Category Archives: Politics

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

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

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

Modern Insensibilities

“When once the forms of civility are violated, there remains little hope of return to kindness or decency.”—Samuel Johnson Recent years have seen the complete removal of filters on public discourse. Expletives grace the covers of best-selling volumes. Prominent celebrities … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, Politics, Samuel Johnson

What Were They Fighting For?

Critics of the Confederacy say that slavery was the critical factor in secession. Some states, like Missouri, made it clear in their declarations to leave the Union that “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery.” By contrast, … Continue reading

Posted in History, Politics

Religion, Politics and Mysticism

 “Just as it is possible to conceive of a religion which will satisfy man’s religious needs without being applicable to the social situation of modern Europe—as, for example, in Buddhism—so we can construct, at least in theory, a religion which … Continue reading

Posted in History, Philosophy, Politics, Religion

Necessary Evils: Readings on Politics

“Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.”—Thomas Paine Apropos of my own observations on the recent clamor for social perfection is an opinion piece in The Atlantic (“The Unfortunate Fallout … Continue reading

Posted in Politics

The High Cost of Political Perfection

Recent events prompted me to dust off my books on the Soviet Union, especially those chronicling the Stalinist purges of 1936-38, which claimed over half a million lives. There was a time when reading such works was an intellectual curiosity; … Continue reading

Posted in History, Politics

Muggeridge’s Memoirs

I realize that over the years I have dedicated very little space to Malcolm Muggeridge. This paucity is perhaps due to sheer irresolution when faced with the depth and volume of his insights. Where to begin? For the moment I … Continue reading

Posted in History, Politics