Friday, January 27, 2012

In Defense of the Indefensible

Warning: Intense authorial irritation alert.

Evelyn Beatrice Hall, characterizing Voltaire's sentiments towards his opponents, paraphrased his habitual attitude in one scintillating, oft-quoted line: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." It is a mischaracterization of Voltaire—the man who was too generous to make an enemy of Satan also closed his letters with "écrasez l'infâme"—but through its association with Voltaire the sentiment has taken on a life of its own.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Brutus, As You Know, Is Honorable


Commenting on last night's primary debate, Quinn Hiller (writing for National Review's "Corner") remarked: "Santorum is about the most determinedly anti-political top-level politician I’ve ever witnessed. No matter what state he is debating in, he refuses to find some wiggle room on issues where his position is at odds with a deeply held local position. ... I don't know what to make of it."

An Unwise Man's Prayer

"Three kings" we call them, honoring
Their worldly wealth and powers;
And "wise men" by profession, for
Their grasp of heaven's hours;

Friday, January 20, 2012

My Reason Tells Me ...

The war between love and reason takes many forms. Psychologists divide their subjects into "thinkers" and "feelers". (Why does Psychology have a way of sounding SciFiesque?)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Wumpick and the Resolutions

My dear Wumpick,
So, has your patient made any New Year’s resolutions this time round? And how are they going? Please inform me at your earliest convenience. The new year is a time ripe with possibilities for us—more so than Lent, which is the closest religious equivalent to the secular world’s annual attempts at self-reform.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

In Defense of a Scandalous Fashion

Every now and then from the vasty brilliance of a great mind some inane, foolish, or just plain wrong opinion will emerge, reminding us all that even the most brilliant of men are still human. Aristotle and infanticide. St. Thomas Aquinas and the Immaculate Conception. C.S. Lewis and the Catholic Church.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Best of Worlds

In his foul, ironic, philosophical comedy Candide, Voltaire puts ten mocking words into the mouth of his character Pangloss: “Tout est pour le mieux dans le meilleur des mondes.” Roughly translated, “All things happen for the best in this best of all possible worlds.”

Friday, January 6, 2012

All He Had Was a Prayer

"Well, there's Walker, Christie, Rubio, Mike Lee, ..."

"OK, OK, I get it. But what about the ones who are actually running?"