Musings of a Damn Yankee

The Meaning of Anti-Whiteness

Conservatives have only ever had one good argument against race-based affirmative action, reparations, and other programs that promote racial equity.  They’ve point out that black Africans also participated in the slave trade.   In fact, long before English settlers arrived in Virginia, blacks were enslaving whites, blacks were enslaving blacks, and whites were enslaving eachContinue reading “The Meaning of Anti-Whiteness”

Get Out of My House

One year later, I can’t believe how many conservatives still struggle to condemn the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill.  What happened that day was not only a crime: it was a sin against nature. Not all of my comrades see it that way.  Sarcastic references to the “temple of our democracy” abound.  It’s just aContinue reading “Get Out of My House”

The Education of a Modernist

Readers of Crisis Magazine who know the name Garry Wills probably wouldn’t expect to see his books recommended in these pages. But I strongly urge all of you to pick up a copy of his memoir of faith, Why I Am a Catholic. No other book offers such a clear glimpse into the Modernist mind. I’m not aware ofContinue reading “The Education of a Modernist”

Every Day Is Christmas

Every December 24 — while dad builds the fire, mom preps the salmon loaf, wifey makes the eggnog, and I “test” the brandy — a wail goes up from the Davis house. It’s Elvis Presley, crying: “O why can’t every day be like Christmas? Why can’t that feeling go on endlessly?” And we answer him, no lessContinue reading “Every Day Is Christmas”

Faith in the Devil

Early in our marriage, my wife vetoed the idea of celebrating Christmas in the Alpine tradition: by having Santa Claus accompanied by Krampus, your friendly neighborhood ice-demon. Of course, Mrs. Davis was amenable to the idea of a horned monster beating our children with birch rods. At least when they’re naughty. Then she realized that,Continue reading “Faith in the Devil”

No War for Taiwan

The Republican Party is haunted by the specter of communism. Even now that “wars of democracy” are out of vogue, the myth of our Shining City vanquishing the Evil Empire remains central to conservatives’ self-identity. Reagan told Mr. Gorbachev to tear down that wall, and down it came. This preoccupation with communism is the mostContinue reading “No War for Taiwan”

Rise of the New Stoics

Every day around noon, a white pickup truck comes barreling down my street. It’s one of those big-boy toys: jacked-up suspension, aftermarket muffler, turbo…the works. It’s the kind of truck only a single man could love (or afford). You can hear it for a good ten seconds before it passes the house, and another ten secondsContinue reading “Rise of the New Stoics”

Romance of the Real

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately,” wrote Henry David Thoreau, and he’ll never live it down. Every child in America is assigned Walden in high school. Few students (and fewer teachers) get around to reading it. Yet everyone with an internet connection knows that its author sometimes let his mother do hisContinue reading “Romance of the Real”

Two Priests Review ‘The Reactionary Mind’

Within a day of each other, two outstanding priest-writers reviewed The Reactionary Mind.  I’m deeply grateful to my friends Fr. Michael Rennier and Fr. Dwight Longenecker for their generous and thoughtful insights.      First, here’s Fr. Rennier for Dappled Things: When I use the phrase “reactionary” applied to myself, I have in mind a rejectionContinue reading “Two Priests Review ‘The Reactionary Mind’”


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