Anthony Esolen

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War Without End, Amen
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War Without End, Amen

I have often complained that the self-styled progressive of our time never tells us where he wants to go. Progress implies a destination, and rest—sweet and blessed rest—once you have arrived. But that would imply a natural human order to return to, or to attain. And then what?   Then what? The progressive sweats. He...

On Noise, or an Exercise of ‘Kraugatology’
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On Noise, or an Exercise of ‘Kraugatology’

To understand contemporary Western culture and politics, I suggest a term for something that is as old as the experience of man, but which has never before settled into institutional permanence. I shall call it noise. What do I mean by this? We must draw a fundamental distinction. Noise, as I use the term, is...

Deconstructing the Decolonizers
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Deconstructing the Decolonizers

“Decolonization” is the new badge for right-thinking professors and teachers. The word reveals more about those who use it than about their imaginary oppressors. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. The great haters in our midst have the word “hate” perpetually on their lips. So do the decolonizers. What that term...

Ressentiment: He Hates, Therefore He Is
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Ressentiment: He Hates, Therefore He Is

A few days ago, rioters in Boston defaced the Robert Shaw Memorial, a masterpiece in high relief wrought by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, whom I consider to be, alongside Frederic Remington, the most distinctly American of our sculptors. I am supposing that the attack on the memorial was no mere act of vandalism, no instance of “rioting mainly...

What the Editors Are Reading
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What the Editors Are Reading

Swedish author Pär Lagerkvist won the Nobel Prize for literature largely on account of his remarkable novel Barabbas (1950). It is like and unlike the best of other such novels based on events surrounding the life of Christ: Henryk Sienkiewicz’s Quo Vadis (1896) and Riccardo Bacchelli’s Lo sguardo di Gesù (The Countenance of Jesus) (1954)....

Coins of the Realm
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Coins of the Realm

When he was president, Theodore Roosevelt, a patron of arts and letters, commissioned the redesign of American coins, especially the small denominations in common circulation, from the penny to the dollar. He was right to complain about the existing designs; at least about the nickel, the dime, the quarter, and the half. However, the Indian...

Farewell to P.C.
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Farewell to P.C.

“It is true that Professor Esolen enjoys academic freedom,” said Madame Lafarge, who now numbers among my former colleagues, “but academic freedom must be used responsibly.”  The assembled students, almost all of them from the political left, cheered and clicked their “clickers,” a form of public approbation I had not witnessed or even heard of...

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The Equality Shell Game

“For there is no longer Jew nor Greek, neither free man nor slave, neither man nor woman,” says Pseudo-Paul, the apostle to the Americans, “but all are equal in Christ Jesus.”  He has been studying his Pseudo-John, wherein the risen Lord says to Peter, “I have been praying for you, Simon, that you might strengthen...

The Body as Billboard
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The Body as Billboard

The blind poet Milton, praying for divine inspiration, tells us what he misses most since losing his sight: Thus with the year Seasons return, but not to me returns Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn, Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer’s rose, Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine. The...