Interestingly enough, we band of conservatives here at The Imaginative Conservative have spent only the smallest amount of time addressing the current raging controversy regarding the erection of a Mosque/Cultural Center at Ground Zero. Our so-called president wavers about this intensely local matter, and the web is overloaded with conflicting variety of views.
Our intellectual ancestors discussed Islam frequently and rarely with elegance or for what would pass today as sensitivity. Christopher Dawson, for example, wrote in 1952: “as the unity of the ancient world was finally broken in two by the sin of Islam, so the modern world is being broken by in two by the sin of communism.”
The topic of 9/11 and how we remember it, though, lingers, as it should in the confused and collective American soul. It festers amorphously for much of the public, finding its expression in strange ways.
Importantly, American uncertainty about who we are and what we want to be seems to be creating confusion regarding the individual soul of our chief executive, King Barack. The press yesterday had a field day noting that Americans are very unsure of what religion the King practices. Roughly 18% of Americans believe their elected president is a follower of Islam. This, by the way, has jumped from 11% a year ago. Most interesting to me, though, is that 43% of Americans say that don’t know what he is! Can any of us think of a president in recent memory who at the very least pretended, often rather openly, to be a member of some Christian denomination? My hope is that such cloudiness will pervade the study or non-study of this current presidency years from now. Here’s hoping that Obama will be remembered, if at all, as our century’s Millard Fillmore, the kind of president we remember only because he’s so forgettable. Obama, by the way, claims to be Christian.
On the terrible side of life, yesterday was “Happy Government Day,” the day of the year we Americans no longer pay taxes to our various governments (local, state, and federal). Everything earned from today, August 20 through December 31 is ours. But, January 1 is coming soon.
If memory serves me, this end of taxing paying date was around early to mid May back in the 1980s. As Jim Otteson asked over at Pileus, when are we Americans going to stop putting up with this?
To answer Jim’s question, I highly recommend one of my favorite books, Lexington and Concord, by A.B. Tourtellot.
Signs of the good life appear broke through yesterday’s fog. Hillsdale College’s new Kirby Center announced it will be hosting a rather massive webcast/webinar on September 16-17.
The New York Times published a fascinating article on the faculty of imagination.
And, NPR had an article on how to fight corporate invasions of our privacy.
Finally, the literary critic, Frank Kermode, passed away on Tuesday of this week. Whatever his faults (and a big one, in my mind, was his bashing of Kirk’s biography of T.S. Eliot), Kermode (b. 1919) fought a good fight for literature as literature and not merely as an expression of theory, at least as he got older.
P.S. A personal note. I tried to watch a part of Disney’s “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” with my kids (age 11 and under) last night. Though they (my kids) laughed uproariously, I failed to get the movie or the humor. English witchcraft and psychedelic special effects, cartoon animals interacting with live action humans, dancing to celebrate the diversity of the British empire? I’m now convinced that 1971 produced not only terrible church architecture, but really creepy Disney movies as well.
Books mentioned in this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore. The Imaginative Conservative applies the principle of appreciation to the discussion of culture and politics—we approach dialogue with magnanimity rather than with mere civility. Will you help us remain a refreshing oasis in the increasingly contentious arena of modern discourse? Please consider donating now.