Readers think foreign. East and West. Fade to Blackwell. Plus more.
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Re: Christopher Orlet’s Myth of the Secular West:
Oh, come now, Mr. Orlet. If you are wringing your hands worried people will think Conservatives are “anti-intellectual,” save it. That train left the station long ago and launching fireballs at imaginary “Christian Jihadism” won’t change that.
Conservatism itself is a reaction to the excesses of the Enlightenment. I should think we would have a little more skepticism toward the fabled achievements of the Enlightenment touted by its modern day acolytes. In fact, the chronological era we refer to as the Enlightenment is something of a historical fiction itself and “it” was not that sharp of a break with the past as many would have it. “It” didn’t happen all over Europe at the same time from the same metaphysical assumptions resulting in the same notions.
The “ideas” of the Enlightenment, as you list them, did not spring forth whole from the head of Sweet Reason. They were developments from a long chain of concrete and particular historical experiences in the West. They were hard won, often times poorly understood, inconsistently lived-up to, and difficult to transplant into non-Western cultures (I said “difficult” — not impossible).
Having said all this, we are all “children of the Enlightenment.”
It is a heritage we cannot run away from and an inheritance we
would not sell for all the golden pottage the rest of the world
has to offer. But it is the Conservative demure from the blind
faith in and the over-application of rationation that earns us
the demonization of “anti-intellectual.” It is the Conservative
insistence that reason is powerful but not all-powerful, that
reason cannot and should not attempt to solve all the world’s
ills, that brings contempt.
— Mike Dooley
You are misinformed about the “suicidal Swedes.”
Suicide rates in Sweden have never been particularly high. Sweden is far down in the European suicide table, in 15th place. According to the World Health Organization, Sweden is about average, with 20.0 cases per 100,000 population. This is about the same as in Canada (21.5) and the U.S. (19.3).
The highest rates are in Lithuania (73.7) and Russia (72.9).
The source of the rumor about suicide in Sweden was a speech
given by U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1960, in which he
managed to mix up the statistics.
— B. Anderson
DEPT. OF BOLD PREDICTIONS
Re: George H. Wittman’s Putin’s New Year Tests:
A petrostate with sickening demographics, Russia relies almost exclusively on oil and gas exports to prop up the Potemkin Village that is Putin’s Russia.
As he watches the Russian economy — and not coincidentally, his legacy — collapse around his fur-warmed ears, it will occur to Putin that the only way to maintain the Russian economy will be to drive up the price of oil, as high and as quickly as possible, and the only way to do that will be to reduce the supply to the industrial world.
He also will conclude that this will necessitate a war in the Middle East, one that shuts the Persian Gulf and threatens the economies of the industrialized world. To this erstwhile KGBnik, the obvious candidate is a (preferably nuclear) war between Iran and Israel, which is already in its preliminary, slow-motion phases.
This rationale appears to be ineluctable, so prepare for
$10-a-gallon gas and a 19th-century lifestyle, courtesy of the
Bolshethugs in the Kremlin.
— David Govett
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?