The Genre of Conservative Fiction

With Adam Bellow

Of the making of books there is no end. So says the Book of Ecclesiastes. . But according to Adam Bellow, son of Saul, the strong liberal or “progressive” tilt of modern fiction is not counter-balanced by conservative or “traditionalist” fiction. As a leading publisher of conservative writers such as Charles Murray and Dinesh deSousa and, as influenced by his father and his father’s close associate, Alan Bloom, Bellow has undertaken to stimulate, encourage and “print” fiction that reflects conservative and traditionalist values.

In this podcast we discuss with him: how he transited from “Zabar’s liberal” to neoconservative; how his Liberty Island web site presents and stimulates short stories and essays in the conservative mode; and, most newsworthy, the new conservative genre novels he is about to launch.

Also emergent in this conversation is a good deal of engaging representation of the lives and relationship of Saul the father and Adam the son.


The “Greatest” Political Murderer

With Roderick Macfarquhar

The trio of Hitler, Stalin and Mao were responsible for some 100 million political murders of civilians. Of these some 48 million could be traced to Mao Tse Tung and his two mad campaigns known as “The Great Leap Forward” and  “The Cultural Revolution.” The terrifying and inevitably riveting story was told by Oxford University historian  Roderick Macfarquhar in his book “Mao’s Last Revolution.” He joined us in this exceptional program early in 2006.


Great Books. Good Books and Non-Books

With Mark Bauerline and Bruce Gans

Vergil, Plato, Augustine, Dante, Goethe, Austen, Melville—are these all “great books?” By common designation they are. What about  Dickens, James, Hemingway, Cocteau and Mickey Spillane? The later group may be more immediately enjoyable than the former.  But here are two professors of literature who joined us in 2005 with a great discussion of the great books concept and, at the same time, presented some exciting passages from some of the books they think to be truly great. And they can and do tell you why!!


Classic Mafia Murder

With Tom Kirkpatrick, John Drummond, and John Kass

By the year 2005 the Chicago Mafia had experienced (and performed) some 1500 murders. A great investigation in that year disclosed much about who killed who…and why and how.  Also illuminated in that investigation was how the Mafia was coordinated into the rule and function of a great American city. Here, in rich narrative detail, is the full story as reported by three of the city’s foremost crime experts.


The Rise and Fall of Great Empires

With Three academic historians

So far, no far-flung empire has lasted  more than 1500 years (the Romans) unless you count the many dynasties of Egypt, the last of which was run by Alexandrian Greeks. The great questions addressed by “large-picture” historians are how empires rise and how and why they inevitably fall. Three such academic historians joined us in 2006 to discuss the Roman, Greek, Ottoman and Russian cases.


Nous Sommes Etonees

With Charles Lipson

“Je suis Charlie” and “je suis juif” provide the model for the title above which, though lacking the required accents aigus, means that we are astonished. The “we” is me and my guest, Charles Lipson, member of our old A Team and one of the country’s five leading political scientists (by Rosenberg Ranking). Astonished by what? By the man who wasn’t there. Where? In Paris, of course.

Yet other things about the recent performance of our old colleague from the University of Chicago continue to astonish, among them his inability to call Islamic terrorism what it is. As usual with Charles the conversation wanders in many correlated directions including:  the talent level of the President’s foreign policy advisors, the appalling consequences that followed from the stance announced way back in the Cairo speech and, probably essential for the rest of the century, the required policy for playing through the struggle with recidivist and homicidal Jihadism.

Returning to the francophilic mode…Ca va? Your opinions and reactions would be most welcome.


Architecture of the Absurd

With John Silber

That’s the title of a wonderfully outspoken book by John Silber who was, for many years, the President of Boston University. Architecture is, of course, the most public of the arts. You can put a bad painting in the basement but  not a bad building….and Silber, always an outspoken critic, finds many modern buildings that he would like to have torn down. In this discussion from 2008 He identifies and describes them and names the names of their designers, And to my mind, his judgments are absolutely correct!


Being Mindfull About the Mind

With David Finkelstein and David Hilbert

That can be said to be the basic assignment of psychologists, psychiatrists and, these days particularly, neuroscientists. But the original investigators of the human mind were those we now call philosophers. They are still at it and, using only mind itself, they sometimes clarify many issues and come upon many exciting prospects that one does not get from the more formally scientific investigators. Here then, from a conversation in 2006, are two accomplished and articulate “philosophers of mind” illuminating human mentality itself.


What Illegal Immigration (Even When “Legalized”) Costs the Mexicans

With Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson who is a fourth generation California rancher has long been concerned about the poor prospects that face the flood of Mexican illegal immigrants even if–or when–they attain legal status. In his book “Mexifornia,” which we discussed with him way back in 2003, he makes some worried predictions about the poor life prospects for over-indulged but under-educated young Mexicans who, even then , were crossing the border in vast numbers. Those predictions are apparently coming true some twelve years after he voiced them in this conversation.