book review

The Day the Music Died

One day, out of curiosity, I Googled “symphony orchestras in the Muslim world.” The results were rather dismal. One site—“About Symphony Orchestras in the Arab World”—contained the following (badly translated) information: Symphony of Saudi Arabia: “Non-existent…” The Orchestra of Emirate of Qatar: “This orchestra has no clear identity…100% of foreign elements” [i.e., none of the [...]

Unaccomodating

Two millennia into the Christian era, the niceness of Christians is on the way to becoming the biggest threat to Christianity. “I came to cast fire upon the earth,” Jesus famously said. The characteristic gesture of our religiosity may be the limp handshake of peace. “God doesn’t need ‘nice’ Christians,” Archbishop Charles J. Chaput writes [...]

Libertarianism as Social Ethic

A common argument against libertarianism -- heard mostly in conservative circles -- is that no moral society can be a free-for-all, devoid of moral content. A social order worthy of the name must be based on certain ethical principles that extend beyond selfishness and individualism. These principles form the basis of culture, which is ultimately [...]

The Importance of Place

“On the whole, it would appear to be for the best that the great majority of human beings should go on living in the place in which they were born.” So wrote T.S. Eliot in Notes Towards the Definition of Culture. Like much of Eliot’s cultural philosophy, it is a thoroughly contrarian, even atavistic notion, [...]

Evolutionary Art

It happens to most of us who like classic art: You're reading an article about some contemporary artist who's making millions selling "art" made from rumpled beds, carved-up corpses, or human waste, and you ask yourself, why? Why can't art be heroic and life-inspiring? Why does art have to degrade and shock? And what is [...]

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