Tag Archives: The American Culture

The End of Democracy?

Democracy can lose its soul when it “exaggerates” its principles, when it forgets the legitimate place of hierarchy, authority, and truth within their own spheres. As Dominique Schnapper argues in a brilliant new study inspired by Montesquieu’s insight (The Democratic Spirit of Law), in an “extreme democracy” equality risks becoming indiscriminate egalitarianism, the defense of novelty risks giving rise to the “temptation of the unlimited,” and healthy skepticism risks decaying into “absolute relativism.” As another contemporary French thinker, Pierre Manent, has put it, “To love democracy well it is necessary to love it moderately.”

This is what we should mean if we say we want to get back to a better America, rejecting hubris and restoring healthy boundaries in our civilization. People in the old days were not sinless, but they did understand the morality that builds and maintains a nation a little better than perhaps we do today. How do we get back there? It is partly by politics, but politics only as an outgrowth of godly community, by healthy church life, and by following the Good Shepherd wherever he goes.

‘The American Culture’

One of our oldest friends in the blogging world is S. T. Karnick’s The American Culture blog. I’ve been a participant there, though I’ve had to cut it back severely in the last couple years, due to my educational schedule. You may have noticed that the operation moved to the Liberty 21 Institute for a while. That association has ended.

If, like me, you’ve had a little trouble finding TAC again, it’s back at its old digs here.

This has been a public service announcement.

Praise from Caesar

I had the pleasure of getting my review of Andrew Klavan’s novel Crazy Dangerous (not here, but in its The American Culture incarnation) linked today by Klavan himself. In the course of the linkage he refers to me as “my colleague.”

That’s kind of the apotheosis of the concept of generosity, right there.

I’m Klavan’s colleague in more or less the same way I was Sir Anthony Hopkins’s colleague when I was doing community theater down in Florida. Or in the same way I was Christopher Nolan’s colleague when I cobbled together my West Oversea trailer. Or in the same way that guy in the subway station who plays with his instrument case open for spare change is Yo Yo Ma’s colleague.

But the fantasy is appreciated.

Yesterday was Svenskarnasdag (Swedish Day) at Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis. As usual, the Viking Age Club & Society was there for the entertainment, enlightenment, and moral uplift of the community. I fought a few fights, and never did better than a mutual kill. I’ve come to accept the fact that that’s more or less my calling.

Talked to a fellow who asked me about the Vikings in Scotland, and I was able to unload a lot of the stuff I learned in The Viking Highlands.

The subject didn’t stray as far as the Battle of Kringen, in 1612, whose 400th anniversary is today. Information here. (Thanks to Tim Eischen for bringing this to my attention.)

In brief, King Gustav Adolf II of Sweden wanted to attack Denmark by way of Norway. He hired a group of Scottish mercenaries under the command of George Sinclair (ironically, the Sinclairs are one of those Highland clans with Norse roots. But I doubt if that bothered them much) to march across Norway. An irregular force of Norwegian farmers ambushed them in a narrow mountain pass at Kringen, killed most of them by causing an avalanche, and slaughtered most of the rest. A few survived, and numerous Norwegians in Romsdal take pride in being their descendents.

We Norwegians have relatively few military victories to celebrate in our history, so this event looms large in our cultural tradition.