Montaigne And Conservatism

A reader writes: Andrew, you said in your appreciation of Montaigne: Skepticism is not nihilism. It doesn’t posit that there is no truth; it merely notes that if truth exists, it is inherently beyond our ultimate grasp. And accepting those limits is the first step toward sanity, toward getting on with life. This is what … Continue reading Montaigne And Conservatism

The Best Of The Dish Today

There’s always a moment – sooner or later – when a regime propped up by lies will have to account for an empirical reality that refutes it and threatens to bring the entire edifice down. That’s the potentially game-changing significance of MH17, it seems to me. Here’s Putin’s strange 13 minute address to Russians today … Continue reading The Best Of The Dish Today

The Last Great English Romantic

Reviewing Oakeshott’s recently published Notebooks, John Gray sketches a charming portrait of the idiosyncratic philosopher: When I knew him towards the end of his life, the impression he made was of a Twenties figure, whose values and attitudes – notably an uncompromising commitment to personal authenticity – echoed those of D H Lawrence, so I … Continue reading The Last Great English Romantic

Book Club: A Guide To Living

The stroke of genius in Sarah Bakewell’s book about Montaigne is that she framed his biography as a guide to life. You could justify this as a way to appeal to a distracted 21st Century audience otherwise highly unlikely to read about a sixteenth century French essayist, but she makes that entirely unnecessary. What she … Continue reading Book Club: A Guide To Living

Thoughts On Kagan

The Atlantic and The New Republic have both been on a roll lately, proving that long-form writing remains a vital part of our now-digital conversation. But I have to say I was underwhelmed by Bob Kagan’s endless piece, “Super-Powers Don’t Get To Retire.” The very title is simply wrong. Super-powers have retired again and again … Continue reading Thoughts On Kagan

Book Club: Can Modernity Survive Without Christianity?

A reader adds a final twist to the debate: You started the Dish book club by asking if Christianity can survive modernity, and the discussion that ensued proves, I think, what a challenging – and open – question that remains. Ever since that first post of yours, however, I haven’t been able to shake a … Continue reading Book Club: Can Modernity Survive Without Christianity?

Sully And Hitch After Dark

A late-night conversation between Andrew Sullivan and Christopher Hitchens, recorded in 2006. A while back I thought it would be a cool idea to do some post-prandial chats with some of my favorite people. It occurred to me that the best conversations I ever heard in Washington never happened on television or radio. They were … Continue reading Sully And Hitch After Dark