Tag: American

An entirely untested hypothesis

Here’s a thought I just had: what if Americans aren’t anti-intellectual per se but have an aversion to the Appeal to Authority? In my experience, actually taking the time to articulate the argument for a counter-intuitive idea at least gets the most right-wing and the most liberal Americans I know to consider the idea on its…

Christian Suffering and Divine Alienation

I know of no book more convicting than Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship; read this book closely and seriously enough, and you will likely have to stop calling yourself a Christian. Bonhoeffer’s stark and savage denunciation of Christendom surpasses even Kierkegaard’s and shines a floodlight on the reader’s embrace of civic religion and what…

Bowls of Milk

Something about nineteenth-century America made great novelists shoot for immense public success by eliminating what it was about their writing that made them great. The most obvious and egregious example is Herman Melville’s follow-up to Moby-Dick, 1852’s little-loved Pierre: Or, the Ambiguities. The official story is that Melville had set out to write a sweet…

Breaking Our Silence for Walker Percy

Walker Percy, the guy on the far right of our banner, died twenty years ago today. His death was in its way a victory. He’d contracted tuberculosis in the early 1940s and spent much of his young manhood in sanatoriums–where he read vociferously, especially the existentialists, and especially Søren Kierkegaard and Gabriel Marcel, who converted…

Seeing Order: Four Random Birthdays

Today, February 24, is the birthday of many people, obviously.* I have selected four whom I find especially interesting for personal reasons. Strangely, however, I see an order among them: namely, the act of seeing order itself. I leave these tidbits uninterpreted and undigested–you may find in them what order you like, and attempt a…

Emerson, Poe, and the War on Science

I’ve been accused of being “anti-science” on the podcast, a charge against which I’ve done my best to defend myself. My suspicion, as I say in that second post, is not of science qua science but of science’s attempt to either (a) discover metaphysical truth; or, more often these days, (b) discount metaphysical truth as…