Depth in the Shallows

Month: April, 2016

Barbarians At The Gate

Portal Of Pathetic Pieties

The Works of Thomas Sowell

Tired of stupidity masquerading as enlightenment? Enter Thomas Sowell, American economist, social critic, political thinker, and columnist. The brevity of Sowell demonstrates the weight of his wit. He says more with a lot less.  A rare thing indeed for an academic, but perhaps rarer still, is Sowell’s clarity and insight into the persistent problems in our society.  Race, economics, politics, you name it—Sowell illuminates it.  A humble and brilliant thinker, he punctures the pieties of the new orthodoxy. Socialism, multiculturalism, moral and cultural equivalence, or liberal platitudes of race that taint our togetherness, Sowell deflates each in turn.  Agree or disagree, he will make you think deeper in less time.  He understands the enemies of a free society, both foreign and domestic. Indeed, he reminds us, we have enemies. And they are waiting for our weakness.

Whether on college campuses or among nations on the world stage, if the battle comes down to the wimps versus the barbarians, the barbarians are bound to win.

Absurdity Is A Touchy Feely Thing

The Common Sense Of True Progress

In Pursuit of Laughter by Agnes Repplier

Do you stay up nights worrying about being on the Wrong Side of History? Or do you find yourself wondering what that and other bromides of our political class mean? If you are like me, you read the news and wonder how we got to a place where clarity of thought and speech have been jettisoned in favor of slogans, elisions, and glosses. And not only in our politics but in our technology, social interactions, and what embarrassingly passes for education today. If so, enjoy the bracing tonic of American essayist, novelist, and biographer Agnes Repplier.  A saucy sister from the City of Brotherly Love, Repplier wrote widely and brilliantly.  She recognized the Truth in common sense and sensed the common truths that are the mark of civilization.

People who cannot recognize a palpable absurdity are very much in the way of civilization.

The Russians Are Waiting

Freedom In The Kingdom: Anarchy In Heaven

Slavery and Freedom by Nikolai Berdyaev

Still afraid of the Russians? You should be. They just might disturb your world view. Nikolai Berdyaev (1874-1948) was a Russian philosopher and religious thinker preoccupied with power and freedom, church and state. Think these things do not matter in the postmodern world we live in? Then maybe you need this Russian alarm clock. There are many in power who want us to think about money, shopping, and lifestyle. They do not want us to think about true freedom, the church, and the power of the state. This is nothing new. But the depth and duration of our distractions is quite new. Short attention spans, soundbites, and tweets are not conducive to the preservation of freedom. The shallows will drown you. That is why we must read Berdyaev. For only in the depth of his thought do we come to a fuller understanding of true freedom in the Kingdom of God, the nature of power, and enslavement to evil.

There is absolute truth in anarchism and it is to be seen in its attitude to the sovereignty of the state and to every form of state absolutism. … The religious truth of anarchism consists in this, that power over man is bound up with sin and evil, that a state of perfection is a state where there is no power of man over man, that is to say, anarchy. The Kingdom of God is freedom and the absence of such power… the Kingdom of God is anarchy.

The Queen Of Wit

Florence King: Sabre Tongue Of The South

Reflections in a Jaundiced Eye by Florence King

Another mouth from the South, Florence King combined wit, weightiness, and a withering glare at all things American.  Like Flannery O’ Connor, King had a special talent for mocking the underlying assumptions of daily life in her native South.  Like Walker Percy, King had a profound philosophical depth that lurked beneath even her shallowest observations.  And like P.G. Wodehouse, her sense of humor was relentless.  Dubbed the Queen of Mean, Florence King regaled readers with stories, essays, and sharp commentary. King’s personal life, political views, and fierce independence defy easy categorization.  Florence King recently died, but her wild wit lives.

“To make sure I learned the etiquette of grieving, Granny took me with her to the many funerals she attended. O Death, where is thy sting? Search me. I grew up looking at so many corpses that I still feel a faint touch of surprise whenever I see people move.”

The Russians Are Coming!

Back Is the New Forward

War, Progress, and the End of History by Vladimir Soloviev 

I can hear the groans.  All five of you.  The Russians? Really? It’s just that, you know, they’re so dark and brooding.  Yes, they are. That is precisely why we should be reading them. Because if we brood with them in their darkness, we will see clearly by the light of wisdom. Vladimir Soloviev (1853-1900), Russian poet, philosopher, and mystic (and I would add prophet), is not writing a Hollywood screenplay based on the Left Behind series.  But as Christians we believe in Christ, and in the one Christ warned us about, that is, the Anti-Christ.  The doctrine of the Anti-Christ has been with us for two thousand years and written about by such luminaries as Aquinas.  Soloviev writes in this tradition.  His point is not to scare, it is rather to warn and prepare.  The world is not eternal. The End will come.  It does not matter when, but it does matter that each of us is ready.  You either believe this is true or you believe it is untrue.  If the latter, well, go your ways.  If the former, then it is incumbent upon all of us to look around and see the forces coalescing against the Truth.  These forces are not innocuous expressions of human freedom. They are the rebellion of Lucifer continued on earth.  Therefore, as the Master said, be vigilant and stay awake. And while you are awake, read the Russians.

“a willful blindness to the existing and coming state of things is too readily indulged in by many people today”

“The historical forces reigning over the masses of humanity will yet have to come to blows and become intermingled with each other before the new head grows on the self-lacerating body of the beast: the world unifying power of the Anti-Christ, who ‘will speak high-sounding and splendid words,’ and will cast a glittering veil of good and truth over the mystery of utter lawlessness in the time of its final revelation, so that even the chosen, in the words of the Scriptures, will be reduced to the great betrayal.”


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