James Poulos is now a father: wife Courtney gave birth to Nikos James yesterday evening. Warm, heartfelt congratulations to them!
Davey defends Marilynne Robinson’s Home, which I just finished last night, against Rusty Reno’s inconceivably off-base attack, at First Things (Are we surprised?) here, at Theopolitical
This is, in my humble estimation, one of the finer novels of the day (as is its companion and predecessor, Gilead), and Jack Boughton — Antagonist? Protagonist? Both — is one of the most fascinating characters you’ll find. The way in which Robinson attends to the complexities of the strained (to say the least) relationship between Jack and his father, the aged Rev. Boughton; his sister, Glory; and his namesake, and father’s best friend, the Rev. John Ames, is strikingly beautiful, and there’s a touchingly conflicted Front Porch Republic-esque appreciation of place permeating the novel.
Read Davey’s excellent response to Reno, and pick up Home (and Gilead) if you haven’t already.
Last month, the editors of The American Conservative announced that without a significant increase in financial resources, this bastion of reasoned thought on the Right would go under. Happily, they announced that, having enjoyed most generous responses from their readership, TAC will survive, although now as a monthly, rather than bi-weekly publication.
Recently, John Schwenkler’s Upturned Earth, always one of my favorites, moved to the magazine’s Website, joining Dr. Larison’s Eunomia and @TAC. The word on the street is that, within the next couple of weeks, they’ll be further expanding the magazine’s online presence, thus providing even more of a supplement to the excellent fare they proffer on paper.
If you don’t read the aforementioned Weblogs, then make a point of doing so. Bookmark The American Conservative, consider subscribing to the magazine (which, I note, is the only magazine to which I subscribe that I make a point of reading cover-to-cover within a few days, rather than allowing issues to pile up: Suck it, The New Yorker!), and, if you can afford it, consider making a donation beyond the subscription rate (which I intend to do if, ya know, I ever have a source of income again!).
Seriously, folks, support and enjoy this magazine. Any organ that can print articles suggesting that Carter wasn’t all bad, that Reagan wasn’t all good, and that Norman Mailer could have done wonders as mayor of NYC (written by Mailer’s youngest son); interview Mailer and Ralph Nader without selling out or using the interviews as excuses to trash these folks; and still legitimately pass as conservative is surely worth reading! Methinks that Burke and Kirk would agree. Röpke, too!
I know that, as seems always to be the case, I’ve been dreadfully remiss in the upkeep of this humble online bastion of Nathanism, and for this I apologize. I’m sure I’ve been busy or something. Anyhow, I just relieved myself of a serious academic burden, and intend to write a few things this weekend.
This evening I attended a wonderful Tocqueville Forum debate, between Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute and David Schindler of the JPII Institute and moderated by Patrick J. Deneen, at Georgetown. Tomorrow, I’ll venture twice into DC, once for a lunch-hour discussion at the Heritage Foundation featuring Tim Carney and Matthew B. Crawford, and then later in the afternoon back to Georgetown for another Tocqueville Forum event, a lecture by Prof. Bacevich. Doubtless, I’ll have somethings — or some things — to say about any and all of this.
Finally, I’ll be offering, finally, my thoughts, on the Obama-at-Notre Dame controversy. For now, Mr. Kain has posted a nice excerpt here.
Professor Deneen’s “Oeco-system.” It’s a really good piece, too — not just a superbly titled post.
Here’s a snippet:
Meanwhile, for many years now, cosmopolitans have sought to liberate humans from the narrow boundaries of unchosen communities, have urged a globalist ethic that regards humans as appropriately citizens of the world and at home nowhere in particular. Seeking the liberation of opressed individuals from the depradations of local communities, cosmopolitans have sought to commend an ethic of “multiculturalism” often at the expense of culture proper.
We should see clearly that the modern ethic, in all of its forms – philosophic, economic, political, theological, artistic – aims at the elimination of culture. Culture is an eco-system with added presence of human beings. Culture springs up in local places based on local diversities and natural conditions. In a healthy eco-system, cultures are robust and can expect to thrive – like snail-darters or tree-frogs – into the indefinite future. Under threat from external forces, they prove to be fragile and with relative ease are rendered extinct: destroy the eco-system that gives rise to and sustains creatures or cultures, those creatures and cultures are eradicated with remarkable ease and alacrity.
The commendation of “multiculturalism” is everywhere the recommended stance of our time (while this is a position most often visible on the Left, it is also in fact the default position of many on the Right, particularly in their encouragement of “free trade” whose result is a polyglot commercial sphere. Readers should consult the work of Tyler Cowen for the “Right” version of multicultural enthusiasm).
Delicious, huh? Here’s his scintillating concluding paragraph:
What needs fundamental reassessment is the idea that the current Left and Right represent true alternatives on our political stage today. There are legitimate differences, to be sure, but it turns out that what makes them more similar undermines their points of legitimate difference. Asking us to choose between “the environment” or “family values” (for instance) while simultaneously demanding that we sign on to a more fundamental agenda that makes either – or both – of those commitments finally untenable is either the most brilliantly contrived political conspiracy of all time, or simply a reflection of yet unquestioned commitments to a modern agenda that will ultimately destroy the natural and cultural pre-conditions of its own success.