July 2019

A Real Conservative in the Cabinet

The new Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg has reconfirmed his conservative credentials by issuing a short style manual to his staff. Mr Rees-Mogg wishes to expunge from office communications hackneyed words and phrases, illiterate punctuation, inappropriate forms of address, and sloppy writing in general. The only regrettable thing about this undertaking is that it should be necessary.

Defender of the West

A few years ago, I attended a small conference in Vatican City on “Poverty and the Common Good”. Organized by the Rome-based Dignitatis Humanae Institute (DHI), the conference was held in the Casina Pio IV, a 16th-century villa built in the middle of the Vatican Gardens, now housing the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. It was memorable for many reasons — but most of all because Steve Bannon joined participants via Skype.

The Rise of Anti-Christian Attacks in France

[T]here is nothing at all unusual about an attack on a Christian religious site these days in France — or, for that matter, elsewhere in Europe. The French police recorded 129 thefts and 877 acts of vandalism at Catholic sites — mostly churches and cemeteries — in 2018, and there has been no respite this year. The Conference of French Bishops reported 228 “violent anti-Christian acts” in France in the first three months of 2019 alone, taking place in every region of the country. What’s going on?

Toward a ‘National Conservatism’

The inaugural conference of the Edmund Burke Foundation, focusing on ‘national conservatism’, began Sunday evening and will conclude on Tuesday, July 16. Spearheaded by Israeli political philosopher Yoram Hazony, the conference brings together some of the world’s leading social and political thinkers.

Individualism Waning in the West

[T]he growing conflict between traditionalists and progressives is causing stress, with divisions exacerbated by social media. In this context, there are signs of the West shifting towards collectivism. This will bring security — but with a regrettable loss of liberty.

Norman Stone (1941-2019)

Professor Norman Stone, the renowned historian who died aged 78 on June 19 this year, was an outstandingly colourful figure on a British intellectual landscape that has long had an accelerating tendency to the flat, dull, monochrome, and ideologically uniform.

Converting America Means Thinking Differently

The 13 June 2019 Catholic Herald carried a provocative article by a colleague whom I greatly respect: Matthew Schmitz. Entitled “Longing for lost worlds won’t convert America,” it roused rather conflicting feelings in me — which was very odd.