Vacation

July 27, 2009

I am on one, probably until midway through this week. Posting should resume somewhere thereabouts.

Two Small Milestones

July 1, 2009

Small celebratory note: not only is this my 100th post here, but today also marked the 2000th view of this blog. So, um, hurrah, I suppose. Here’s hoping its here in another three months!

H1N1 Ctd.

June 16, 2009

For those may care: I seem to have avoided the worst of it, being confined to bed for a day with a nasty cough and aching everything. My brother had it much worse, and he says it was like getting hit by a car. I only saw him once during the days he had it and he frankly looked like death. Fortunately he’s recovered more or less completely now.

I can definitely understand why people were worried it will get worse. Fingers crossed it stays this harmless.

The Other Big News.

June 12, 2009

Putting aside the 800-pound gorilla for a second, I have some other personal news worth mentioning. Many of you may be aware that the American Conservative has been expanding its stable of bloggers pretty considerably in the last few weeks. The first of the new additions, Daniel McCarthy’s Tory Anarchist, is already well established as an interesting read, but I was particularly intrigued by the  new experimental group blog called Post Right, which looks just weird enough to be indispensable. Being a little weird myself, you can imagine my excitement when McCarthy generously offered to make me a regular contributor! My first post will be forthcoming (though likely delayed by the onset of world historical events *cough cough*) but I figured I’m allowed one victory lap, since this is something of a big step up.

A word of clarification: this does not mean that The Other Right is going away. I will still do the bulk of my thinking here and there will be ample cross-posting between sites. Nonetheless you should make both regular stops on your daily Internet outings so as to maximize your reading enjoyment. (And I know all my readers love to rationally maximize.)

I have now discussed myself twice in twenty four hours. Shameful. I now resolve to go to bed.

Edit: Can I just mention how funny I find it that WordPress’s spellchecker doesn’t recognize “blog” or “blogger” as real words?

H1N1

June 11, 2009

My brother just got back from the clinic, and the doctor says he’s got it, albeit mildly, thank God.  Still, we all just dosed up on anti-virals and are busily washing every doorknob in the house.  Never have I so dreaded the onset of a stuffy nose.

Thoughts/prayers/stoic consolations much appreciated, as always.

Good News!

May 19, 2009

Dear readers,

Today I bring good news. John Schwenkler of Upturned Earth is going on a trip and has generously offered to let me guest blog over at his new digs at The American Conservative while he is (sort of) away. Suffice it to say, I am pumped: Upturned Earth is a fantastic blog and I am looking forward contributing bigtime. My first admittedly humble post is up here, and more will follow. 

However, just because I am writing at Upturned Earth, does not mean I won’t still be posting here. There will definitely be more of the snark, weirdness, and unabashed nerdery you’ve come to expect here at The Other Right, just with more cross-posting than usual.  So please keep reading and commenting! 

That is all, dear comrades.

-H.C. Johns

Well, I see my dear old friend R.O. Flyer has decided to go after Craig Carter. More power to him says I; there’s really nothing better than dueling Yoder scholars. (Except of course, dueling yodlers.) But in the process he makes some rather harsh statements about Red Tories, Crunchy Conservatives, and Communitarians that give me pause. Example:

So, what we have here is a sort of Christian traditionalist anti-liberalism. Although most of these folks know quite well that we can’t turn back the clock in order to abort Scotus’ fetus, they sort of act like we should or that we should at least try to steer history in the direction of a society based on “Christian” values. Now how these folks understand Christianity is highly problematic I think and looks something a bit like pre-Vatican II Catholicism, I suppose. Or, perhaps a time before all of that…a time before the nominalists; a time before Ockham; a time before Protestantism. A true conservatism, in this view, is a sort of reappropriation of medieval economics usually all within the framework of a sort of participation metaphysics grounded in a hierarchical ontology (read Radical Orthodoxy). Let me just show my hand here: such a nostalgia for Christendom is utter bullshit; it is quite simply a wretched reading of history and, frankly, it is Constantinian.

There’s more here.  There are a number of things I can say in defence of the position that R. O. is attacking, a few clarifications I’d like, and a few areas where he’s basically correct. I’ll start with the last and end with the first, in true communitarian style.

Read the rest of this entry »

The more I think about it, the more inclined I am to say that the brain draining of Middle America’s small towns is at least partially tied to the decline of the mainline churches. If we accept, as I argued here, that cultural and educational decline goes hand in hand with economic outflow, then part of the picture must include how religious traditions interface with the local cultures, for better or worse.

When I think back to the experiences of my paternal grandparents’ generation, its striking how large of a role their denominations played in shaping their decisions to stay in the rural Midwest, and to creating the culture they valued. Partly this was because they were first-generation Scandinavian-Americans and denominational commitments were just a cultural given. But it was also that the church provided an intellectual and communal home for them: the clergy formed a large part of the educated backbone for their communities, and they passed on the theological vibrancy to even seemingly provincial places.  I remember how stunned I was to find that my great-uncle Cliff not only owned a good chunk of Tillich’s collected works, but also had most of the major German theologians in one form or another, all of which were transferred to my grandparent’s house after Cliff passed away.  Now granted, Cliff was himself highly educated, but he lived in smaller towns for most of his adult life, and remained within the fold of the local culture.  Ditto my grandparents.  And having a church community where the life of the mind was cultivated was a big part of that.

I wish I could say the same of my experiences with small town fundamentalism. Obviously I don’t want to make across the board statements here, since evangelical practice is a hugely diverse thing, but because its spiritual focus is entirely on scripture, and its interest in science is, uh, well, different,  and that its ideological commitments are sustained by culture war, I don’t think they’re capable of playing that role. Trying to escape that sector of the church was one of the great struggles on the other side of the family: my maternal grandfather’s early life was spent in a fringe holy-roller congregation, and it was precisely because of that that he moved, first across the street and later to the Philippines to fight in WWII. The fact that his experience is slowly replacing my paternal grandparents’ is extremely disconcerting, and like I said, bodes poorly for Middle America more broadly.

Hello all, welcome to my new blog, The Other Right.  As the title hopefully suggests, this blog is a blog about conservatism in the broadest sense, written from the outside by an outsider unsure where inside really is.  The subjects will be politics, religion, culture and philosophy; the tone will be courteous, unfortunately pretentious and hopefully not too academic. Posts will appear once or twice per week, more often if necessary.

There will also be videos of insane dogs. (For example.)