English traditional conservatives today exhibit a depressed passivity. They ruminate, probably with a glass of claret in hand, on how good the past was and how little can be done about today. Doubtless this enervation has to do with living in The Place Where Great Britain Used To Be, which is, like most of Europe (other than Hungary and Poland), a den of thought suppression and self-hatred, cursed with leaders who are mealy-mouthed, emasculated men and women of no use or value. Caught with wine glass in hand, the prolific Roger Scruton, who somehow manages to combine the highest quality thought with constant output, offers us a combination of worthwhile philosophy and worthless enervation. At best, this combination is unsatisfying. More importantly, this book is not timely, because it is inwardly focused and passively philosophical, in an age when too much focus on philosophy, and too little focus on brute action, has, like Judas Iscariot, betrayed conservatism into the hands of its enemies.Leave a Comment
This book’s title is a lie, as is most of what little history it contains. I read Europe Since 1989: A History to fill in the gaps from Tony Judt’s Postwar, which ends its history around 2000. Philipp Ther’s book was published in 2014, with an English translation in 2016, and it specifically name-checks Judt’s book. Thus, it seemed like the ideal way to bring my knowledge to the present day. But this book could better be titled A Narrow Attack on the Economics and Social Impact of Neoliberalism in Post-Communist Eastern Europe; Or Why State Socialism is Awesome. This book is, in fact, an apologetic for Communism, and a plea for a return to as many aspects of it as feasible, buried under a mishmash of rambling attacks on the economic methods used during the return to freedom of Eastern Europe.Leave a Comment
Let us talk of many things, as the Walrus said, but primarily, of neoreaction. What follows is the start of what I hope to make an extended exploration of this line of thought, for which I have much sympathy. I embark on this project for four reasons. First, to amuse myself. Second, in order to make my own thinking coherent, for confusion already stalks the land, and why add to it? Third, in the hope that what I say may bring value to others, since a man should not bury his single talent. And fourth, so that in some small way, in a manner yet to be revealed, this combination of analysis of others and thoughts of mine will help to either forge the future, or smash and remake the present.Leave a Comment
[This is a colloquy resulting from my earlier review of Mark Lilla’s The Once and Future Liberal. Italics are my interlocutor, a partner in a noted opinion research firm with strong Democratic connections.]
Charles, I appreciate you calling my attention to this volume. It’s a slim volume and a breezy read, its central argument delivered with vigor and confidence, briskly unencumbered by evidence or data. It reflects a line of argument that has been quite popular on the right in recent months, with a handful of adherents on the left, and one in need of rigorous analysis and discussion — which this book does not provide.
But let me start with areas where Lilla and I agree; there are several. Like him, I am a liberal – and like him, I would like liberals to be more effective in accomplishing their policy goals. With that goal in mind, Lilla makes two observations with which I wholeheartedly agree.3 Comments
I oppose the theory and practice of Euro-multiculturalism as both stupid and suicidal. Thus, when I read Pankaj Mishra’s recent review of Rita Chin’s book in The New York Times, it struck me that, in order to be fair, I should read it. All work and no play makes Jack a dull and narrow boy, after all. I was not a fan of the most recent pro-multicultural book I read, James Kirchick’s The End of Europe, but I figured that maybe the second time would be a charm. It was not, but this book was interesting, and not dreadful, which is really all one can ask of any pro-multicultural book, since it necessarily has to fight an uphill battle against facts and reason.Leave a Comment