I'm not entirely sure the point being made in "No Enemies to the Left." It seems that there's a confusion between subject and object. The subject, "the Left," are those "more progressive elements" that really seem to be in control of where things are going for the Left generally. Like the phrase suggests, they have no enemies to their Left. People like Yglesias are to their right when they disagree with any part of the Revolution. Thus, "no enemies to the left."

Expand full comment

"This article is an example of why the Financial Times is the world’s best English language newspaper today..."

Disagree. The Epoch Times is the best. I've been a subscriber to both FT and Epoch. I am still a subscriber to the latter.

Expand full comment

Sebastian Milbank has a reasonably perceptive piece on the "manosphere," if a bit light on a concrete actionable agenda:


Key point about Mormonism: as a red-state outgrowth of the communitarian Yankee Empire (cf. David Hackett Fischer), it is very different from 'Scots-Irish' and Southern conservatism. Cf. Utah's pragmatic compromises on gay rights and immigration.



Don't tell anyone, but archive.ph gets pasta a lot of paywalls.

Expand full comment

That's an interesting perspective on Mormon life, and definitely more appealing than a discussion about their rites and theology. But you've got to figure they're doing something well enough to hold onto so many folks. Years ago, they promoted their family values, I suspect today promoting a strong community would be well received.

I recently got to visit Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, one of the main Shaker settlements. A couple centuries ago, America was full of all sorts of communal experiments. I even went to church with a guy who grew up in a secular commune in Oregon, and there are still a few Christian ones around, though hardly thriving. It's impressive to consider how the Mormons have managed to keep their vision for frontier-style communalism, as Kirn put it.

Expand full comment
Sep 5, 2023Liked by Aaron M. Renn

This is a good thought that isn't brought up often enough. What happened to communal projects? Notably, the Israeli Kibbutz were also among the secular socialist communal experiments.

In the decline of these experiments, it's hard to see anything but decadence, of the sort that Douthat has been writing about. No one wants to start such an experiment in part because we all know how it will end -- the radical optimism needed to get such a project off the ground is in very short supply. This represents a constraining of the frontier of what was once thought possible for human beings to achieve.

On the one hand, we could call the rejection of the Marxian New Man to be a sort of wisdom, if Marxian influences weren't still all around us. No one wants to come out and say the New Man is a fiction, and in ideas like "abolish the police" and "abolish the prisons", it's still hinted at. But the lack of new socialist communal experiments would seem to suggest that the 21st-century socialist doesn't have nearly the same confidence in the notion as his 19th and early-20th-century forebears.

Expand full comment

Good observation - we are out of utopian experiments these days.

Expand full comment
Sep 1, 2023Liked by Aaron M. Renn

I’d second Aaron’s comments on the Financial Times and add that an OUS perspective provides a helpful triangulation point. Re cost: my weekend edition subscription (Saturday paper delivery) is $33/quarter and provides full access to FT.com.

Expand full comment

As a Latter-day Saint, I can relate to what Kirn wrote. I often don't appreciate how much community and sociality we have that many other Americans simply do not have access to. And of course, even what we have now is just a watered down version of what almost everyone used to have.

Expand full comment

"The only time he really dings them is when they deserve it, such as for corny song lyrics like “God’s love is big / God’s love is great / God’s love is fab / And he’s my mate.”"

In fairness to Innes et al. that was the kids' song that day, the article makes it sound like one of the main hymns.

But the tradition of a "kids song" before the kids head out for Sunday school is one that I wish would die already because they really are corny...

Expand full comment

I can't say I've ever experienced this tradition. Is it mainly a British thing?

More common in my experience, though not universal (and not done at my current church), is the pastor's teaching moment with the kids. I've got mixed thoughts on those, but I also haven't been to one with a kid of age to potentially benefit from it.

Expand full comment

Lots of Presbyterian churches even in the US have some variation of a kid's time. A lot of PCUSA churches seem to have a children's sermon, which is typically very corny. My church in NYC made this a prayer with children, which I think works better with modern sensibilities.

Expand full comment

Yeah, a standard service when I was growing up often started:




Children's talk

Children's song

Children leave for Sunday school

Rest of the service

Or something along those lines. Thankfully our church doesn't do the kids' song.

Expand full comment