September 14, 2019

Previously in Calvin’s Ghost – 8 / Gym Rat Matters did not improve after the disastrous first day of school the previous September, the hoped-for friendships not materializing, Lawrence drawing further into himself, school an unmitigated, agonizing struggle, Lawrence unable to crawl from bed in the morning, bedroom stank-suffused, piles of dirty clothes, torn black-light posters hanging loose from the walls, a broken-framed fishing photo of Lawrence, Eli, and Tobias askew and half-smothered on his desk, shades drawn, appearance deteriorating,… Read more

September 14, 2019

Previously in Calvin’s Ghost – 7 / Brokenness Breaking Eli was a gym rat, a fixture of student pickup games in the bowels of Princeton’s resplendent, gothic fortress-gymnasium. Eli played at the gym Wednesday evenings, when the basketball court opened exclusively to local high school students. Even from the early days it had been so, on those ginger autumn afternoons, with his father strolling around the tulip poplar at the corner of the driveway and ascending toward the house, knowing… Read more

September 11, 2019

Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity. Surely some revelation is at hand; Surely the Second Coming is at hand. The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out When a vast image out of… Read more

September 10, 2019

For those who are interested, I include below the preliminary table of chapter contents for my (as yet unwritten) book, The Creation Project. Along with essays relevant to each chapter. More to come. 1/ Introduction: An Immodest Proposal for Immodest Times Part One – Dark Enlightenment: Democracy’s Inversion and the Brutalist Sensibility 2 / Which “Tea Party?”: The Intellectual Source Code of the Trump Movement Steve Bannon’s Second Coming 3/ Catholic Foundations of American Conservative Thought Culture War Catholicism and… Read more

September 10, 2019

Imbibing the insinuating logic of “natural law,” “originalist” and “textualist” methods, Neil Gorsuch heralds a new era that transforms judges into priests of the occult who examine the entrails of ancient texts on behalf of ancient concepts of order that have almost nothing to do with the rule of law or the values of justice and equity or the lived experiences of Americans inhabiting a tottering planet in the 21st century. Gorsuch is worth studying because (far more than his old high school chum Brett Kavanaugh) he illustrates what a federal judiciary dominated by attorneys birthed and cossetted within the insular folds of the Federalist Society will look like as the Senate’s Sorting Hat speeds Trump-appointed judges to federal courts that each increasingly resemble the Hogwarts House of Slytherin. Read more

September 7, 2019

This article originally appeared on the Ploughshares Fund website. For nearly 40 years, Ploughshares Fund has supported the most effective people and organizations in the world to reduce and eventually eliminate the dangers posed by nuclear weapons. Since 1981, Ploughshares Fund has distributed nearly $100 million in grants to organization such as the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the William Perry Project. Please consider donating to the Ploughshares Fund. Gael Tarleton is a Ploughshares Fund… Read more

September 6, 2019

In recent years, I’ve written quite a bit about the ideas and influence of conservative legal scholar, political philosopher, and public intellectual Robert P. (Robby) George, who serves as the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. At the risk of inserting myself too directly into the intellectual fabric of the stuff I’ve written, it seems reasonable to account for this somewhat weird focus of my labors. The specific… Read more

September 6, 2019

Previously in Calvin’s Ghost – 6 / Northeast Corridor “Sin is not visible,” said Tobias. This confused Eli. They strode briskly up Prospect Avenue. Another autumnal day. Another year. “According to the Puritans, certainly, and I believe they nailed the concept, Eli, fully and properly extracting meaning from it, sin is neither an action nor an event. Nor is sin a type or category of behavior. Good intentions and a virtuous mien. They simply don’t matter. They are window dressing.”… Read more

September 6, 2019

Previously in Calvin’s Ghost – 5 / Orlando Patterson Princeton preciously preserved, like folk art, its own Negro ghetto, a few dense blocks of dark and tiny row houses circumscribed by the university, the mansions of the gentry, and the Borough’s small, exclusive commercial district. This shopping quarter also buffered the black neighborhood from white ethnic enclaves, tree-lined streets where working-class Catholics sprawled on lazy summer days in wife-beaters, Italians and Poles mostly, who occupied shabby duplexes, drove dented Chevy’s,… Read more

September 5, 2019

Following the 2016 presidential election, Politico published a really interesting post (and podcast) about Chuck Todd’s experiences interviewing Donald Trump, with insights about Trump’s daddy issues, Trump’s not-laughing issues, and Trump’s manipulative-messing-with-the-media-pajama-interview issues. But far and away, the most interesting Chuck Todd insight concerned Trump’s visual-and-meta-visual issues, which captures a truth about contemporary politics that extends well beyond Trump to the structural foundations of our political imagination. The consequences of this visual perspective on politics are far-reaching and important for how we think about… Read more




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