A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Quote of the Day

"He [Kraus] had seen the First World War coming, in the malice spreading through the language; in the smugness that fogged perception; in the lies that people told each other, to preserve their amour-propre; in the jingo that lurked beneath the genteel. After, he saw worse.
"My sense is that we are once again coming to the end of lies and hypocrisy. The political class has delivered us once more, by increments. Trump and Sanders say things that are plain; in Europe, too, we have candidates who mean what they say. What they say is blather, and frequently unhinged, and not lying but indifferent to fact. It is sincere, however."

-- David Warren, "The decline of requirements"
One often hears it said of this personality or that that "at least he says what he means!" He is no hypocrite. Late Moderns having elevated hypocrisy to the One and Only Sin, a man who is no hypocrite begins to seem like the immaculate conception. But in addition to meaning what he says, it is well to ask what he says means. Genghis Khan was a straightforward, no-nonsense kind of guy, too.

He brought hope and change, as well; at least for some. But the same question can be asked of change. What is to be changed and in what direction? Most times, it is for the worse. (Recall: Most mutations kill the organism.) It turns out that young European idealists in the 20s and 30s were also hopey-changey, but what they changed was from boring bourgeois Biedermeier to exciting proletarian fascism. 
And choice. Who can be against choice? Well, except when evacuating an burning airplane. You really don't want every passenger "thinking for himself," because he is liable to think I gotta get out of here! and pay little attention to the people in his way. But other than that. Oh, and whether evolution is true. Otherwise, "I Choose!" is an unanswerable assertion by the Triumphant Will. 
But as Michael Novak once wrote: 
Professors in countless classrooms in many different disciplines report that students have already been well taught that, when they are faced with any moral proposition, the proper response is, “That’s just your opinion.” They are resistant, then, to resolving disagreements by reasoned arguments. They aver, “You choose your good, and I’ll choose mine.” Reasoned debate is replaced by naked will. I choose. Don’t ask me to give reasons—I just choose.

This circumstance seems to be what Nietzsche meant when he observed that no man of reason should rejoice in the death of God. Experience will soon show, he was certain, that with the death of God arrives the death of reason. And what is the path out of nihilism?
The Modern Ages began their long collapse just over a century ago, and the light has very nearly burned out. Well, they were fun while they lasted.

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