I just received my copy of The American Conservative’s most recent issue. It’s a very porchy issue indeed. Includes my interview with Greg Wolfe, editor of IMAGE; an essay by Phillip Blond on Red Toryism, adapted from the speech he gave at Georgetown under the auspices of the Tocqueville Forum; Bill Kauffman on To Kill a Mockingbird; and much more. Really, please support the only magazine devoted to thoughtful, non-ideological conservatism by subscribing. And if you find a magazine devoted to thoughtful progressivism, subscribe to that, too (and let me know what it is).
Perhaps the best piece is Dan McCarthy’s on the growth of arbitrary authority. Perhaps he’ll let us reprint it here, in a while. One paragraph will give you the gist:
You can sleep with whomever you want, but there will be no legally binding commitments, and whether you keep your house or your children will be up to a judge. You can quit your job at any time, but good luck finding another. You can vote for the Republican or Democrat of your preference, and they will both give the country bigger government and mroe wars. Even which church to attend is a consumer choice, as self-interested and trivialized as which soft drink to buy. For all the fetishization of choice, Americans are taught by their institutions that there is only one way to live: casually, unconcernedly, without strong connections to anything but the provider state and its flag.
I’d say that last sentence, in particular, is insightful, wouldn’t you? But we are not just taught this; it is a dogma that is thoroughly culturally (and often enough legally) enforced.