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Tag: Walter Russell Mead

The Feast of the Epiphany

Sunday, 6 January, 2019

“How Real Is The Meaning?” That was the question posed by Walter Russell Mead some years ago in a meditation on the Feast of the Epiphany. Taking as his starting point the Biblical account of the Three Kings who brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to Bethlehem, Mead went on a long journey into a meaning that’s centered on this question: How much of the Christmas story is “real” and how much of both this story — and ultimately the entire record of the Scriptures — is historically accurate? It’s all very apt for today’s Feast of the Epiphany. Mead’s conclusion:

“The wise men who followed the star were led to the center of all things. They did not understand the difference between astronomy and astrology as well as we do, but they used what they knew to get to where they needed to be.

It was enough for them, and people today can still do the same thing. We can follow the light we have to the center of all things, to a place that both shepherds and scholars can find, and when we arrive, like both the shepherds and the wise men, we will find that it has what we need.”

Painting: The Adoration of the Magi is an early work by Hieronymus Bosch. The painting was thoroughly investigated by The Bosch Research and Conservation Project and an analysis revealed a palette consisting of the typical pigments employed in the Renaissance period, such as azurite, lead-tin yellow, carmine and gold leaf.

The Magi


Trump: the candidate of Control-Alt-Delete

Wednesday, 25 May, 2016 0 Comments

On Sunday, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal presidential election poll put Donald Trump at 43 percent and Hillary Clinton at 46 percent, but an ABC News/Washington Post poll published the same day saw Trump at 46 percent and Clinton at 44 percent. To understand what’s going on, a reading of “The Meaning of Mr. Trump” by Walter Russell Mead is very highly recommended. Snippet:

“What makes Trump so appealing to so many voters is that the establishment does seem unusually clueless these days. The great American post-Cold War project of seeking peace and security through the construction of a New World Order based on liberal internationalism and American power doesn’t seem to be working very well, and it’s not hard to conclude that neither the neoconservatives nor the Obama-ites really know what they are doing. When it comes to the economy, it’s been clear since the financial crisis of 2008 that something is badly awry and that the economists, so dogmatic and opinionated and so bitterly divided into quarreling schools, aren’t sure how the system works anymore, and have no real ideas about how to make the world system work to the benefit of ordinary voters in the United States. With the PC crowd and the Obama administration hammering away at transgender bathroom rights as if this was the great moral cause of our time, and with campus Pure Thought advocates collapsing into self parody even as an epidemic of drug abuse and family breakdown relentlessly corrodes the foundations of American social cohesion, it’s hard to believe that the establishment has a solid grip on the moral principles and priorities a society like ours needs.”

This summary of Trump is classic: “He is the candidate of Control-Alt-Delete.” Mead accepts that the Trump movement is not the answer to the myriad problems facing the US, but he’s on they money when he sees the rage that’s powering it as a vibrant expression of democracy: “The tailors are frauds and the emperor is not in fact wearing any clothes: it is a good sign and not a bad sign that so many Americans are willing to say so out loud.” This is going to be a pivotal election, and not just for the US.

Real Clear Politics


Vietnam falls to McDonald’s; threat of war with China to recede

Thursday, 18 July, 2013 0 Comments

Loved this bit in the Wall Street Journal report about the news that McDonald’s is to open its first outlet in Vietnam: “The company said it had chosen Henry Nguyen, a Vietnamese-American investor and the son-in-law of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, as its main franchise partner in the country, based on a ‘rigorous’ selection process.” The ‘rigorous’ there is priceless.

It was Thomas Friedman, star columnist with the New York Times, who first suggested “The Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention,” namely: No two countries with McDonald’s in them will ever go to war. In other words, if you have a middle class big enough to support burger franchises, Friedman’s theory goes, war is a thing of the past. So, when Hanoi and Beijing have their Golden Arches, that bit of bother in the South China Sea will ebb. However, writing in July last year, Walter Russell Mead cast a critical eye on the theory in “Pakistani Burger Joints Put McDonald’s Theory To The Test“. Read the whole thing.

On Saturday, by the way, Thomas Friedman will be 60.


Gentry Liberals

Monday, 22 April, 2013 0 Comments

Congratulations to Walter Russell Mead for coining the term “Gentry Liberals” in response to the latest screed by Maureen Dowd of the New York Times. For Dowd, and all the Dowdian clones out there, Mead offers this observation:

“Column writing is dangerous work and long success in the game can lead to the stifling of that Editor Within who keeps you from looking too stupid in print. A rich self esteem, fortifed by decades of op-ed tenure and dinner party table talk dominance, has apparently given Ms. Dowd the confidence to believe that she is a maestro of political infighting, a Clausewitz of strategic insight and a Machiavelli of political cunning rolled up into one stylish and elegant piece of work. From the heights of insight on which she dwells, it is easy to see what that poor schmuck Barry Obama can’t: those 60 votes on gun control were his for the taking, if he was only as shrewd a politician as Maureen Dowd.”

Gentry liberals, according to alter Russell Mead, “desperately want politics to be clean, to be about the ‘issues.’ And they yearn for their heroes to eschew all those nasty tricks of machine politicians.” The reality of politics is different. And so is the reality of life.


Northern and southern Europe are different places

Thursday, 29 December, 2011

Some of the best commentary on Europe and the euro this year has come from the keyboard of Walter Russell Mead. This week’s column is titled Europe Is Still Hip Deep In The Bad Stuff and here’s the money quote: “But if Europe dodged the charge of an angry bear last month, it is still […]

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