Category Archives: Philosophy

Exiting Big Tech ~ The Imaginative Conservative

Big Tech want to impose upon us all a kind of insane and inhumane conformity. Yet, the critical point is that they do not impose themselves upon us as much as we let them impose themselves upon us. So, the most important thing we can do is exit… (essay by Bradley J. Birzer)
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2020/11/exiting-big-tech-bradley-birzer.html

Thousands Upon Thousands of Words Later: A Personal Reflection on Writing ~ The Imaginative Conservative

As it turns out, I’m typing this essay on my latest acquisition, the Freewrite Traveler from Astrohaus. I actually helped crowdfund it back in late 2018, but it’s just now coming to market. It’s one sleek device, healthy for the hands and the mind. And, because there’s no access to Facebook, email, Twitter, or any other myriad distractions, healthy for the soul. The keyboard, though not exactly mechanical, is truly a thing of wonder. Indeed, to imagine this Traveler, think of a normal-sized keyboard attached to your Kindle. This is essentially what the Traveler is. It’s supposed to stay charged for several weeks (I’ve not had my long enough to verify this), and it’s the most portable device I own now—except for my Kindle.

Again, though, with the Traveler, there are no distractions from the internet or any part of the internet. It’s just you, a keyboard, and a screen. The Traveler automatically saves your work, and you, when ready, send it to your email account by simply hitting the “send” button. Astrohaus claims this setup allows for one to overcome writer’s block. Honestly, this claim seems totally weird to me. Facebook doesn’t block me from writing; it distracts me from writing. Or, to be more blunt, I let it distract me.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2020/11/thousands-upon-thousands-words-later-personal-reflection-writing-bradley-birzer.html

The Christian Humanism of J.R.R. Tolkien ~ The Imaginative Conservative

For Tolkien, mythology touched the deepest part of our souls, and invites us to explore the beauty of creation and to discover and participate in the sacramental nature of life. Only in the True West could one find a proper understanding of order, virtue, and liberty. As Tolkien himself said, the mythology and purpose guiding The Lord of the Rings was nothing less than the return to Christendom. His Middle-earth mythology, he hoped, would serve as a wake-up call for the West, to return it to its pre-statist, pre-imperialist, pre-materialist phase. With the return of Aragorn the king, the “progress of the tale ends in what is far more like the re-establishment of an effective Holy Roman Empire with its seat in Rome,” Tolkien admitted in 1967.

Certainly Tolkien, as with most of the Augustinian Christian Humanists, had a Jacobite streak.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2020/11/christian-humanism-j-r-r-tolkien-bradley-birzer.html

Tocqueville on America’s Colonial Experience & the Seeds of Democracy ~ The Imaginative Conservative

Though diverse, the American colonists had more in common with one another than not. Overwhelmingly Protestant, they also spoke the same language, and “the bond of language is perhaps the strongest and most durable that can unite men,” Tocqueville claimed. Further, the colonists all came from the Reformational troubles of Europe, and they “were all children of the same people.” Finally, the wilderness of North America homogenized the colonists, and “their political education was shaped in this rude school, and you saw more notions of rights, more principles of true liberty spread among them than among most of the peoples of Europe.”

Equally important, the American colonies—both North and South—proved that colonization could happen successfully even when haphazardly planned, or even when there had been a complete lack of planning. Drawing upon the work of Adam Smith, Tocqueville continued, the imperial pursuit of mineral wealth had led to nothing but societal catastrophe. “At this time, Europe was still singularly preoccupied with the idea that mines of gold and silver constituted the wealth of peoples,” Tocqueville claimed. “This destructive idea has done more to impoverish the European nations that embraced it and, in America, has destroyed more men than war and all bad laws put together.”
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2020/11/tocqueville-america-colonial-experience-seeds-democracy-bradley-birzer.html

Joe Biden’s endless wars | Spectator USA

But the only thing coming on if Biden wins is another round of hopeless foreign interventionism and nation-building. His individual votes are damning enough. Still more damning is the philosophy behind them. Joe Biden is an archetypal liberal interventionist of the post-Cold War variety. He understands war in the same terms as domestic policy: as an occasion to expand the power wielded by experts in Washington, whose moral and rational qualifications are beyond question — no matter how disastrous the consequences of their policies.
— Read on spectator.us/joe-biden-endless-wars-afghanistan-serbia/

Tolkien’s “On Fairy Stories”: The Setting ~ The Imaginative Conservative

It should be remembered that 1938 had been a difficult year for Tolkien. While he had written much for his Hobbit sequel, he had suffered through deep depression in August and a nasty flu in December. Tolkien had also just finished the first several writing phases—as his son Christopher has labeled them—of what would become The Fellowship of the Ring, when he began research and thought regarding his proposed lecture, “On Fairy Stories.” He had hoped to deliver a paper on the same topic to an undergraduate society at Oxford in 1938, but that had fallen through.[3] This would be his chance to rectify that, and with the added benefit of serious academic legitimacy. On the evening of March 8, 1939, Tolkien delivered his lecture at the University of St. Andrews.

To state that the lecture was important to Tolkien and, frankly, to the world of literary criticism, would be a gross understatement. Coming when it does in Tolkien’s writing career, “On Fairy Stories” reveals more about the mind and soul of the man than any other non-fiction work he produced throughout his lifetime. It is, to be certain, seminal and beautifully so. Like his own Stoic and mystical understanding of Faerie, his talk was, in turns, excellent, insightful, and brilliant. It also offers, at its most fundamental level, a counterrevolution of ideas, an image of the world directly counter to that held by the fascists, communists, and ideologues of all varieties of the twentieth century
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2020/10/tolkien-on-fairy-stories-setting-bradley-birzer.html

Burke on Monstrous Revolution and Regicide Peace ~ The Imaginative Conservative

Of Edmund Burke’s (1729-1797) four Letters on a Regicide Peace—his final work, written while he rested on his deathbed—the fourth is, by far, the weakest. Unlike the other three, it was written out of order, and it is unclear whether Burke himself ever intended to include it. It was more of a personal letter written to Earl Fitzwilliam than it was a letter for the public. It did not appear in Burke’s works until after the author’s death, and so we are left with it as somewhat of an interesting mystery and enigma. Despite these caveats, though, it is a letter written by Edmund Burke, and this means, of course, that there are fascinating aspects to it.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2020/10/burke-monstrous-revolution-regicide-peace-bradley-birzer.html

A Method, Not a Subject: Liberal Economics and the Classics

“A liberal curriculum can and should include liberal economics.  Both make sense only if we refuse to interpret the past under the assumption that our ancestors were morons.  Committing to rational choice, which in my framework is synonymous with liberal economics, is how we treat the Great Books with the respect they deserve.”

https://egnatiavia.blogspot.com/2020/10/a-method-not-subject-liberal-economics.html

The Astounding Pop of Max Parallax

A few weeks ago I received a pleasant surprise in the mail–an actual tangible CD submission. Being in my early 50s, I’m a huge fan of my music being real, touchable, and moveable. The CD arrived with funky, innovative layout, and I was immediately intrigued by the packaging.

As it turns out, the music is even better than the packaging.

This is pop-rock, but pop rock in the vein of Mazzy Star, Patty Smith, and Sixpence None the Richer. The music is equal parts driving and equal parts playful.

Infectious pop, the opening track “Bugs Away”–with some hilarious lyrics–grabs the listener immediately. The wall of sound on “Swell,” the second track, is perfect in every respect. Song three, “Out of Body: No Experience,” is, once again, driving, and the sound production is glorious. At a little over five minutes long, “No Time for Caution,” is the longest of the tracks, and like its fellow tracks, it’s tight and purposeful. “Amoebas,” the fifth song, is the most straight-forward in terms of being a rocker. I’m reminded a little of Pat Benetar. “What Happens in the Future Stays in the Future” is as wonderfully quirky as it sounds–packing more into two minutes and twenty-five seconds than allowed by law!

Max Parallax is a band that is here to stay, and the statement they make on this short album, NO TIME FOR CAUTION, fits perfectly with the title.

We’re in a helluva mess, and urgency must reign in our world. This is reflected in the lyrics as well as the music.

All four members of the band sing, but the real star here is Uma deSilva, lead vocalist. It wouldn’t be too much to state that her voice is divine.

Max Parallax should be in every music collection.