Monday, August 13, 2012

The New Criterion: Future Tense

This will be the last Montana Headlines post for about a month -- I hope to return to a regular publication schedule starting sometime in September. So it is perhaps appropriate that I have this last post before the break be one that offers a feast to readers. This was going to be posted last Friday, but since the American Spectator piece came out that day, it took priority.

To commemorate its 30th year of publication (a remarkable achievement for an opinion journal of the arts and culture), The New Criterion has, over the last year, published a series of eleven essays on a broad variety of topics, every one of them worth reading.

Ranging from David Hart's brilliant consideration of religion called "America & the angels of Sacré-Cœur" to the always engaging Kevin Williamson's consideration of our financial straits entitled "Everybody Gets Rich," these lengthy and thoughtful essays aim toward that critical middle ground between long scholarly books and the up-to-the minute commentary of the 24-hour news cycle.

As would be expected from The New Criterion, they are intelligent without being academic and conservative without being partisan. Most importantly, they address the deeper issues of culture and our civilization, recognizing that we stand on the cusp of... something.

No conservative who considers what Germans would call our curent Sitz im Leben has particular cause for optimism, whether financial, cultural, or political, but at the same time, the final chapters have yet to be written. As Roger Scruton noted in his recent book How to Think Seriously About the Planet (about which more in the coming months), "conservatism is the politics of delay, the purpose of which is to maintain in being, for as long as possible, the life and health of a social organism."

These "Future Tense" essays, far from being the type of conservative Jeremiads that are so easily caricatured, not only give cold-eyed appraisals of the paths we are currently on, they also look forward to alternative -- and better -- endings to our story.

Do a search for "The New Criterion" and "Future Tense," and then enjoy reading.

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