July 20, 2019

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings _____ I wrote this essay in the immediate aftermath of the 2016 presidential election. Reading it nearly 3 years later reminds… Read more

July 19, 2019

Note: I wrote this essay a number of years ago, but am mindful of its relevance as we consider the Antonin Scalia legacy in the aftermath of his death, a task that remains especially vital as more than three years Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump have reshaped the entire federal judiciary in his image (including, of course, the Supreme Court). Yesterday, Donald Trump also announced his intention to nominate Scalia’s son Eugene, also an attorney, to replace Alexander Acosta as… Read more

July 18, 2019

Despite his wannabe symphony orchestra conducting pretensions, Dennis Prager is one of the more discordant and less thoughtful of the morality police on the right. Which is to say he is – at his best, when hitting the high notes – an unsophisticated scold. But Prager is worth tracking anyway. He has for two decades been a fixture of the Salem Media Group’s low-rent network of right-wing, Christian print, radio, and digital content properties (Salem owns a slew of radio… Read more

July 17, 2019

Well, since we’ve been chatting about Peter Thiel … In July 2017, The New York Times published a fascinating essay about the cult-like worship of Ayn Rand among Silicon Valley tech bros such as Peter Thiel and Travis Kalanick, and of Donald Trump administration insiders such as Rex Tillerson, Mike Pompeo, and Trump himself. In a much-read and discussed December 2016 LinkedIn post, hedge fund impresario Ray Dalio concisely (and presciently) characterized what we might expect the “traumatic” impact on politics… Read more

July 16, 2019

Early in 2017, the redowdable Maureen Dowd interviewed Peter Thiel (for the “Fashion and Style” section of the New York Times). Technology blog Gizmodo printed an orgy of quotes from the interview and gushed about its subject. Both Maureen Dowd and Peter Thiel are currently back in the spotlight for stirring up shit – Dowd for sponsoring the recent lunch where Nancy Pelosi ate her own maladaptive children (the wayward women of “the Squad”) and Thiel for his keynote at the National Conservatism conference in… Read more

July 14, 2019

The Creation Project excavates Western history using the conceptual tools of complexity science. The contemporary story that foregrounds this archeological dig emphasizes the philosophical and political influence in the past five decades of a reactionary slice of American Catholicism. In this period, the ideas, organizations, and personalities of impresarios ranging from Antonin Scalia to Robert George to Leonard Leo to Steve Bannon have driven wedge politics and moved the political landscape decisively to the right. This focus on “radical traditionalist”… Read more

July 12, 2019

Conversations on religious influences in American public life in the Trump era typically focus on white evangelical Protestant support for Donald Trump and the Christian nationalist wing of the Republican Party. The impact of Israeli-aligned Jewish political organizations and conservative Jewish political donors such as Sheldon Adelson is also well-known. However, the rise and organizational strength of American conservatism is, in fact, a remarkable 50-year saga of intellectual and theological penetration of the halls of power by a hard-right slice of… Read more

July 10, 2019

The premise of The Creation Project is that we will never understand and address the cognitive and existential dread the Donald Trump phenomenon has unleashed by merely parsing the man or the immediate circumstances surrounding his election and its aftermath. In a period marked by the unprecedented unraveling of the geological and biological premises of our existence, normal political talking points, policy wonkery, and electoral shenanigans are not sufficient tools for the job. To understand this cultural and political inversion,… Read more

Browse Our Archives