Washington is a fever swamp of dishonor, patronage, and protection, host to an occupying government using the constitutional government as its sock puppet.
Promoting the trades, in an effort to alleviate poverty and crime, and to strengthen the working-class family, will require in us a real counterrevolution, a return to common sense and decency.
John Hay’s life offers a glimpse of what love of country looks like. If we cannot understand it, we truly are aliens and vagabonds upon the earth.
What happens when a formerly Christian nation forgets the reality of sin and our desperate need of grace?
Booker T. Washington believed that his work succeeded because it was in concord with immutable laws of human nature. But we now believe that there is no such thing as human nature.
The sheer gigantism of the state makes it impossible for people to know what the relevant laws are, for most spheres of human action; and it is a short step from not knowing the law, to seeing that nobody else knows it, to shrugging and not caring what it is.
It is good for us to play sometimes, and not fight. In reality, people are united by what the political utilitarian cannot recognize: by play and song and worship.
How can you tell if you have the soul of a fascist? If you are alive and breathing, you are in danger of it.
What we think about things can be as important as the things themselves, because it forms our moral stance toward the world. But what if our thoughts are in error?
We ruin reputations, we tear down monuments to our flawed benefactors, we destroy lives with a glee and a certitude that would make the old inquisitors blush.
The hypocrite is not the person who says one thing and does another. He is the play-actor, the man or woman who puts on a show of righteousness, to fool himself first of all, because he is his own favorite audience.
Someone may say we ought to live in open sewers, because filth and disease are subversive; or that we ought to cut ourselves with razors, because razors are edgy. What response can you give to him? He has placed himself outside of moral reasoning entirely.
On our side of the abyss, the 16-year-old boy is dying slowly of intellectual asphyxiation in school and online. On that side of the abyss, the biggest manufacturer of women’s clothing in Cleveland is advertising for a likely lad to come and do office work, with high hopes set forth for a well-remunerated career.
The child who reads and cherishes The Lord of the Rings will have more of substance to say about how we should live than will the child brought up on political doggerel.
Modern art and architecture says “You will like this because it is for your own good, although you are too stupid to see it.” But some people do not have to be cowed into submission. They are the suckers of the age.
If we have no sense of this land, this history, this language, these songs, these heroes, and no love for them, what “America” is there at all? And perhaps that is the progressive aim, at last: that there should be no America.
There need be no cultural war when one of the contenders fails to show up, supposing that he still exists.
Nothing unites us now, not religious faith, not cultural memory, not a common understanding of virtue, not the natural goodness of manhood and womanhood, not children, not the elderly, nothing. We do not seek “the naked bedrock of character and capacity,” because they are judgments against us.
Retreat to your chamber and pray. Come forth and join your even-Christians in prayer and song. Let your eyes shine with the vision of a wonder that the world does not know.
In a short re-dedication of his novel, The Virginian, Owen Wister wrote: “If this book be anything more than an American story, it is an expression of American faith.” Such a faith lies in the ruins with the book.