Author Archives: Matt

Tales From the Golden Age

Recently I’ve taken time out with books from the “Golden Age” of science fiction. The first two entries are from the Winston series of the 1950s-60s, aimed at younger readers. The stories are definitely more facile, but action packed—the sort … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction

Humanity, Ideology and Individual Destiny

“There may be community… of material possessions, but there can never be community of love or of esteem.”—Samuel Johnson, Rasselas Continuing my reading of French philosopher Raymond Aron, I came across some passages which confirm the age-old insight that humanity’s … Continue reading

Posted in Existentialism, Philosophy, Politics, Religion

From His Age to Ours: St. Bede the Historian

Relatively little is known about the Englishman St. Bede (672-735), traditionally referred to as the “Venerable Bede,” who lived in that misty period known as the Dark Ages. Even so, the genius of the Benedictine monk who labored at the … Continue reading

Posted in History, Religion

Adversity and Gratitude

“As no man can enjoy happiness without thinking that he enjoys it, the experience of calamity is necessary to a just sense of better fortune: for the good of our present state is merely comparative, and the evil which every … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Stoicism

The Pursuit of Intellectual Integrity

“To pursue examination with a mind free of contemporary or private preconceptions is extremely difficult.”—Moses Hadas A recent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal highlights the continued challenges to intellectual freedom in higher education. In its November 17 column, … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Politics

Bunker Mentality

German historian Joachim Fest (1926 – 2006) was undoubtedly the Hitler expert par excellence. One of his final books on the subject was, appropriately, a look at the last days of the Third Reich, Inside Hitler’ Bunker. It is a … Continue reading

Posted in History, Politics

Lord Greystoke of the Jungle

Edgar Rice Burrough’s Tarzan of the Apes (1912) is certainly one of the best page-turners I’ve encountered in awhile. Like many people I knew, or thought I knew, the Tarzan story through the old Johnny Weissmuller films that I grew … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction

Goethe and the Conservatism of Experience

The adage, often apocryphally attributed to Churchill, about age and political disposition may actually have originated with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The German poet once said to a friend that “everybody is a democrat in youth, when they have nothing … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, History, Literature, Politics

Primal Things Which Move Us

Hilaire Belloc’s book The Old Road (1904), which traces the ancient Roman road from Winchester to Canterbury, is unlike most of his other travel writings in that it is primarily a “technical study” and thus of limited interest to the … Continue reading

Posted in Hilaire Belloc, History

A Weekend Meditation

“Remember how long you have delayed, how often the gods have appointed the day of your redemption and you have let it pass. Now, if ever, you must realize of what kind of ordered universe you are a part, of … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Religion, Samuel Johnson, Stoicism