Author Archives: Matt

Tributes and Excerpts

Roger Kimball, editor of The New Criterion, offers his tribute to the late Sir Roger Scruton, British author, scholar and consummate gentleman:  “I delighted in witnessing his polemical nimbleness—it could be devastating—but unlike many able debaters there was an essential gentleness … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, Philosophy, Roger Scruton, Theodore Dalrymple

As I Please: Orwellian Insights

The term “Orwellian” typically implies something ominous, especially in the realm of politics, thanks to the British writer’s monitory fantasies 1984 and Animal Farm. But here I use the adjective more loosely, referring to Orwell’s perceptive treatment of a wide … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, George Orwell, Literature, Politics

The Disappointed Futurist

A hundred years ago, the British author H. G. Wells was a prominent social prognosticator. Today his theoretical views are largely neglected. This is the lament of a new biography by Sarah Cole, discussed in the Wall Street Journal. Cole’s … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, George Orwell, H. G. Wells, Literature

A Prophet Against Anonymous Dictatorship

“If you do not watch out, what the dictators wanted to achieve in a few years will materialize in fifty or a hundred; the result will be the same: the State will have conquered all, absorbed all; you will have … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Politics, Religion

Molnar on Bernanos

“If such a thing could be at all stated of a Christian… Bernanos could be called an ‘alienated man,’ somewhat in the sense in which Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Kafka were alienated. In reality, such a man is the least alienated … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Politics

Political Convenience and Moral Right

In a Christmas letter to his future biographer, Samuel Johnson wrote: “This is the time of year in which all express their good wishes to their friends, and I send mine to you and your family. May your lives be … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Samuel Johnson

A Philosophical Postscript

I have not read A. C. Grayling’s new History of Philosophy (Penguin), but Nicholas Stang provides an interesting summary of the work and of the challenges facing similar intellectual pursuits. Stang points out that philosophy is different from technical or … Continue reading

Posted in Etienne Gilson, Philosophy

A Hermit’s Tale for the Holidays

This Christmas Eve I found myself reading a biography of Paul of Thebes (c. 226 – c. 341), written by another saint – Jerome, the famous translator of the Bible into the Latin Vulgate. Paul is considered the first Christian … Continue reading

Posted in History, Religion

When Regret is a Good Thing

Williams Shatner, best remembered for his Captain Kirk role in Star Trek, argues that “Regret is the worst human emotion. If you took another road, you might have fallen off a cliff. I’m content.” This is sound thinking on a … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Religion

Rebels, Greeks and Pedants

I am venturing into Albert Camus’ The Rebel: An Essay on Man in Revolt with a mixture of curiosity and caution. I never quite know where Camus is going, and his thoughts are expressed in prose that is both dense … Continue reading

Posted in Existentialism, History, Philosophy, Politics, Theodore Dalrymple