Essays in Idleness


Month: May, 2013

Beyond help

Whose side are we on? Hezbollah’s? Or al-Qaeda’s? That is the choice in Syria, & I do not wonder that our politicians have hesitated to make decisive moves. The choice for Israel is a little simpler. Hezbollah — sponsored by the Iranian mullahs through their Syrian ally, Bashar al-Assad, is the more immediate enemy. However, […]

Perhaps I should explain

One of the most frequent complaints I receive — in email, much more than in Comments — is that I propose a return to the Middle Ages. Variants include “living in the past,” & “fighting battles that were lost five hundred years ago.” In the first case, were the tables turned, I would wish the […]

Back to work

Perhaps the most shocking, & encouraging thing about Pope Francis, is his habit of calling out the Devil — by name. He does this daily, from what I can read in L’Osservatore Romano & other Vatican sheets; & as ever, Sandro Magister has taken note in astute commentary at his Chiesa website. Other media have […]

Neil Reynolds

Neil Reynolds died Sunday, in Ottawa, of cancer at the tender age of seventy-two. I had & retain a special regard for him, as well I might. For he was the only Canadian newspaper editor who ever gave me a steady job. Had it not been for him I would never have participated in the […]

Let’s party

A correspondent, Mr Michael Hendry, calls our attention to the fact that today is the 100th birthday of Nicolás Gómez Dávila. (Yesterday was the 19th anniversary of his death.) As a website that aspires to be Canada’s leading forum of Gómez-Dávilism, & all-round reactionary intransigence, we really ought to say “Eh!” & get tanked or […]

The yairs chronicles

Gentle reader will forgive a little lapse, a little traipse, in the nature of a hit-&-run, into mundane politics. There is no point to this post whatever; which perhaps qualifies it, nevertheless, as a legitimately idle effusion. I will be perhaps the 489th pundit to say what I am about to say: that it is […]

Straussian aside

The smaller a man’s mind, the easier it is to drive him out of it, as I have observed passim over the years. In certain academic, sherry-drinking milieux, it could be done only a generation ago with just five syllables (“As Leo Strauss says, …”) & sometimes with just three. Unfortunately today they no longer […]

Vive la décroissance

My Chief Texas Correspondent, a great enthusiast for the burning of fossil fuels, ping’d me yesterday a link to Charles Hugh Smith’s blog, on “Degrowth, Anti-Consumerism, & Peak Production.” To my surprise, he pronounced himself amenable to it, “except for the knock on fossil fuels.” I proposed a compromise, in which we continue to dig, […]

Mad Ruskin

I love to quote the opening line of Praeterita, John Ruskin’s uncharacteristically light & playful book of autobiographical sketches, happily completed just before he went insane: “I am, & my father was before me, a violent Tory of the old school; — Walter Scott’s school, that is to say, & Homer’s.” As pendant to my […]


“Civilization begins,” according to the poet Ezra Pound, “when people start preferring a little done right to a great deal done wrong.” Like the capacities for speech, art, music, & sanctity, this is written somewhere in our DNA, deep down where it can be forgotten. As Pound decried, that “great deal” comes out in the […]