Law & Order

Law & Order

David Warren notes that social order requires a certain emotional chastity. If it isn’t taught, it isn’t learned. In our time, it isn’t taught.


The Catholic Thing

I used to read more news than I do now. This made sense, because I used to be a newspaper pundit – a job in which one must at least pretend to know what is going on. The appearance is quite easy to create; the reality is a little beyond human aspiration.

We don’t know, and can’t know, what is going on. This becomes evident whenever one looks closely at any event. One obtains an insight into the nature of history, or shall we call it “historical narrative.” This contains much factual matter that can be checked, from sources that hold reasonably still, the way tombstones do (until they disappear). But the history never “writes itself,” and the reader is utterly subject to the historian’s judgment, no less than he is to the novelist’s judgment when the novelist is telling a story.

The historian has the advantage over the journalist, of time. Things once concealed become open to investigation. The journalist has the advantage because in some cases he is actually there. I think the journalist’s advantage (if he will seize it) is underestimated.

As a hack, who traveled, this point was brought home to me many times. Before coming to some strange city, where I had never been before, I might read books, articles, travel guides. I would have an idea of the landscape, the streetscape, the “culture,” before arrival. Hours, even minutes after touchdown, all this information could be thrown away. “Being there” made all the difference – between reading about the flavor of something, and putting it in your mouth.

“Thrown away” is an exaggeration. The information continued to be useful. [Read the rest at ]

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