Weepies, Smirks and the Ordeal of Classroom Civility

There is a special class of university students who are treated very much like children with a peanut allergy, the substance from which they are shielded being any hint that they and their opinions are not welcome in the university.  They are protected by the doctrine of “inclusion,” and the doctrine of “inclusion” predicates that, absent this doctrine, these students would be reduced to tears by the taunts and mockery of the uncouth oafs that have, time out of mind, monopolized the ivied halls. Continue reading

Violation at Leak’s Store: The Bryan Lynchings of 1874

“The stern underlying principle of the people who commit these barbarities is one that has its root deep in the basic passions of humanity; the determination to put an end to the ravishing of their women by an inferior race, or by any race, no matter what the consequences.” 

Thomas Nelson Page, The Negro: The Southerner’s Problem (1904)

If we use the word ravish nowadays, it will be in the literary sense of seized and transported by delight.  We use the words rapt and rapture in much the same way.  To be rapt is, for us, to be in the grip of a strong interest: to be fascinated or mesmerized.  Apart from premillennial dispensationalists, we use the word rapture as a synonym for bliss.  We are accustomed to hear of a ravishing beauty, of rapt attention, or of rapturous applause, and these pleasant associations make it hard for us to connect these words with the violent act we call rape. Continue reading

Rank Skullduggery in a Good Cause

“See the high priest informer turns,
So fierce his righteous fury burns
  Against the church’s foe.”

John Westley, “Paul’s Trial Before Felix” (1762)

The events of recent months remind us that high ideals are often accompanied by low deeds, and that those who say they are fighting on the side of the angels often reveal themselves as devils when they take up the sword.  There is nothing like the blaze of righteous fury to make men and women neglect the little decencies of honesty, courtesy, and respect for property not their own.  Let men and women undertake a regeneration of the world, and you will at once observe a sudden and striking degeneration in the everyday morals of those men and women. Continue reading

Wherefore Patriarchy?

A commenter this morning asked me to write an apology for “patriarchy,” and this I did, albeit with considerable misgiving. My misgiving springs from the knowledge than such requests are, as often as not, simply fishing for evidence of deplorable moral turpitude in the apologist. But I decided to accept “Emma’s” question as sincere, and so in this case “took the bait.”  After reading our exchange, T. Morris suggested that I promote it to a post.

Here is what Emma wrote in her comment.

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The New Party and Its Line

“One can be right only with the Party and through the Party, since history has not created any other paths for the realization of one’s rightness.” 

Leon Trotsky, Thirteenth Conference of the Communist Party (1924)*

We are often reminded that antibiotics tend, over time, to select for pathogens that are invulnerable to those antibiotics. Our present compulsive use of hand sanitizers has, for instance, created an antiseptic environment in which pathogens indurate to alcohol are fruitful and multiplying.  Anticommunism works in much the same way, eliminating certain forms and aspects of communism, but also breeding new forms that the old anticommunism can neither combat nor detect. Continue reading

What About Slavery to Sin?

“The pleasure of eating and sexual pleasure come from God.”

Pope Francis quoted in Carlo Petrini, TerraFutura (2020)

I wonder if the same can be said for the pleasure of murdering one’s enemy, or of pocketing the proceeds of a clever swindle.  These pleasures certainly arise from the nature of things, and so might be seen as two more delicacies in the rich banquet that God has laid out for the guests he has called to his table. Continue reading

It’s a Front

In the days of Soviet communism, one commonly heard that this or that political organization was a “communist front.”  The word front had two meanings.  On the one hand, it meant that the ostensible purpose of the organization was a façade that concealed its real purpose as part of the international communist conspiracy; on the other hand, it meant that, by setting up this organization, the communist party had opened a new “front” in the grand and coordinated strategy of the global Cold War.

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The Hot Blood of a Cyclops in My Veins

“I had forgotten the office of judge to which I was appointed . . . in 1835.  This office was nominal.  Nobody wanted to be judged.  The Texans were like the Israelites when they had no king.  Every man done what seemed good in his own eyes.” 

Jesse Grimes, Letter to J. de Cordova (March 26, 1857).

The next county east of here was named Grimes in honor of the author of my epigram.  Jesse Grimes came to Texas in 1826 and settled on an opening in the timber that was thereafter known as Grimes’ Prairie, and he served in many political offices under Mexico, the Republic of Texas, and the early State.  It is said that he held “peculiar views in religion,” but I have yet to see a document specifying those peculiarities.  Given that his parents named him Jesse, and were themselves named Sampson and Bathsheba, we may suppose that scripture knowledge was not absent from his upbringing, and that he therefore knew a thing or two about “the Israelites when they had no king.”

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We are Now Living in the Golden Age of Eavesdropping

“Our English reasons for vaunting our superiority to secrecy and spies are of very modern date.”

Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

I once knew a weaselly  fellow who had the habit of looking through other people’s mail and listening under other people’s windows.  This was evident because he also had the habit of dropping sly allusions to information he could have acquired in no other way.  This was when I was in graduate school and, like most of my fellow students, had my mail sent to the department in order to avoid frequent changes of address.  The graduate-student mailboxes were in the graduate student lounge, which this weaselly fellow haunted like a resident specter, and where he rifled through the mail when everyone else was away.

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