On Keeping One’s Head (Part II)

And if thy hand, or thy foot scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee. . . . And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee. Matthew 18:8-9 These words, metaphorical though they be, and no matter how one interprets them, are among the many hard sayingsContinue reading “On Keeping One’s Head (Part II)”

Public Opinion & Propaganda

In this seminal essay, Robert Nisbet explains how our contemporary obsession with popular opinion constitutes a deadly distortion of the logic of genuine republican government. Though good government rests on the consent of the governed, and public policy ought to be based on a refinement of public views, this does not mean that rulers oughtContinue reading “Public Opinion & Propaganda”

Music and Mercy

Eric Genuis is a contemporary composer. Hailing from Canada, and living in Kentucky, he describes his music as “classical in form, but with a modern feel.” Judging by the notes included with this fine album, Genuis is fascinated by the Socratic notion that music is capable of ordering the passions, in accordance with reason, towardContinue reading “Music and Mercy”

Our Republic May Depend On It

Recently, a kind friend presented me with a copy of Chris Voss’s Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It. I suspect the gift was occasioned by a conversation in which I admitted to having no business sense. In fact, it seems that in any enterprise where money is made orContinue reading “Our Republic May Depend On It”

Shepherding the Passions

A strange thing happened to reason on the way to modernity. According to “Enlightenment” philosophy, reason is a tool for better securing the “interests” of men or societies. A rational agent, in this view, is one who studiously ignores emotional inputs in order to seize upon the most efficient means of realizing his ends. ToContinue reading “Shepherding the Passions”

A Reasonable Revolution

According to Oliver Wendell Holmes, truth is defined as shared perception. If I think that I am sitting at a table, I find that the other persons present agree with me; so if I say that the sum of the angles of a triangle is equal to two right angles. If I am in aContinue reading “A Reasonable Revolution”

Each a King unto Himself (under God)

Writing to the King of Cyprus, St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) advises him to submit his governance to three guides: “the authority of Holy Writ,” “the teachings of the philosophers,” and “the practice of worthy princes.” Like sailing a ship, governance is the skillful direction of a body to its “due end.” A pilot may “proceedContinue reading “Each a King unto Himself (under God)”