A free and virtuous society: Lessons from Les Misèrables

Interpreting works of literature is always a dicey task—it’s all too easy to find the conclusions we want to find and turn authors into spokesmen for our own ideas. In these reflections on Victor Hugo’s Les Misèrables, I don’t claim that what I say is necessarily what Hugo himself intended. Continue Reading...

Russell Kirk’s 100th Birthday

I’d like to join in the chorus of Russell Kirk memorials that have graced the PowerBlog these past few days to commemorate Kirk’s 100th birthday. Over at The Federalist today, I can only hint at the significant contributions Kirk wrote on behalf of conservatism, sound economics and Christian humanism. Continue Reading...

Alejandro Chafuen on Real Nazis in Argentina

Acton’s Alejandro Chafuen weighed-in at Forbes on the new Hollywood movie about the arrest and eventual trial of Nazi Adolph Eichman, Operation Finale. The movie is more than a historical reenactment for Chafuen, who recounts in his essay that a notorious Nazi once inhabited the Argentine neighborhood where Chafuen lived for 30 years. Continue Reading...

First Reformed: The toxic mess of syncretism

There’s a lot to process in Paul Schrader’s latest film, “First Reformed.” The first half of the film sets up as a powerful, even brilliant, study of spiritual desolation and the cross-currents of modern idolatry and traditional religion. Continue Reading...

Isolationism and internationalism in Black Panther

I finally got around to seeing Black Panther last night, and my early reaction echoes so much of the overwhelmingly positive response to the film. As so many superhero tales do, Black Panther weaves together complex ideas within the often deceptively fantastical trappings of science fiction and fantasy. Continue Reading...

Jerry Pournelle, Russell Kirk Conservative: RIP

Jerry Pournelle passed away in early September and is memorialized in this week’s “Upstream” segment of the Radio Free Acton podcast. An accomplished man in many fields in both the public and private sectors, he perhaps is best known as the author and co-author of a shelf-full of science-fiction novels. Continue Reading...

Czeslaw Milosz: Poet Laureate of Freedom

[A review of Milosz: A Biography by Andrzej Franasszek, edited and translated by Aleksandra and Michael Parker, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge University, 2017, 526 pp., $35] “What is poetry which does not save/Nations or people?” – Czeslaw Milosz (“Dedication”) In the 1970s – the last full decade before Poland finally freed itself from the shackles of communist control –Lech Walesa, the leader of Solidarity, the Soviet bloc’s first trade union, was arrested on more than one occasion. Continue Reading...

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