Mass Shootings: The American Mind Gone Nihilist

If the horrendous acts of terrorism in El Paso and Dayton this past weekend made me angry and sad, reading the empty-headed commentaries on social media within all but seven minutes of the respective events proved even more of a mental challenge. The usual culprits emanating from them are a) President Trump; b) the NRA; and c) the perpetrators (in that order). While the police are still in the dark about a motive on the part of Connor Betts, the Dayton shooter, posts on his social media accounts strongly suggest that he ought not to be lumped together with Patrick Crusius, the El Paso shooter who left a white supremacist ‘manifesto’ in support of his deeds.

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The Failure of Liberalism and Elegies for Hillbillies

You know your reading is taking off when the books you’ve knocked off your list start connecting in your head like puzzle pieces on the dining room table. This happens to yours truly all the time nowadays, and it particularly occurred with two works I read in 2018, Patrick J. Deneen’s Why Liberalism Failed and Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of A Family and Culture In Crisis by J.D. Vance.

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Contempt - The Free Dutchman Review of Arthur C. Brooks "Love Your Enemies"

A Remarkable Exercise In Inanity. Review of Arthur C. Brooks’ “Love Your Enemies”

It has been my conviction for a while now that social media and the daily phony outrages they help spur are rewiring our brains as we speak and make us more stupid. (Ever been on Twitter? Yeah.) Moreover, reading the drivel passing for political insight on our feeds makes us desperate to avoid the latest spat involving President Trump when we talk to these Facebook philosophers at an uncle’s birthday party. Better to change the topic to, say, the Patriots’ ‘Deflate Gate’. It’s bound to get some voices raised, but at the end of the day that feels better than having to battle accusations of secretly cherishing Nazi sympathies.

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The Free Dutchman - Review of Daniel Pink Drive

On Motivation, Intrinsical and Extrinsical (Review of Daniel Pink’s “Drive”)

One of the great feats of being a small business owner — besides being part of the backbone of America’s economy — is that one gets to spend evenings reading books and magazines about organizational management and other business topics in a continuous effort to improve one’s own skills.

Or so the theory goes. Yours truly, in fact, prefers to read about philosophy and history and would consider Plato to be the best organizational guru there ever was. Preferred self-help works include Dante’s Divine Comedy and Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy. But occasionally, nudged by the missus, I’ll open up one of the works on her growing list of recommendations and start reading.

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The Free Dutchman Book Review

Top-Heavy Liberalism (Book Review)

During a good chunk of the mid-twentieth century the great conservative giants of that era argued over the question of what conservatism is. For Russell Kirk it transcended particular cultures and was, in the words of Bradley Birzer, “a natural longing to preserve the best of human thought as divined by, through, and across the slow process of the experience of humanity, tied to an omnipotent source of creation.” To Robert Nisbet, in contrast, conservatism was a modern phenomenon formed in reaction to the French Revolution and essentially launched single-handedly by Edmund Burke.

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Brett Kavanaugh, Identity Politics, and the Descent Into Ochlocracy

If a sigh of relief can be heard whooshing through these United States after the Kavanaugh debacle has come to an end, it’s surely to be followed shortly by a scratching of heads over the question of how it got this far. There is no doubt that the battle over Justice Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court has left wounds that extend far beyond its losers, such as Dianne Feinstein, that loathsome Michael Avenatti, and the Democrats in general. Amidst the rubble, a larger meaning of what took place can be found by the discerning eye.

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The Peculiar Cassandra: Review of Michel Houellebecq’s “Submission”

The string of terrorist attacks in European cities in recent years has produced, in addition to a significant number of casualties, no shortage of prophets counseling us on where the present crisis of Islamic immigration into the Old Continent will end. Those predicting that it is but a passing moment which will dissolve into a peaceful and harmonious future face off against doomsayers, yours truly included, who fear that many European countries are at risk of becoming Balkanized and collapsing into political turmoil or even civil war.

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