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Clips and Comments (v. 7) - Issue #120

I'm very grateful for everyone who has become members. My hope is that another 75 of you will decide
The Path Before Us
Clips and Comments (v. 7) - Issue #120
By Matthew Lee Anderson • Issue #120 • View online
I’m very grateful for everyone who has become members. My hope is that another 75 of you will decide to do so by the end of the year. Remember: it’s free, if you want it to be, no questions asked. Thanks for reading.

Thomas Chatterton Williams
[James] Baldwin was very upfront about his debt to the King James Bible and to Henry James’s novels. I mean, there are no boundaries. I just think you’re richer by reading some Jamaica Kincaid and some Junot Díaz and some Teju Cole on your syllabi. You’re richer for having more voices. But the idea that those voices aren’t also in a conversation with the voices that have already been there, and the idea that identity is a zero-sum game, is something that racists believe. But it’s also something that antiracists seem to believe; that someone has to be pushed out in order for Toni Morrison to come in. I don’t buy that. –Thomas Chatterton Williams
I’m pretty sure not enough of you read the interview I linked last week, but it’s so full of good sense that I thought I’d link to it here. It’s fashionable these days to decry as racist the canon of so-called ‘Great Texts’ of 'Western Civilization,’ and to require that we all put 'so-called’ as a qualifier. I’m not much moved by such critiques, for reasons Chatterton Williams highlights: what if the history of so-called 'Western thought’ is a self-critical one, where later figures learn from the earlier in order to correct their errors without throwing out what they got right? To criticize that tradition of thought properly is to participate within it. It is indisputably worth criticizing, because it is worth listening to.
Polyamory Is Growing—And We Need To Get Serious About It - Quillette
John Corvino and me, arguing about matters at Wheaton College in October.
John Corvino and me, arguing about matters at Wheaton College in October.
The Cult of Trump?
“Trump approvers (43 percent of respondents) were asked if he could do anything that would make them disapprove of him. Of that group, 62 percent said there’s nothing he could do to make them disapprove of his job performance. That’s the question media are focusing on to prove how stupid and tribal those Republican voters are.
“But Trump disapprovers (51 percent of respondents) were similarly asked if Trump could ever do anything aside from resigning that would make them approve of his job performance. Guess what: 70 percent of disapprovers said there’s nothing he could possibly do to earn their approval of his job performance.”
So says the inimitable Mollie Hemingway, criticizing the media for framing Trump’s supporters as a cult but not his critics. Point taken. But there’s an asymmetry between these positions that she overlooks: his critics might have seen enough at this point in to think that the damage to our country by both Trump and the #reaction make approval all-but-impossible. But surely he could do something over the next twelve months that might make a reasonable person cease to support him, even a pro-life person who is very happy with two Supreme Court justices?
'That was a tragicomedy' -- Looking back at Wake Forest's 6-3 win over Virginia Tech, five years later
From your humble correspondent...
This essay criticises ‘modest’ one‐child policies, which would impose sanctions upon parents who create multiple children. Specifically, this article considers what the state owes individuals who would be born (illegally) beneath restrictive procreative policies and argues that such policies would fail to show due respect to second‐ or third‐born individuals created beneath them. First, I argue that modest procreative restrictions (like sanctions) are likely to generate only modest compliance. I then suggest it is reasonable to think a one‐child policy fails to demonstrate due respect to existing second and third children. I argue that such a policy generates an undue burden on any second or third children who would be born beneath them, before concluding by considering whether the state might be able to avoid effectively reinscribing ‘bastardy’ into its law by locating responsibility for the effects of such a policy entirely on the parents, rather than on children.
This is the abstract for an academic paper I’ve recently had published. With apologies to mom and dad, I may have used ‘bastards’ in the title. But it’s a technical term, so hopefully y'all aren’t too offended.
The 2010s Have Broken Our Sense Of Time
An inmate claimed his life sentence ended when he 'died' and was revived.
Currently Reading
  1. This looks like a one-stop shop for the latest research on ‘evangelicals’ history and future.
  2. Bonds of Imperfection, Oliver and Joan O'Donovan: This is a classic volume, and I’ve enjoyed dipping into it again.
  3. Ender’s Game. I’d never read it, and I don’t much go for either science fiction or twentieth-century cult classics (looking at you, Dune). But I enjoyed it, and plan on reading the rest of the series.
  4. Patient as Person. This is a classic in bioethics, and justly so.
Uchida Mitsuko: Mozart Sonatas 545, 570, 576, 533/494 (432 Hz)
Uchida Mitsuko: Mozart Sonatas 545, 570, 576, 533/494 (432 Hz)
We recently became the owners of a baby grand piano, which has become the highlight of my year. I’ll tell the full story behind it at some point here. But it has me hunting for new piano works that I might learn, which means I have the Uchida Mitsuko’s complete Mozart sonatas in heavy rotation at the moment.
Trump and the Cosmopolitan-Populist Evangelical Divide
The Penultimate Word
“In this world we cannot have pure pleasure. This is partly because pure pleasure would be dangerous to us and to our neighbours. But it is partly because pure pleasure is a great deal too much trouble. If I am ever in any other and better world, I hope that I shall have enough time to play with nothing but toy theatres; and I hope that I shall enough divine and superhuman energy to act at least one play in them without a hitch.” – G.K. Chesterton
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