Essays in Idleness


Month: December, 2013

Is democracy Christian?

The question in my title is rhetorical. Of course democracy is not Christian, how could it be? No system of secular government, no Caesarean Constitution, could possibly be Christian, except insofar as it tries to reflect divine and natural justice (which are not finally detachable from each other). Are a bad people more just than […]

Being & not-nothingness

There is a Frenchman named Jean-Luc Marion, student of Derrida, who wrote a book entitled God without Being. It is one of those horse texts (er, “hors-texte,” or outside-the-text) we rightly associate with post-modernism, and gentle reader may be aghast if I don’t run it down. Marion himself is celebrated in all the wrong ways, […]

Enforced literacy

Once upon a time, when I was still employable in the Main Stream Media, or at least by the newspaper chain which owned the Ottawa Citizen, I had the pleasure of attending to the whims of a very public-spirited Publisher. An enthusiastic partisan of “enlightened self-interest,” he led each year our corporate campaign to promote […]

Baloney or Bologna?

A progressive lady of my acquaintance has characterized my statement in the last post, that “a certain minority of talented women have always flourished outside the home,” as — and I quote — “Baloney!” She notes that prior to the Great War, women were not admitted to British universities, or practically anywhere else in the […]

Cherchez la femme

My first encounter with “demography is destiny” was as an adolescent, reading The Estate of Man, by Michael Roberts. This remarkable poet, mathematician, philosophical thinker, and mountaineer, died young, leaving the book as an uncompleted manuscript from which his (also remarkable) wife, Janet, salvaged seven chapters. It was intended as a general survey of planetary […]

A proper twit

For the last fortnight, not that anyone has noticed, I have been, as it were, enrolled in the Twitterversity, so that I find at the time of this writing I have ping’d some one hundred and sixty-nine “tweets.” I was put up to this by well-inclined people, at least one of whom argued plausibly that […]

Another little kick

By way of belabouring my last post, and replying to an off-screen Texas correspondent, and other commendable tea-drinkers of his ilk, the “roadmap to Utopia” we are discussing at the moment could follow an itinerary like this: Henry VIII; Bacon, Descartes; Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau; Jefferson; Robespierre; Marx, Darwin, Freud; then Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, […]

Locke the key

Locke hardly read Hobbes, denied having read him when asked, and among Locke’s surviving notes which suggest serious attention to a wide range of authors, there would seem to be only one mention of Hobbes, and that rather dismissive. So that when I casually remarked, somewhere the other day, that Locke developed certain ideas from […]