November 30, 2022
Beautiful (if hard to read) Tridentine liturgical calendar:
November 29, 2022
Distributism = Localism
I've known Dale for years, but I'm not sure I've ever known him to publish outside of Chestertonian circles, at least not outside of Catholic ones. This appeared lately in Plough.
The advantage of the term “Localism” is that it already has a recognizable meaning: the support of local production and consumption of goods; local control of government; promotion of local history, local culture, and local identity; and the protection of local freedom. It is about directness and decentralization, whether in government or in commerce. It is opposed to globalism.
There are many people who want to take responsibility for their own lives, but they are increasingly frustrated by the feeling that everything is out of their control, and they cannot even say who is in control. They are weary of the complexities and complications brought on by bureaucracy and regulation, with no one being answerable for anything.
Localism means having control over the things that most directly affect you. Another term for this is “subsidiarity.”
Funny aside: I was once riding with Dale in a Chicago suburb when a woman driver cut him off and gave him the finger. He'd done nothing wrong. He slightly grimaced, then chuckled, then muttered "God bless ya." That wouldn't have been my first instinct and I don't think it was his, but he had control of himself and, I suspect, turned immediately to his second instinct and asked, "WWGKCD?"
November 28, 2022
1st Sunday of Advent: Our Savior expects to find us ready. Link.
Whew, another long Thanksgiving weekend. It was a flurry of activity from Wednesday through Sunday. I'm glad I told everyone there wouldn't be a Monday column, but I was able to jot this out before the flurry started last week:
I tip my hat to Harbaugh's coaching on Saturday. The second half was probably the best half of Michigan football I've ever seen.
November 27, 2022
New Video Out
Catholicism for the Modern World is putting out some good stuff. I'm greatly appreciative that they've taken an interest in my work.
November 25, 2022
It seems when you put men and women in remote, isolated conditions, the men are not always gentlemen. The article notes that "white men" are especially a problem.
November 23, 2022
Special Edition BYCU
November 22, 2022
Kauffman on Nisbet
No one these days crafts funnier ledes than Bill Kauffman, who apparently wrote an essay last month about my favorite sociologist (which is kinda like referring to "my favorite soccer player").
Nobert Nisbet must be the only man ever to have written for both Reason and Commentary, which is rather like James Dean being the only man ever to have slept with both Natalie Wood and Rock Hudson.
"Nisbet's best line ever, and he meant it: 'A square block in Manhattan has more community than the entire city of Tucson.'" https://t.co/kpR0L4CCxY
The Monday column video (the column from November 7th). More information about these videos to follow.
November 21, 2022
Shop Amazon Through TDE This Holiday Season
Remember: TDE is fueled almost exclusively by gin and a weird nervous energy that sane people find unsettling. If you want to help, please use a TDE referral link to Amazon this holiday season.
Diving deeper into Voegelin. This time, riffing off The World of the Polis and his late essay, "The Eclipse of Reality."
November 20, 2022
Newsletter 7 comes out tomorrow morning. We're talkin' the limits of academics, The Clash, Hemingway. Don't miss it.
November 18, 2022
Lining up for tonight, like guys on a girl's dance card. It's been a brutal week.
November 17, 2022
My Urban Farm This Morning
Last Thursday, I was working on my half-acre garden in shorts. Today?
November 16, 2022
The Rise of Urban Farms
Urban farms/gardens might be the feel-good story of the 2000s so far. They're apparently now providing food in more than negligible quantities.
And they often give it away, which makes urban farms symbiotic with the food stamp program that, under the influence of a massive snack food lobby in DC, lets people use their food stamps for potato chips, Monster energy drinks, and candy. Poor people can use their food stamps for junk food and then go to the urban farm for good food.
Perverse, but such is everything touched by the federal government.
November 15, 2022
November 14, 2022
The Tao: Your Transcendental Router
November 13, 2022
I'd never even heard of this dude. I'm intrigued now.
November 11, 2022
Mencken: Ready to Follow the Science
November 10, 2022
Are You Humble?
17 signs that you're not.
I'd add an 18th: You read a list like this and worry you're not hitting enough of them (which is what I do):
November 9, 2022
Holly Math Nerd, a pro-choice person who otherwise appears to be on the right side of the political spectrum, does a good job of summing up my impressions of last night. She then goes on to lay the blame on abortion's doorstep, and I think is correct. Pro-life is political suicide, and Catholics like Pope Francis aren't helping matters:
This is a dramatic underperformance. In the era of modern statistics (which I’m roughly citing as World War 2), when the President’s approval rating is under 50%, the out-of-power party picks up 43 House seats on average. (If the President is more popular, the pickup is about 28 seats.)
This is right and good. The founders designed the House to be an immediate popular response to government. This is why they’re all, always, up for re-election. And it’s fantastic that we always have a way, as citizens, to tell the President to watch his P’s and Q’s.
With the economy in the toilet and inflation at record highs, after years of COVID bulls*** that murdered many small businesses, the Republicans should have slaughtered the Democrats. The Democrats ran someone with literal brain damage in Pennsylvania and picked up a Senate seat.
Blue Morning After
A very bad night for the unborn, it would appear. I'm afraid "pro-life" means no victory, at least in Michigan. Based on the preliminary numbers, I'm guessing at least 50% of Catholics voted for the wicked Proposition 3. It's astonishing.
November 8, 2022
I love Casablanca. It's one of those movies I wish I'd seen more than twice. Nice reflection here.
Casablanca is a peerless illustration of Hollywood high style, exemplified in countless little details: the angle of Bergman’s hat, the crisp whiteness of Bogart’s dinner jacket
Feverish Demand for Used Car
I had to sell my kids' 2008 Ford Taurus: 250,000 miles, but in great shape for such vintage. He posted it to Facebook's local marketplace on Sunday and received two inquiries within five minutes. He sold it to one of the guys for $1,000 Monday evening. He went to shut down the notice and saw he'd received 32 more inquiries. I'm not sure what that says about things.
November 7, 2022
November 6, 2022
Best Catholic Essay of the Year?
That's what David Scott is calling it and I trust David Scott. Link.
Sister Maria D. Jackson, assigned to Our Lady of Pompeii, where my paternal grandparents were married in 1929, was a stranger to me. But my mind was on that childhood picture of the Devil, and I was anxious to start balancing the ledger of my actions. As we went from house to house, I was candid about the behavior that had brought me to her and took pains to let her know that the marriage had never been violent. Just a boatload of selfishness for which I wanted a do-over, itself a form of selfishness.
She reached into a pocket of her black skirts, took out a Rosary, and handed it to me.
“Here,” she said. “Try this.”
Since the beginning of my devotion to the Blessed Mother, I have kept a notebook on the radiator in front of the window titled “Rosary Ntz,” in which I take down what comes to me during the meditation.
November 5, 2022
The marauders at Anonymous and 4Chan are digital Vikings.
They strike at everything and everyone who thinks they're better than everyone else. Maybe that's why those fearsome creatures from the North are so popular in our culture today.
November 4, 2022
Why Do So Many Gin Brands Have Indian Names?
“The gin and tonic has saved more Englishmen’s lives, and minds, than all the doctors in the empire.” Winston Churchill
In early 19th century India, under the colonial rule of the British Raj, there was an onset of malaria. It was considered deadly then, but quinine was found to be a helpful cure. An alkaloid, quinine is a naturally occurring chemical compound that is added to tonic water. While today we have a range of flavored tonic water on grocery store shelves, it was an extremely bitter-tasting liquid back then. The soldiers started making concoctions to make it more palatable by mixing soda, water, sugar, lime, and eventually, gin. Voila! The gin and tonic was born.
If you have wondered why so many Indian names, such as Jodhpur, Bombay Sapphire, Maharani, or Chai, are on gin labels, or why classic tonic water is called “Indian tonic water,” you now have your answer.
November 2, 2022
The Master and His Emissary
Enthusiasts have described McGilchrist’s insights as a Copernican revolution in metaphysics. He himself would more modestly claim that he is simply reminding his readers, with the aid of the hemisphere hypothesis, of older and more enlightened ways of thinking.
The New Criterion has run a great book review of Iain McGilchrist's new book, which contains a great summary of his first book: The Master and His Emissary. Like others, I believe McGilchrist is doing the best scholarly work of the past 50 years.
In a healthy brain, both hemispheres constantly work together. Since many aspects of language engage the LH, however, our overwhelmingly verbalized modern existence promotes LH dominance. The results are seen about us: the fragmentation of society, the atrophy of value, the sterility of contemporary art, the increasing dominance of mechanical and bureaucratized thinking, the triumph of procedure over substance, and environmental despoliation. Today, we exist in a hall of mirrors where our self-validating left-brain modes of thought continually push us in the wrong direction. Recent phenomena such as critical theory and its baleful progeny are part of this picture.
November 1, 2022
I've been fascinated by Los Angeles' history for decades, at least since watching L.A. Confidential (1997). I've looked for decent histories but nothing seemed quite right.
But apparently, recently-deceased Mike Davis wrote one that might be exactly what I've been looking for: City of Quartz. I'm thinking it'd make a great Audible-Kindle combo purchase. My hand hovers over my mouse; Marie whispers in my ear ("Don't do it"). . . . stay tuned.
A Festivus for the Rest of Us
Well, tomorrow anyway. For today, let's remember the great ones we never knew.
Happy All Saints Day.
This is hugely important. In brief: Enlightenment rationalism is all about left hemisphere control over things it can't understand. The right hemisphere respects the things it can't understand, including things like "love" and the intuitive, implicit, poetic, tacit knowledge that comes from grappling with life in the trenches.
Disembedded knowledge is no knowledge at all. In fact, it's anti-knowledge.
"[W]e must now go back to St. Augustine to restore the balance of our cognitive powers." Michael Polanyi
Mark Mitchell, Michael Polanyi (ISI, 2006), p. 61
BTW: Descartes probably had a daughter who died young. It supposedly deeply affected him, so I'm not sure it's fair to lump him entirely with this group.