SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Matthew Schmitz

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December 28, 2020
A soft, therapeutic technocracy can promise more and deliver less than a hard technocratic regime devoted to, say, cold fusion or the abolition of age.
November 04, 2020
Why the Left has changed its criticisms of the right
November 03, 2020
Civilian deaths and police resignations follow wave of George Floyd protests
October 16, 2020
Countless institutions have been strained in 2020. Coronavirus has shuttered business and shattered marriages. Following the death of George Floyd, denunciations, resignations, and firings spread across newspapers, corporations, and universities. These intertwining crises pose a special threat to one of America’s most popular sports: football. Football’s glory is based on risk. Its fans thrill to
September 29, 2020
In the final presidential debate of 2016, Donald Trump promised to appoint judges who would overturn Roe v Wade. “That will happen,” he told the moderator. Hillary Clinton promised the opposite: “I feel that at this point in our country’s history, it is important … that we not reverse Roe v Wade.” Voters went to
September 04, 2020
Social conservatives face a hard choice. Though often understood in terms of whether to support or oppose Donald Trump, the choice predates and will outlast him. It has been forced on social conservatives not by any candidate or election, but by the transformation of American law and society. In June, the Supreme Court extended antidiscrimination
August 06, 2020
In the eyes of some, Joe Biden is a strong moderate who in beating Bernie Sanders showed that he can rein in the Democratic Party’s progressive wing. A strong moderate is what many people believe is needed in a nation torn apart by opposing extremes. As William Kristol put it, “If you don’t want a
August 06, 2020
Last month, Loyola University in Maryland removed the name of the novelist Flannery O’Connor from a residence hall. The administration of the Jesuit university had judged that some of O’Connor’s writings “revealed a racist perspective.” In this summer of statue toppings and building renamings, similar accusations have been leveled against figures as various as Christopher
July 10, 2020
Across the West, a new religious movement is unfolding. This “Great Awokening” professes high ideals in terms that are dangerous to dispute. Anyone who declines to “believe all women” will appear sexist. Anyone who dissents from the movement’s account of racism will appear to deny that “black lives matter”. A few weeks ago, at a
July 10, 2020
Perry Mason HBO/Sky Atlantic Like most shows produced by HBO, Perry Mason wants to be taken seriously as prestige drama, not mere TV. So in the early minutes of the first episode, we hear characters gratuitously using the f-word and view a dead baby with its eyelids sewn open (a sight not made any less
June 12, 2020
On the third day of looting, my train into New York arrives five hours late. We pull into a deserted Penn Station a few minutes after 10.30. I have just enough time to walk home before the first curfew in many years goes into effect. People on social media have been cheering the looters. Some
May 26, 2020
Since Chinatown was released in 1974, admiration of the film has steadily grown. Prompted by a newly published book, Sam Wasson’s The Big Goodbye, critics have been lavishing praise on the film in most major papers and magazines. What explains Chinatown’s enduring appeal? A great part of it lies in the technical skill marshalled to
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