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

September 5, 2019

Waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists. – Sarah Palin (NRA annual meeting, 2014) Guns give us a pretty clear and simple way to think about this gross (orange) hairball we’ve just coughed up. In the United States, guns are collocative with a host of other right-wing cultural tropes that have found their way into our political idiom (white supremacy, states rights, limited government, homophobia, biblical fundamentalism, military zeal, homespun rural values and toxic nostalgia, among others). Did we assume (because… Read more

August 30, 2019

Previously in Calvin’s Ghost – 4 / Freedom In the spring of 1972, when Eli was 11 approaching 12, Harvard sociology professor Orlando Patterson arrived in town to lecture on research that would form the basis for his landmark book, Slavery and Social Death. Lando, whom Tobias knew well, joined the Wheeler family for dinner. Tobias dropped the news about their eminent dinner guest on Martha at the last minute, routing her from the tiny artist’s studio behind the house. Sighing,… Read more

August 30, 2019

Previously in Calvin’s Ghost – 3 / Pinocchio Real Boy One frosty February evening in 1971, the air dark and piquant upon his bare face and hands, 10-year old Eli shot his wet basketball at a hoop in the snow-shoveled driveway, hopping to his right and hopping to his left, then setting himself on of his good leg, his spring-loaded leg, not his Gumby leg. The wet ball banked off the board and into the basket. Eli cantered to retrieve… Read more

August 30, 2019

I wrote this geeky analysis of Wisconsin’s traumatic 2016 election landfall in the spring of 2017. Wisconsin is much on the mind of political junkies these days, who rightly view it as the bellwether for the national election in 2020 (listen to the latter 3rd of this recent Pod Save America podcast, in which Dan Pfeiffer interviews Ben Wikler, the chair of the Wisconsin Democratic party). Since Juneau County is a bellwether for Wisconsin, we might view the data explored… Read more

August 30, 2019

Natural law philosophy assumes intrinsic rational capacities of humans to properly perceive and pursue uniquely human goods. For centuries, natural law assumptions of intrinsic human rational capacities have been theologically agnostic. No Creator God required. Thoroughly optional! Beneath these open skies, natural law philosophy ranged broadly and proactively across the spectrum of evolving human circumstances and needs, to encompass international law, revolution and self-determination, social justice, and human rights. Since 1965, conservative natural law philosophers have systematically reverted to traditional… Read more




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