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

August 24, 2019

The New Yorker’s contentious interview with conservative University of Pennsylvania law professor Amy Wax (entitled A Penn Law Professor Wants to Make America White Again) is so weird. I sensed some of this weirdness in my own analysis of Amy Wax’s (much-maligned) address to the (much-maligned) July conference on National Conservatism in Washington, DC. But she ratchets up the strangeness in her Q&A with Isaac Chotiner. Wax is both bright and obtuse at the same time. She generally defends free speech and free… Read more

August 24, 2019

The NY Times knows what’s up. You don’t have to love or agree with the premise of the Times 1619 Project – that we can only understand American history by placing slavery and racism at the center of that history. You don’t have to think the essays represent transformative historiography. What matters is that with this project the terms of a real conversation about American history can now take place. History is inherently a conservative academic discipline (methodologically and, to some… Read more

August 23, 2019

Previously in Calvin’s Ghost – 2 / Giant Beast Eli. A Pinocchio real-boy with spindly, tinker-toy legs. Using these legs, he plied the vaulted heights of McCosh Hall, collegiate gothic classroom exemplar on the west side of the Princeton campus, but showing its age. It was an Indian summer afternoon several weeks into October of this same 4th-grade year. Eli tested the wooden stairs at the back of the building. He planted his feet carefully, each step a singularity, the… Read more

August 23, 2019

Previously in Calvin’s Ghost – Chapter 1 / No Man’s Land   In these early years of wide-eyed expectancy, Eli hugely anticipated Sunday excursions with his father to Princeton University’s mammoth, labyrinthine library, not least because these jaunts typically ended with breakfast at the pancake house directly across Nassau Street (or Lincoln Highway, the archaic name still used only by Tobias), with Eli sprinting around the corner of the library, accelerating to the row of elm trees lining the street,… Read more

August 22, 2019

The selections below illustrate the broad scope and application of natural law philosophy to Christian conservative perspectives on the issues that most divide the United States (and European nations) in this historical moment: a) how we think about and interpret history; b) the legacy and meaning of slavery and racism for national identity; c) migration, borders, empathy, and identity; d) Christianity, capitalism, and socialism; e) free will, self-ownership, and suicide; g) Western civilization as the mirror of God; h) tradition… Read more

August 19, 2019

Misdirection. A form of deception in which the attention of an audience is focused on one thing in order to distract its attention from another. Managing the audience’s attention is the aim of all theater, it is the foremost requirement of theatrical magic. – Wikipedia On November 6, 2018, in a much-anticipated game on the first day of the NCAA men’s basketball season, the preseason 4th-ranked Duke Blue Devils, led by the incomparable South Carolina freshman Zion Williamson, thrashed the… Read more

August 18, 2019

Previously in Calvin’s Ghost – The Spin   Here is Eli Wheeler in September 1969, a 9-year old, freshly commissioned 4rd-grader, all innocence and watchful awareness. Was he happy? Certainly not. But Eli was expectant. At recess, sprinting with his mates, out the back door of the classroom to the playfield. The stately elms filtering sunlight. The blue asphalt warming. Eli loved school, especially his short, attentive teacher, Mrs. Greenberry, with her Jackie Onassis bouffant and perfume smelling of earth… Read more

August 18, 2019

This is a guest post from journalist Andrew Schwartz, who spoke with Andrew Yang in October 2018, shortly after Yang declared his improbable candidacy for the presidency as a Democrat. This article originally appeared in the online journal of popular culture, Mangoprism. Last fall, I interviewed the presidential candidate Andrew Yang for half an hour before he held a rally in Chicago. His candidacy was relatively unknown at the time, so he was (and I believe still is) taking all… Read more




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