The Spectacle Blog

RIP Philip Rieff

By on 7.4.06 | 12:22PM

This is a celebratory day, so we should not permit the physical loss of Philip Rieff to cast a cloud. Those who have read me often will know the writings of America's most incisive and profound sociologist have a powerful effect on my view of the world, and I can recommend no modern author more highly. When I spoke to Rieff in late May, it was clear he was ailing; he talked with the cutting wit and agility of a lifelong intellect, but seemed to have ceased bothering to remember much of his own life.

His legacy, I think, is secure in the release over the next several years of three volumes of new work; and then of course there is the Intercollegiate Studies Institute's reissue of perhaps his most important Triumph of the Therapeutic.

No obituary, then; no chiseling on the gravestone. I have said a lot already here and elsewhere, and for those looking to learn more and think yet more about this remarkable man, I have finished a compilation of Rieff-related writing, mine and others, here at Postmodern Conservative.

Happy Independence Day

By on 7.4.06 | 9:16AM

All over America, we'll celebrate Independence Day today with block parties, barbecues, picnics and fireworks. A few will be at their regular posts, especially the police, fire and rescue folks who will minimize the damage we'd otherwise do to ourselves. And for many, from the mountains of Afghanistan to the streets of Fallujah, from the skies over Japan to the NORAD crew under Cheyenne Mountain keeping an eye on North Korea, today will be another day on duty and perhaps at risk. For all who serve, this is a day to work. For those of us who don't, it's a day to salute them. You see a cop on a street corner, sweating through his dark blue shirt? Take him a cold bottle of water (and make sure it's still sealed as it was when you bought it.)

Kelo Saves House, Sort Of

By on 7.3.06 | 3:53PM

Susette Kelo, the brave woman who tried to keep her house against the ravages of the town of New London, Conn., which wanted to seize it for other private development, will get to keep her house. Sort of. The national uproar against the Supreme Court decision that went against Ms. Kelo is a perfect example of how the public sides with conservatives most of the time when the subject is court decisions, and the judges/justices who make them. Why every GOP senator doesn't understand that judges are a winning political issue is just beyond me. Individual women keeping their own homes? Check. Keeping foreign laws from influencing AMerican court cases? Check. Keeping "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance? Check. Prohibiting partial birth abortion? Check. And so on. When the subject is the courts and judges, we win, the libs lose. It bears repeating again and again, until enough senators finally understand.

Without A Trace Of Irony

By on 7.3.06 | 12:28PM

Today the Washington Post, in its lead editorial, praises the Supreme Court's Vermont ruling on campaign finance because appears to preserve "the court's long-standing doctrine that appropriately crafted contribution limits can survive constitutional scrutiny."

In the next editorial, it praises Senator Mitch McConnell for voting against the flag-burning amendment. It approvingly cites McConnell's website which states, "No act of speech is so obnoxious that it merits tampering with our First Amendment. Our Constitution, and our country, is strong than that."

Umm…is the WaPo familiar with McConnell's position on campaign finance regulation?

North Korea thretens Nuclear War

By on 7.3.06 | 9:44AM

Kim Jong-il's government has -- according to one report -- threatened us with annihilation and nuclear war if we take out the ICBM Taepodong-2 missile they've prepared for launch. I'll be on the Big Show with John Gibson tonight about 5 EDT to talk about this. Hope you can catch it.

Muslim Conservatives

By on 7.1.06 | 3:35PM

Michael Totten interviews moderate Islamists in Kurdistan, who sound less like theocrats and more like the Muslim equivalent of Christian Conservatives. If these are Islamists, then perhaps Andrew Sullivan's use of the term "Christianist" isn't so offensive after all, though Totten's reporting does highlight the fundamental problem with a political taxonomy that blurs the distinction between people whose religion influences their public policy views and those who actually want a religious state.