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Waiting for the Americans…

In the late 1970s, my grandfather’s older brother, already in his nineties, was pressing his almost deaf ears to a little portable radio still...

Thoughts on the Return of College Football

Holland, MI. The beginning of the college football season is the closest thing to a state holiday in Michigan. The release of the new auto...

The Reluctant Southerner: Reflections on Home and History

Moorpark, CA.  In October of 1997 I attended the Southern Historical Association’s convention in Atlanta because I wanted to hear Paul Conkin’s presidential address,...

Tocqueville on the Shores of Titicaca

Amid Alexis de Tocqueville’s writings on revolution in France, there is a passage that rings true for those of us who have spent time...

Advice For Up-And-Comers

Claremont, CA. I spoke last week at the New Jersey Governor’s School for Public Issues, a (mostly) state-funded summer program for civic-minded students about...

“On the Grid”: When Electricity (and Other Things) Came to the...

“Come in and look,” Quintín urged me, as he disappeared with a shuffle through the low doorway in his adobe house.  I got up...

Descartes, Algebra, and Alienation

Democratizing eighth-grade algebra promotes social justice. (Brookings Institution) Money, mechanization, algebra. The three monsters of contemporary civilization. Complete analogy. (Simone Weil) Mt. Airy, Philadelphia. ...

Brave New World Reconsidered: A Tale of Two Gnosticisms

Many who are alarmed at the prospect of the “abolition of man” have found in Huxley’s Brave New World a dark and salutary warning...

The New “Freedom”

Claremont, CA.   Becka flew into my office, so excited that she was out of breath. "Professor," she asked, "have you heard about freedom?" I couldn't...

Abraham Lincoln and the Destruction of Place

In case you missed it, 2009 is the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. Earlier this week I participated in a roundtable discussion on...