Rod Dreher, in common with most of the rest of the world, struggles to make sense of the senseless: the bomb exploded in a crowd of women and girls at an Ariana Grande concert and the resulting slaughter of innocent people.
In the process, he makes a very interesting set of comments, and displays what I call "logophobia", meaning fear of and revulsion toward a specific word, rather than a repudiation of the concept behind it.
Thursday, May 25, 2017
Saturday, May 20, 2017
|photo by Gage Skidmore|
That is a spectacularly bad idea. It is, to paraphrase Orwell, a bad idea even though National Review says it’s a bad idea. For one thing, the authors of the 25th amendment intended it to deal with a medical crisis, not a policy disagreement or even justified reservations about the character of a president. For another, it doesn’t deal with the structural or even the psychological problems the Trump presidency raises.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
|by Gage Skidmore|
We have less room for doubt about what happened next. After both his national security advisor and his secretary of state denied the story in carefully worded statements, Mr. Trump took to late night Twitter and cast doubt on their claims by stating he had, in any case, the right to tell the Russians anything he wanted them to know.
Sunday, May 14, 2017
|East German Trabant|
In his argument, Rod Dreher quotes, as he frequently does, Valclav Havel's essay The Power of the Powerless. In common with many conservatives who quote Havel, he seems to think power means the ability to say distressing things on "woke twitter", and consider professors who give into "political correctness" the modern equivalent of the Havel's metaphorical green grocer, who puts a "workers of the world unite" sign in the window. I disagree. I think Dreher's argument fundamentally distorts the question of where the real power lies in his society, and where the implied analogy to the Soviet block of Leonid Brezhnev applies.
Thursday, May 11, 2017
|photo by Duke University Divinity School Library|
There is a difference between avoiding uncomfortable ideas and challenges, and making a public virtue of it.
Tuesday, May 09, 2017
This racist attack on a talented First Nations dancer, and the callous treatment in its aftermath, could have easily led to worse divisions and deeper mistrust in its wake. Violence of this kind divides and silences people, as the perpetrators and enablers often intend. In a production negotiating the tricky politics of staging a classic Canadian work telling a story involving First Nations, this attack could easily have poisoned the atmosphere.