Paper Clippings The Blog of The Crossroads Cultural Center
Paper Clippings, more than a classical blog, is a service providing valuable reading material in order to help readers reach a judgment about current affairs. Comments and discussion are more than welcome.
A brilliant essay by Roger Scruton on John Stuart Mill, the father of English-speaking liberalism (as in "everything is OK between consenting adults").
He never understood that the intellect, which flies so easily to its conclusions, relies on something else for its premises. Those conservatives who upheld what Mill called "the despotism of custom" against the "experiments in living" advocated in "On Liberty" were not stupid simply because they recognized the limits of the human intellect. They were, on the contrary, aware that freedom and custom are mutually dependent, and that to free oneself from moral norms is to surrender to the state. For only the state can manage the ensuing disaster.
Ultra-nihilist French writer Michel Houellebecq is an involuntary witness to the truth of Dostoevski's remark: "if you take away from man the possibility of bowing in front of the Infinite, he dies." In Houellebecq's case, he rots.
An excellent Spengler column on Freud and the "sexual revolution."
The therapeutic community has perfectly valid explanations for anorexia and self-harm at the individual level. But it reminds me of a doctor who explains with great precision how a metal object has passed through your body wreaking damage on various organs without also mentioning that the city in which you live is subject to aerial bombardment. Without addressing the cultural catastrophe, the therapeutic profession will be hard put to save many of the individuals.
Human beings are not beasts content with daily fodder and rutting in season. To be sentient is to be sentient of one's mortality. The status of wife and mother in a family within a community offers women an honored position and a link to the eternal. Sexual objectification leaves women with a foretaste of death, and it should be no surprise that Freud's program drives women into deadly behavior.
George Weigel and Marcello Pera were the keynote speakers in a gathering of American and European intellectuals hosted in Vienna, Austria, by Cardinal Christoph Schonborn. They were invited to discuss the Christian identity and roots of Europe and the challenge of Islam. John Allen is reporting on the event and on "the differences between the doves and the hawks" in the Catholic approach to Islam. It seems that the debate proposed in February by Crossroads in New York is alive and kicking...
Peter Beinart has written a book comparing how American liberal faced the cold war to how they (and their opponents) are facing the war on terror. His historical analysis is very interesting, but his hope to provide a model for the present sounds like wishful thinking. The sixties happened. What does today's "liberal" culture have in common with the likes of Reinhold Niebuhr?
This report on the grotesque economic boom in Dubai shows that the globalizing, capitalistic answer to the problem of modernization in the Arab world is more or less as inhuman as the fundamentalist solution. In a way, the two are complementary and represent two sides of the same cultural breakdown.
This article on Sen. John Allen of Virginia is more interesting from an anthropological than from a political point of view. Many of us have met that unique American phenomenon: the fake hillbilly. That means someone who grew up in the suburbs around Los Angeles and, in order to find some kind of meaningful identity, in his teenage years embraced the romantic mith of rural America, and especially of the Old South, to the point of sincerely thinking of himself as a Good Old Boy from Virginia. That includes dreaming about the glories of the Confederacy, chewing tobacco, wearing cowboy boots, developing a Southern drawl, embracing a certain brand of red-state republicanism etc. It is obviously a genuine expression of the Religious Sense.