Category: Correspondence

Home Correspondence
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Demolition Day

The 150th Anniversary (or Sesquicentennial) of Canadian Confederation will be celebrated on July 1.  That holiday was traditionally denominated “Dominion Day,” as Canada was officially called “the Dominion of Canada”—a term which has now fallen into disuse.  The holiday is

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Scandalous Education: UT’s War on Standards

In 2003, the Supreme Court expected “that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary” in university admissions.  That was the conventional wisdom of the time.  Affirmative action was supposed to be a temporary

Getting Medieval on Middle Age
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Getting Medieval on Middle Age

I turned forty-one this year.  I left a psychological plateau (a crisis would have been way more exciting) and a legal career behind.  I suppose an alcohol-fueled bender or an illicit affair broadcast on social media would be what most

War on Louisville—or War on Kentucky?
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War on Louisville—or War on Kentucky?

In one corner, there is Kentucky’s upbeat governor, whose attractive wife, five biological children, and four adopted children compose a family too large to fit into the traditional governor’s mansion.  New England-bred Matthew Bevin speaks out for religious freedom, promotes

Did Populism “Lose”?
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Did Populism “Lose”?

After the Dutch election on March 15, both Dutch and international media delivered a unanimous verdict: Prime Minister Mark Rutte had “won the election.”  Rutte’s Liberal Party “won” by losing eight seats, while his coalition partner, the Labour Party, suffered

Sicced on Citizens
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Sicced on Citizens

Nowadays, the federal government is the closest thing many Americans have to a religion, with those employed by it regarding themselves as a priesthood.  Blind faith, if not dependency, tends to take over from observation.  But there are other likenesses:

The Gift of Limitations
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The Gift of Limitations

When he was little, Rick Curry was the first of his friends to tie his own laces.  That may not seem like such a big deal unless you know that he was born without a right forearm.  He was brought

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Race Against Reason

We are living in a racially charged climate.  Problems associated with the relations between the races seem endemic to all areas of our sad and beleaguered culture.  Discussions of law enforcement are dominated by the alleged racism of police officers

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Never and Always

We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

—T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”

 

Precious memories, unseen angels

Sent from somewhere to

The Satan Club
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The Satan Club

At last, the Tacoma Public Schools’ board has recognized the obvious educational potential of the Prince of Darkness.  For years, this hopelessly hidebound and reactionary institution has restricted itself to providing what it calls “a welcoming, nurturing environment [to] .

Dayton’s Holy Family
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Dayton’s Holy Family

“If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that,” President Obama declared in 2012.  But chances are you bought that, especially if you are a Midwestern entrepreneur and the product is Renaissance art.  The coastal stereotype of the Midwest as

A Man for All Seasons
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A Man for All Seasons

Returning to the embrace of the Eternal City is never difficult.  Its many charms make one easily forget the minor inconveniences: the strikes, noise pollution, and general chaos.  The city’s many glories, both pagan and Christian, are always on display,

Sounds of the Sixties
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Sounds of the Sixties

To address the main question first: Yes, they really can.

That’s the definitive answer to America’s burning cultural debate of the 1960’s about whether or not the Monkees could actually play their musical instruments.  Perhaps you remember the general contours

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Blood From a Stone: Observations of a Serf

We often smile when we hear of Victorian prudery regarding sex.  A mother’s advice to her daughter before her marriage regarding conjugal relations—“Just lie back and think of England, dear”—evokes laughter.  We chuckle when we learn that our ancestors referred

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Speaking of “Eastern Europe”

Apart from Iceland, a European country lying far out in the North Atlantic, the east-west extremes of Europe are Ireland’s coast at 10 degrees west longitude and Russia’s Ural Mountains at 60 degrees east.  Twenty-five degrees east is the central

A Manner of Speaking
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A Manner of Speaking

On a hot day in late June, looking to buy some cheap tires for an old car of mine, I pulled into a tire shop on a stretch of highway near Fort Worth.  We’d recently had a lot of rain,

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The German Resistance

Certain actions should never be taboo in a modern Western democracy.  These include public criticism and protest of government policies, as well as presenting alternatives to those policies.  Yet in present-day Germany, citizens are slandered, censored, and persecuted by their

A Sense of Place
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A Sense of Place

I was born and reared in a small Michigan town known as the home of both Gen. George Armstrong Custer and the La-Z-Boy chair company, an accident of local history most people in town do not find strange.  The juxtaposition

Gone to Pot
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Gone to Pot

It is seven o’clock on a peaceful late-summer evening here in suburban Seattle, and I’m sitting in my back garden smoking marijuana.

Passively smoking, I should add, lest I shock any reader by this sorry lapse, but smoking nonetheless.  This

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Success and Failure in Higher Education

Nelson County, Marion County, and Washington County are collectively referred to by their inhabitants as the Kentucky Holy Land, and I don’t think the expression is meant to be entirely whimsical.  Settled in the late 18th century by English Catholics

Reason Cecil’s Grocery
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Reason Cecil’s Grocery

Almost two years ago my wife and I were driving home after having dinner in a Knoxville restaurant with former Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist and his wife.  It was the Monday night before Thanksgiving, and I decided to call my

Passage of a Rite
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Passage of a Rite

This was the first time I’d gone deer hunting alone.  Granted, I had often engaged in the act of hunting by myself.  Ever since I was old enough to hunt apart from someone else, my practice had been to split

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Germany’s Muslim Sex-Terror Disaster

Inconceivably, yet entirely predictably, the global jihad officially arrived in Germany this summer, complete with suicide bomber, ax-swinger, and howls of “Allahu Akbar!”  Inconceivable, that the ancient Islamic war against the infidels should be spilling blood in the

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The Crossroads Merchants

“Standin’ at the crossroad

I tried to flag a ride

Didn’t nobody seem to know me

everybody pass me by”

—Robert Johnson

I went to Charlotte in search of the New South and found it in a museum, the Levine

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Pomp and Circumstance

The red-faced, middle-aged man with the bullhorn standing in London’s Oxford Street cut straight to the chase.  “If,” he shouted, “Oliver Cromwell had been here today and had seen us all bowing and scraping to this ridiculous old woman and

What I Saw at Yasukuni
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What I Saw at Yasukuni

By now, we should all be familiar with the antitraditionalist left’s attempt to erase all traces of opposition to the liberal world order.  Over the past decade or so, for example, the antitraditionalists have succeeded brilliantly in demolishing the understanding

Adventures in Education
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Adventures in Education

Sir Thomas More: Why not be a teacher?  You’d be a fine teacher;

perhaps a great one.

Richard Rich: If I was,

who would know it?

Sir Thomas More: You;

your pupils; your friends; God.

 

Not a bad public, that.

Dallas in the Dock
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Dallas in the Dock

The whole world appears to have gone nuts again—for about the ten millionth time in human history—but Dallas, unaccountably, you might say, has reaped enormous respect for keeping its cool and staying sane.  You know—as sane as can be expected

An Englishman in His Near Abroad
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An Englishman in His Near Abroad

Samuel Johnson was nearly 64 when he made an unexpected journey.  One day in 1773, the internationally renowned lexicographer, essayist, poet, and novelist, who somehow combined being one of the great thinkers of Europe with being a personification of bluff

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Lament for a Lost Love

Oh, England!  How have I loved thee, even though most of my forebears came from the doubtful Scots and Welsh borders, and not a few were 17th-century refugees from the turmoil of the German states.  I am old enough to

The Efficient Destruction of Flyover Country
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The Efficient Destruction of Flyover Country

Ideologues tend to place a great value on economic laws.  I started out my undergraduate career hoping for a double major in political science and economics.  My goal was to administer a breadline and to understand why it was necessary. 

“Pity Poor Bradford”
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“Pity Poor Bradford”

Bolling Hall has squatted on its plot since the 14th century, hunched against the wind and rain of the West Riding—a North Country architectural essay in dark yellow sandstone looking warily down a steep hillside onto Bradford’s Vale.  Old though

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Student and Teacher Benefits

It’s nine o’clock on Tuesday.  First into the classroom today are my Advanced Placement European History students.  I begin the class, as I always do, with a prayer, and then deliver a lecture on such Enlightenment luminaries as Montesquieu, Voltaire,

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Britain in the Mediterranean

A visit to Cyprus helps to dispel the myth that the British Empire died of natural causes half a century ago.  It did nothing of the sort.  The empire rebranded itself as the Commonwealth of Nations, and carried on much

Sizing Up the Feline Uproar
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Sizing Up the Feline Uproar

We all have our perspectives.  In London recently, I found that many of the locals had stayed up until the early hours of a wet Monday morning to watch Super Bowl 50 on television, and judging from the T-shirts being

Living With the Iconoclasts
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Living With the Iconoclasts

New Orleans has a complicated past, a reality made evident in a politically manufactured controversy that has been building since last July.  Our mayor, a term-limited white Democrat and the flickering end of a political dynasty, asked the city council

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Sharia, Not Shakespeare

When Allardyce Nicholl, then professor of English at Birmingham University, founded the Shakespeare Institute at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1951, he intended from the beginning that it should have an international flavor.  When I was a student there in the late 50’s,

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Palm Sunday

On Palm Sunday, I took a walk.  It’s the first day of spring, and the sky is china blue, decorated with small cotton-like puffs of clouds.  Flowers are blooming, and the ducks at the pond have laid their eggs.  The

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America’s Best Friend, R.I.P.

A funeral can sometimes seem like a going out of business sale, an occasion for taking stock, not so much of the deceased as of your friendship with him.  It is strange that, presented with such an opportunity, pastors and

Identity and Appearances
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Identity and Appearances

Seen from certain angles, Dover Castle looks like the most formidable fortress in the world.  Far below, the English Channel is a vision in ozone and aquamarine—the deeps dotted with shipping, the Pas-de-Calais shimmering with memories, the chalky cliffs ant-tunneled

Same-Sex Marriage: The Continuing Conversation
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Same-Sex Marriage: The Continuing Conversation

Immanentizing the eschaton via Obergefell v. Hodges, Justice Anthony Kennedy has achieved his long-sought goal—namely, to be to 21st-century America what Bonaparte was to 19th-century Europe.  In respectable quarters Justice Kennedy is considered a world-historical personage, having made the

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Mapping Verona

A map of Verona is open, the small strange city;

With its river running round and through, it is river-embraced,

And over this city for a whole long winter season,

Through streets on a map, my thoughts have hovered and

A Watch in the Marches
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A Watch in the Marches

“Oh, the wild hills of Wales, the land of old renown, and of wonder . . . ”

        —George Borrow, Wild Wales

I step silent across the flagged floor below weathered slates and beams, sleep-held family breathing behind, the only

The Shape of Sicilian Water
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The Shape of Sicilian Water

When Metternich famously dismissed Italy as “a geographical expression,” the peninsula was divided into states ruled by (to name only the principals) Austrians, the Vatican, and Spanish Bourbons.  Yet even 150 years after the Kingdom of Piedmont united Italy by

Muslim Crimes in Britain
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Muslim Crimes in Britain

During the last few months in Britain there have been yet more revelations of new Muslim crimes and detailed confirmations of older ones.

In 2014 Lutfur Rahman, a Muslim, was elected for a second term as the mayor of Tower

A Long Time Gone
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A Long Time Gone

        “How shall we sing the Lord’s songin a strange land?”
—Psalm 137:4

       “[Man] has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.  The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things.  It is his privilege

Paterfamilias
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Paterfamilias

In America today, we seem to face two alternatives: accepting hordes of invaders with alien cultures and ideologies, who are unwilling to assimilate and whose presence endangers the vestiges of our civilization; or homogenizing America into a rootless, soulless melting

An American Tragedy
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An American Tragedy

American Sniper has generated more commentary, both scathingly critical and laudatory, than any film in recent memory.  The story of “America’s deadliest sniper,” Texas-born and -bred Navy SEAL Chris Kyle (credited with more than 160 “confirmed” kills), himself shot down