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Interstate 81 does go through a very beautiful part of the country.

I like what George Will wrote there, makes good sense.

Too bad we can't have a benevolent dictatorship, since there is probably no such thing, I would love to live in a land without political advertisements for one thing. Not to mention ads for ambulance chasing lawyers!

This is a good take by Douthat on the Francis/America thing:


Excellent piece. One of the many many things the LCC piece misses is that the closest thing to real integralism one can find on the Catholic side is among the distributist crowd who give huge importance to the social encyclicals.

"if Charles Colson and Richard John Neuhaus were integralists, I am a lemur." Ha. Yes--that same crowd loathe the Neuhaus-Weigel-Novak crowd precisely for their attempt to marry Catholicism to the liberal-secular order.

"...the pope’s men are effectively condemning not only American conservative Catholics but also the pope’s own writings on poverty and environmentalism..."

Yes, that's possibly the weirdest thing about the article. It comes close to saying "Keep religion out of politics!"

It's funny, just this morning I was walking from my living room to my dining room thinking, "I never see anything by George Will anymore. I wonder if he's dead." I guess not.

That picture reminds me a lot of a place that I drive by frequently. They have a cross on the top of the hill.

One of my favorite places is the River Bend Rest Area on the Natchez Trace near Jackson, MS. It's on the Pearl River. The pictures here are nice enough but they just don't convey how amazingly peaceful it is there. Most of the times we've been there, we have been alone. There's never been more than one other car there.


It is beautiful. My picture is misleading as far as peace is concerned: it was a small place and was completely jammed with cars and people. But when I walked around the back, that's what I saw.

Speaking of George Will, Stu said " I would love to live in a land without political advertisements for one thing." Will had another column recently which pointed out that ads attacking Mo Brooks and favoring Luther Strange are being paid for by a PAC run by Mitch McConnell. (Alabama politics)

That's interesting, Mac. I see those darn ads every night while watching the news. What makes Luther Strange better than than Mo Brooks? All four of the Republicans who want Jeff Sessions seat say the same thing: I love Donald Trump the most, I will do away with Obamacare, the NRA thinks I am the best, etc. It is really nauseating to watch since I am diametrically opposed to all of what they supposedly stand for.

Even I find it nauseating, although I'm in more agreement with their views than you are. It's just meaningless pandering and unfortunately it tends to work. Do you mean why is Strange preferable in the eyes of the Republican establishment? I don't know. Maybe G. Will mentioned it in that column but if so I've forgotten. Presumably something to do with willingness to toe the party line.

Instead of a vote, I think the four should go to a firing range and whoever is the best shot can have the seat. Preferably the targets will be likenesses of Bill and Hillary Clinton. And they have to hold onto a Bible while shooting.

That's a great idea.


Shouldn't the phrase be"cling to their bibles"?

That is a very good piece by Douthat. Hope Spadaro and Figueroa read it. And loved the bit about Trump being "cheerfully pagan".

I haven't followed it closely, but something or other that I read earlier today said that S&F are vigorously defending their piece, sticking with their the "bit dog hollers" reasoning.

The most recent George Will column on Washington Post site is about the Republican party being the party of the "grotesque". He quotes Flannery O'Connor and writes specifically about the race to replace Jeff Sessions senate seat. He seems to think that if Roy Moore beat the other ones he would then lose to a Democrat.

Hard to imagine any Democrat winning in Alabama now but I guess this might be a chance. Saw a poll a day or two ago that had Moore ahead significantly.

He seems to think that if Roy Moore beat the other ones he would then lose to a Democrat.

Yeah, that's what everybody thought about Trump and presidency. But I guess Moore doesn't have Trump's charisma.


But he's revered by a lot of conservative evangelicals.

I did not get an album review written for you, Mac. Sorry! We are quite close to beginning the semester and my mind is cluttered with other things.

I have a lot going on, too, most of it in the form of two small boys, so I recycled another old one. After this week I won't be quite as pressed for time.

I have another one in the works as well.

Have any of you ever listened to Close Reads?


Not I.

I would take "integralist" to be used as a loose synonym of "ultratraditionalist", rather than a deliberate evocation of the specific political theology with all it entails. (This is how the word is now used by French journalists.) The piece is an attempt to read America through a European lens, but I suspect it's inspired not so much by what's happening in the US as by the way the European right now (in a strange quirk of history) looks to America for inspiration – and produces a grotesque collection of tricks and tics taken out of their organic context.

I should say the left does the same: I've seen several attempts to bend events in Belgium into a "Black Lives Matter" or "Occupy" narrative that just doesn't fit local conditions, any more than Breitbart and the Tea Party do. I blame the internet. When it comes to politics, so many otherwise intelligent people seem to think in memes now, instead of looking at what's actually going on around them.

That's very true, though it didn't start with the internet. Thirty years ago I would have said they were thinking in bumper stickers.

It's probably hard to find true integralists in this country, but I think where found they're likely to be also describable as ultratraditionalists.

"The piece is an attempt to read America through a European lens, but I suspect it's inspired not so much by what's happening in the US as by the way the European right now (in a strange quirk of history) looks to America for inspiration..."

That seems plausible, but it's not much of an excuse for the massive misreading of the American scene--again, not that it's 100% wrong, but as Schmitz says it misses big things and exaggerates small ones, in addition to being somewhat malicious. I speculate that Spadaro, who spent time in Chicago, absorbed some partisan prejudice from the liberal Jesuits at Loyola.

Prejudice and misinformation.

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