered unto the death, not that men might not suffer, but that their sufferings might be like His.” George MacDonald

Holy Thursday

How to Grab that Sagging Timber
One pitiful man’s attempt to make sense of Holy Thursday

Do You Ever Wonder if You Love Christ?

I mean, how do you really know? Our hearts are so complex.

"Many ask themselves if they are in love with Christ, and go searching for signs to be able to discover and prove that they love him; the sign that never deceives is fraternal charity . . . It is also the measure of the condition of our interior life, especially of our life of prayer." B. Baur, In Silence with God

March 27, 2024

That Huberman Story Has Legs

Man, that NY Mag "expose" is running everywhere. The best piece I've seen:

Who’s Afraid of Andrew Huberman?
Why did New York Magazine just run 8,000 words on the podcaster’s sex life?

Huberman is a non-member of that non-group, The Intellectual Dark Web. He runs with Rogan and the like. He, therefore, is outside the Establishment and, therefore, an enemy, even though I've never discerned a political position in the many hours I've listened to him.

But that's the thing, right? Among the Left, everything is political (it's part of the Communist playbook that requires everything to be disrupted), so a person is either on the correct team or the wrong team. If a person doesn't confirm that he's on the correct team, he must be on the wrong team.

If Bud Lite announced it wasn't going to take a position on trannies anymore, the Left would deem that an announcement that it opposes trannies. No neutrality. Neutrality implies that you won't confirm either side is correct. That's not acceptable to the fundamentalist, dogmatist, gnostic.

Huberman (to my knowledge) remained apolitical and thereby made himself a target to the Left. The Establishment today is Left, so it opposes Huberman, as evidenced by the legacy media piling onto this story, which, boiled down, isn't much of a story (summary of story: he's a cheating womanizer).

Weekly Column

Protect Your Children from Moloch
The evidence is in: Social media kills children. Well, it at least seriously wounds them. Or at least many of them. And no matter what, there ain’t no adult with an ounce of sense who claims it’s good for them. You know who else thinks it’s not good for them?

March 26, 2024

Two Huberman Things

He recently posted a great interview with Cal Newport.

Cal Newport Never Allows a Cell Phone in This Room
The room: A room in his house that he has dedicated strictly to deep work. I think it’s a den: a study or small library. He never takes his cell phone into it. Dr. Cal Newport: How to Enhance Focus and Improve ProductivityIn this episode, my guest is Dr. Cal

NY Mag just ran a fairly vicious biop on him.

Assault on Huberman
Kerry Howley at New York Mag

March 25, 2024

Best Lede of the Year

I decided to post this essay because of its great opening paragraph. I decided to print it out for careful reading because of its great style. I know nothing about the author, Aaron Timm, except I'm going to start reading him more.

“Those of us who consume and participate in culture today… are all, at some level, hypocrites, complicit in the fortification of our own aesthetic prison”
Hypocrite, Me: Netflixing My Own Aesthetic Prison
Aaron Timms at The New Republic

March 24, 2024

Washington, D.C. is a Mess

I knew it was bad, but I didn't realize that the entire city was on the brink of collapse. Downtown is losing its NHL and NBA franchise to Virginia. Crime is out of control. The lead editorial in the current issue of Spectator World breaks it down. Two funny excerpts:

No single figure is more responsible for the sense that crimes have no consequences than President Biden’s pick for the District’s US attorney, Matthew Graves. Graves’s prosecutorial philosophy is a radical one: he basically only does it if the violent crime occurred on January 6, 2021.
Urban crime isn’t a simple left-versus-right issue; it’s more like a far-left versus everyone else issue. 

March 22, 2024


A TDE reader brought this e-rag to my attention: Thirsty. At first glance, it appears bookmark-worthy.

A Tip to the Right Hemisphere
I agree with Modern Drunkard Magazine’s observation that, if you can’t afford to tip the bartender, you can’t afford to drink in a bar. Just buy a six-pack and stay home. Me? I prefer to stay home with the six-pack, but I love bars. When I gained access with my

March 21, 2024

Father v. Son: Who Had a Better Time Last Night?

I attended Iain McGilchrist's lecture at the Plaster Auditorium at Hillsdale College.

This is my son Max at the Alestorm concert at Elevation Hall in Grand Rapids.

Front Porch Republic

Bill Kauffman appeared last week at the online magazine he started 15 years ago.

It's a nice little e-rag. Jeff Bilbro's weekly "Water Dipper" is one of my favorite columns (partly because it provides me with TDE fodder, but Bilbro's quippish summaries are good).

I wish the site would incorporate an active blog, however. A blog like the one at Lew Rockwell would be a great addition. I'd contribute to and read it.

Happy Birthday, Front Porch Republic
Bill Kauffman at Front Porch Republic

March 20, 2024

Happy First Full Day of Spring

I guess it started last night around 11:00.

New Tool at TDE

Splurging Personally and Stepping Up TDE’s Game
I subscribed to the Encyclopedia Britannica. It was difficult. I didn’t much mind the $75 annual subscription price, but I’ve spent early 2024 weeding subscriptions out of my wallet—about $1,000 worth annually. Last week, I discovered I could watch March Madness this year for just $32, instead of

March 19, 2024

71 Thoughts to Improve Your Thoughts
I’m a weak man. Actually, “inconstant” is a better adjective. Here’s the problem: I read an insightful passage, decide that I’ll apply it to my life, and then forget about it. Fortunately, I realized this early in life. Specifically, back in the late 1980s when I was

March 18, 2024

China Uses the Free Market to Eliminate the Free Market

China Controls Hollywood?
I haven’t finished the documentary yet, but I’ve watched enough to understand the paradoxical threat: China is using the free market to eliminate the free market. Do American companies, including film studios, want access to the massive Chinese market? Then they need to do what the Chinese Communist Party says.

One of the more egregious examples of attempted CCP censorship isn’t included here. In 2019, Shannon Lee, who was raised in Hong Kong, voiced her displeasure with how her late father Bruce Lee was depicted in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (2019).
Ms. Lee contended that her father was made to look weak during an impromptu TV backlot fight scene between his character (Mike Moh) and a stunt man (Brad Pitt). Ms. Lee filed a complaint with the China Film Administration that in turn requested Mr. Tarantino remove the scene, which he refused to do. As a result, the CCP canceled the release of the film one week before its scheduled opening. To date, the movie has never played in China.
‘Hollywood Takeover: China’s Control in the Film Industry’
This eye-opening documentary exposes the CCP’s influence on American entertainment.

March 17, 2024

Amazing Amazon Limited Time Deal

David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest for just $4.99. (Later Addendum: The deal is over. It's now $12.99)

Even though I own (and am plodding through) the paper copy, I splurged on this. It loaded nicely despite its massive size, and I think it might be better to read this book on Kindle.

Wallace was a huge tennis nut in his youth. He wrote parts of Jest to mimic a tennis game. How? He used a massive number of endnotes. The result: you have to go back and forth, just like a tennis rally. It's a hassle (and, frustratingly, I am now on page 100 and have skipped most of the endnotes, not realizing they were integral to the work).

Kindle makes the rally easier. You click the endnote link, read the endnote, then click "back to text." It's easy and for easier, turning that tennis groundstroke rally more into a volley rally with both players at the net.

Infinite Jest
Bill Burr has a great bit where he describes parenting as a 25-30 year sentence. You’re sucked into a bubble, cut off from the outside world as you try to raise your kids. When you come out, you’re stuck in, say, 1993 but it’s now 2023. That’s how I feel

Happy St. Patrick's Day

For the Great Gaels of Ireland
Are the men that God made mad,
For all their wars are merry
And all their songs are sad.
GKC, The Ballad of the White Horse

The Northern Border has Now Become a Major Problem

The folks fly into Canada then trudge into Vermont and North Dakota. In 2023, compared to 2020, it's up five-fold and is on pace in 2024 to crush the 2023 numbers. Graph.

And like the new immigrants coming across the southern border, these folks appear to be well-funded. They're not poor and we're not even sure what they're yearning for. I don't know what Emma Lazarus would've thought of them:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus (1883)

Or what Lou Reed would've thought (chuckle):

Give me your hungry, your tired, your poor I'll piss on 'em
that's what the Statue of Bigotry says
Your poor huddled masses, let's club 'em to death
and get it over with and just dump 'em on the boulevard
Lou Reed, Dirty Boulevard (1989)
‘We’re So Sick of It’: Northern Border Crisis Gets Worse
Border Patrol apprehensions of illegal immigrants at the northern U.S. border have jumped from 916 in fiscal year 2021 to 10,021 in fiscal 2023.

March 16, 2024

An Excellent Introduction to the Problem Bitcoin Solves

If you want to make a lot of money, solve a problem. Or in Bitcoin's case, solve a problem by creating a lot of money (here, 21,000,000 bitcoins), then capping it.

Debasement Fundamentals: Bitcoin Has No Top Because Fiat Has No Bottom
From Bitcoin Magazine

The Ides of March

You may have heard the phrase “beware the Ides of March,” but what is an Ides and what’s there to fear? The Ides is actually a day that comes about every month, not just in March—according to the ancient Roman calendar, at least. The Romans tracked time much differently than we do now, with months divided into groupings of days counted before certain named days: the Kalends at the beginning of the month, the Ides at the middle, and the Nones between them. 
What Is the “Ides” of March?
And should you really beware?


St. Patrick and Sundry
Black St. Patrick’s Day According to the Spectator, St. Patrick’s Day is the biggest bar night of the year, surpassing even my favorite holiday, Black Wednesday. For a country like Ireland, as devoted to its faith as to a good party, the fact that St. Patrick’s Day falls during

March 14, 2024

Leftists Trying Not to be Gnostics

Current Affairs seems like a worthwhile magazine. It describes itself as "the left magazine for people skeptical of leftism." Based on this essay, it seems pretty far left . . . Bernie Sanders-left . . . but intellectually honest left.

In the perspective of the Hemisphere Hypothesis, an "intellectually honest" leftist is a person who thinks within the restrictive parameters of his rationalist (and normally Gnostic) cocoon, but is also aware, if only semi-consciously, that his cocoon is limited and there's a lot more out there that he might not be considering.

The intellectually honest leftist, in other words, rationalizes from leftist principles but values reason to reach broader conclusions. Current Affairs seems to be such a rag.

The Difference between “Reason” and “Rationality”
Reason Greek nous Latin intellectus Reason is flexible. It resists fixed formulation. It is shaped by experience. It involves the whole living being, combining the mental and physical . . . the spiritual and material. It is the intellectual glue of sacramental existence. It is characterized by intuition. Reason is “congenial to the
Hating Rural Whites
Nathan Robinson at Current Affairs

March 13, 2024


Michael Rodney didn't much care for Cabrini. I saw the movie and I agree with everything he says, but I'd give it a "6" (he gives it a "4"). It would've gotten a "7" from me, but the last line of the movie made me (literally and physically, but also metaphorically and viscerally) roll my eyes, so that cost it a full point. As Rodney points out, the movie doesn't "get" the whole saint thing.

Cabrini Movie Review
Less Girl Power and More Holy Ghost Power

March 11, 2024

Monday Column

It's a short column, but I think a lot of TDE readers appreciate the brevity. Let me know.

If you hadn't noticed, TDE has been using an unusual format for a few months. It provides a generous excerpt from an essay or article, then comments on it, putting the comments in a separate post that is then embedded at the beginning of the excerpted essay/article. Sometimes the separate post is a "Briefly" that scarcely stands on its own without a reference to the excerpted essay/article; sometimes it's a mini-essay that stands on its own (in which case, it is included under "Latest" on the right side of the homepage). Sometimes the separate post is also pasted into the Scrolling Blog, creating a three-point cross-reference (Scrolling Blog to Excerpted Essay/Article to Separate Post). If tagged properly, it also creates a library of script that I can (so my left-hemisphere says) later efficiently organize into more substantial essays or online books.

Anyway, that's probably more than you want to know about the inner-machinations of TDE, but there you have it.

Hey Dude, Let’s Inherit the Kingdom
If you want to inherit the kingdom, look with the eyes of the little child. Or maybe drink a few cocktails. Here’s the thing about kids: Their prefrontal cortexes aren’t developed. Their PFCs don’t fully develop until their early twenties. PFCs control analytical thinking. It is often said that they

March 8, 2024


More Bud Lite Fun, but Not Nearly Enough
Bud Light Missed Out on the Super Bowl Party I don’t deny that the boycott has hurt, but that swill is still the second most popular brand out there. We have way too many trannies and pinko-trannies in this country. Kid Rock even pulled back on the boycott last week

March 7, 2024

The Inherent and Severe Limitations of Thinking

In the early 1990s, I practiced law with a lot of impressive Jewish attorneys. One, particularly so. He was brilliant, aggressive, and driven. He also held a Ph.D. in philosophy. I always wanted to ask him why he got a doctorate in philosophy and then went to law school, but the one time I broached the topic of philosophy, he was caustic and cryptic. When I asked him about a Cartesian assertion I had recently read about, he said, "Are those old bones still rattling around?" Then he moved the conversation to the case we were working on.

That was the early 1990s. At least in philosophical academia, Descartes' ideas were dead and discredited.

But those old bones are still rattling around. Indeed, they're so fixed in our cultural landscape, it seems like every legitimate thinker is trying to dislodge them from our collective crania.

I doubt any thinker today believes we are purely rational beings who make decisions based on objective facts. Yet, we live in a culture that bows obsequiously and submits to "experts" who claim to do just that. The morons who urge us to "follow the science" are wholly aware that no one follows the science. Everyone--and every scientist--approaches every subject of thought with assumptions, modes of interpretation, personal biases, and a host of other cognitive "imperfections" (not really imperfections, btw) that make objective approaches impossible.

That doesn't mean we oughtn't try to be objective, incidentally. There's a huge difference between trying to consider all the facts to reach a good (as objective as possible) conclusion and thinking you have all the facts and can reach a good (wholly objective) conclusion.

"All the facts" means taking into account our cognitive imperfections. That is the essence of Pragmatism (I find myself admiring William James more and more these days . . . 25 years after falling in love with his The Varieties of Religious Experience). When we reach our rational conclusion, it ought to be with intense humility: at our cognitive biases we perceive, our cognitive biases we don't perceive, the cognitive biases of the people who gave us the facts that we took into consideration . . . and 243,901 other things, including things that wholly transcend our understanding (let's lump them under the term "Providence").

Our inability to see clearly is clear (pardon the paradox).

But our culture continues to harbor the ridiculous conceit.

The main reason, of course, is that those Cartesian bones can be wielded by politicians to implement their plans and designs. If there are objective answers to be derived from objective facts, the politicians who claim access to the experts to give them those objective answers can coherently implement whatever policies they want.

We all saw where it led in 2020-2021 when the experts merely "followed the science" and politicians had a great time, using a crisis to implement all sorts of draconian laws. I'm sure it was heady stuff for the politicians, to be using their superior intellectual powers to do so much good.

The problem, of course, is their superior intellectual powers are fatally flawed.

And that fatal flaw is the most important piece of information.

Thinking isn’t Rational: It’s Embodied Reasoning
David Weinberger at University Bookman
The Inherent and Severe Limitations of Thinking
In the early 1990s, I practiced law with a lot of impressive Jewish attorneys. One, particularly so. He was brilliant, aggressive, and driven. He also held a Ph.D. in philosophy. I always wanted to ask him why he got a doctorate in philosophy and then went to law school,

March 6, 2024

American Vandal

Michael Rodney endorses American Vandal. I strongly endorse his strong endorsement. It's possibly the best and funniest mini-series I've seen.

Netflix’s Hidden High School Comedy Gem
American Vandal

March 5, 2024

The Mere Concept of "Mental Health" Makes Us Unhealthy

Of course, this concern is rooted in language itself. By positing one thing, we amplify its opposite. It's why postmodernists hate binaries. It drove ancient Taoism's admonitions not to look at concepts like "good" and "hate." It drove the background of Dostoyevsky's story, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man.

But it doesn't change the fact: By asserting a concept like "mental health," we start looking for ways we aren't mentally healthy. And because our minds are remarkably complex and largely can't be explained (and not remotely understood) by science, we can all find ways we aren't "mentally healthy."

And on top of that, we incentivize people not to be mentally healthy, either by coddling them or flat-out giving them money.

The result: More and more people find themselves mentally unhealthy. And the further result: They do start to become mentally sick. Even if they start out wholly as frauds who merely pretend to be sick so they can go on disability, they eventually become sick. It's the lesson of the "Let's Pretend" chapter in C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity.

“Mental Health”: The Refuge of Scoundrels
Theodore Dalrymple at the Spectator

How long until a parent loses custody because he refuses to castrate his son?

"Gender-affirming care" will soon become a term of derogation, even in the corporate media. Every euphemism eventually becomes a joke and has to be replaced with something else by those who refuse to acknowledge the blemish concealed by the euphemism.

Indiana Catholic couple ‘living every parent’s nightmare’ after transgender custody case
After Mary and Jeremy Cox didn’t use the pronouns requested by their teenage son when he began to identify as a girl, Indiana Child Services removed him from his home.

One of the most interesting book reviews of the young year

(Subscription may be required)

The life of peasants was not pleasant
Patrick Joyce’s Remembering Peasants is not a history, although there is history in it. Nor is it an ethnographic treatise, although the
From the earliest agricultural settlements, some 8,000 years ago, most of mankind have been peasants. Yet in barely a century they have all but vanished. As recently as 1950, only a fifth of the world’s population lived in cities. Today 60 percent do. The figures for Europe are even starker. France was once the greatest peasant country on the continent, but today only 3 percent of the population is employed in agriculture. In the former communist countries of eastern Europe the same transformative changes have been compressed into just three decades. Where have the peasants gone? To the cities, to industry and services.

March 4, 2024

From the TDE Mailbag

Monday Column

It's interesting (and runs contrary to this essay) that our left-hemispheric modern culture goes to extremes to accommodate unusual people, like the overweight. Such tolerance, though, is born of the same dogmatism that caused the Nazis to euthanize the disabled. It's part of the postmodern religion of destroying all poles of the binary that have traditionally been privileged, which facilely shades off into destroying anything traditional, like the traditional belief that healthy is better than unhealthy . . . fit better than fat.

Why We Don’t Like Handicapped People
I was standing on a corner in Clemson, waiting for the walk sign after a Tuesday evening basketball game. Clemson had just come from behind to beat ACC rival Pittsburgh in an exciting, back-and-forth game. I had been traveling that week and was fatigued but had a good time. Now

March 1, 2024

Light Blogging

My apologies for the light blogging this week. I've been in Tennessee and South Carolina, visiting family and commiserating with the Agrarians. Regular blogging resumes Monday.

BTW: There will be no "Outside the Modern Limits" newsletter tomorrow morning.

February 29, 2204

I Loathe the Republican Party

But Thank Goodness for the Republican Party

This issue is so important, I'm not inclined to much care what kind of politics or demagoguery or other roguery is driving the opposition, just as long as this measure is exposed and stopped. It's that important.

GOP Senators Sound Alarm Over CBDCs, Propose Bill to Ban Them
Critics of CBDCs are concerned they could allow new levels of government interference in people’s finances.
According to the Human Rights Foundation, which unveiled a CBDC tracker in November 2023, out of 193 governments worldwide, 16 have deployed a working CBDC to the public, 39 have started a pilot program, and 64 are still in the research phase.Among the 55 governments that have deployed or are piloting a CBDC, many are dictatorial regimes, including Belarus, China, and Iran.Public opinion on CBDCs appears to be mixed. A 2023 Cato Institute National Survey found that only 16 percent of Americans support adopting a CBDC. About 34 percent were firmly opposed, and 49 percent had no opinion on the matter. Overall, the 2,000 Americans surveyed were more concerned about CBDC risks than enthusiastic about the possible benefits. . . . Former President Donald Trump has promised to “never allow” the Federal Reserve to create a CBDC in the country.
Economic Freedom is the First Freedom
This is a fundamental truth that many people don’t appreciate. We need food, clothes, and shelter to survive. Until those elements are addressed, nothing else matters. If our freedom to pursue survival is interfered with, our other freedoms suffer. It’s that simple. If you rely on someone else for survival,

Fadiman Revisted . . . and Revisited and Revisited

I like admirations that seem wholly disproportionate to the subject.

I'm not talking about the instant canonization of criminals. I'm also not talking about our culture's nauseating tendency to beat the living heck out of every fad, nor about our culture's tendency to go saccharine on anything beautiful, nor about our culture's inability to keep laudatory words within their original definition (e.g., calling everyone who does his job a "hero").

I'm talking about an earnest and elaborate admiration for something that, though worthy of respect and attention, wouldn't seem to merit such earnestness and elaboration.

Such is the 7,500-word essay that The Lamp published recently about Clifton Fadiman's A Lifetime Reading Plan (which is out of print, but you can find a revised and expanded version still in print here). I highly recommend it. It was good enough to get me to take my copy off the bookshelf and start reading entries again. I had forgotten how good it was.

Two Asides

The Lamp is a Catholic journal. Fadiman was close friends with the godfather of the Great Books program, Mortimer Adler, and dedicated A Lifetime Reading Plan to him. Surprisingly, the essay doesn't mention that Adler converted to Catholicism at the end of his life.

The Lamp has run a few (two? three?) essays by the great Joseph Epstein. Many years ago, Epstein wrote an unflattering portrait of the Great Books project, especially its "Synopticon" and its editor, Adler. Epstein's portrait of Adler was, by today's standards, civil, but by Epstein's standards, kinda vicious. I remember reading it and thinking, "This level of negativity is out of character for Epstein. He must've loathed Adler."

Mr. Payne, incidentally, seems to line up with Epstein's negative assessment of the Great Books project, especially the Synopticon, which he hilariously refers to as "an exercise in subclinical autism."

This two-volume work inventories one hundred and two Great Ideas, from Angel to World. The entry for each Great Idea contains references to passages in the Great Books where it is mentioned or discussed. It is hard to imagine this work being put to use by either laymen or scholars. If a layman is interested in the topic of Love, for instance, painstakingly searching up every mention of it, great or small, from Homer to Freud, seems like a less efficient use of time than reading a general overview, like de Rougemont’s. On the other hand, a scholar who is studying Plato’s idea of love will need years of philological work which Great Books in translation cannot give him, and will need to hone in on certain key passages and their controversies, such as Diotima’s ladder of ascent, which the Synopticon, in its completionist, all-inclusive grasp, will not differentiate. This index, the labor of seven years, today seems little more than an exercise in subclinical autism, one which even proponents of Great Books education never use. The Synopticon’s lack of educational purpose did not stop the Encyclopædia Britannica from commissioning an army of salesmen to travel around the country teaching people how to use it.
A Magisterial Appreciation for a Magisterial Effort: Fadiman’s Lifetime Reading Plan
Nathan Payne at The Lamp

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