Monday, November 07, 2011

Ten Best Blogs (and a few other good ones)

I suppose I should really call this simply, "The Blogs I Read the Most." That doesn't necessarily entail that they are the best things going, just that they are good and happen to appeal to what interests me most in life right now. I am interested in religion (mostly from a cultural perspective), literature (mostly of the classic type), philosophy (mostly of the Aristotelian-Thomistic variety), and politics (I'm of a traditionalist conservative bent, but just keeping up with the current controversies determines what I like here, and am particularly interested in the cultural implications of religion and science), in roughly that order:

Arts & Letters Daily: Just three short article summaries (from other websites) with links, having to do with literature and culture. I will click on at least one article link on about every other post, which is a pretty high percentage for me.

3 Quarks Daily: I'm still not sure what the principle of selection is for this blog, but it has an amazing number of interesting article selections from the web on literature, science, and culture generally.

Ed Feser's Blog: Feser is an Aristotelian-Thomist philosopher from California who is, for my money, among the top two or three most formidable apologists for historic Christianity writing today.

Carpe Diem: The proprietor of this blog is Mark Perry, a conservative economist at the University of Michigan. Maybe it's Perry's perpetual optimism that drives be to this blog again and again. Or maybe its the excellent graphs he uses to show current economic trends. In any case, his posts are short and informative, and always give you some great piece of information the left-wingers don't want you to know.

First Things: On the Square: Years ago, I read National Review cover to cover. That was back when it had as much of a cultural focus as a policy and political focus. These days it is First Things magazine, which covers religion and culture, that I read cover to cover. It is the best thing going. The blog is great too.

The Art of Manliness: This is a partly (but only partly) tongue-in-cheek blog that discusses the way men should behave. It alternately informs and entertains--sometimes both. I learned how to properly cut a Thanksgiving turkey from this site, discovered a great adventure author from a post about great books for boys, discovered several easy-to-fix man meals for when the little woman was away, and proper table etiquette for social occasions. Every article will have you chuckling because the funny take it has on some common issue you didn't realize before reading it that you really did need to know more about. Oh, and then there is the "Mustache Style Guide," and "How to Break Down a Door: An Illustrated Guide." You gotta love it.

Atlantic Wire: This is the blog of Atlantic Magazine. Atlantic has the best bead on cultural trends of any publication I have seen. Articles like "The End of Men," and the recent "What Me Marry?" don't always have the best prescriptions (in fact, they often have the wrong prescriptions), but they always have a great bead on the problem and include a wealth of interesting angles on cultural problems. This same nose for the latest thing characterizes the blog, which also has very comprehensive coverage of cultural and political events and trends.

Cranach: The Blog of Veith: Gene Edward Veith is a Lutheran academic who is currently the Dean of Academics at Patrick Henry College. A prolific and insightful writer, he always seems to be onto some article or issue which you won't find anywhere else.

Insight The two best Catholic blogs on the net. Insight Scoop is the blog of Ignatius Press, the most significant (and traditional) Catholic publisher in the United States. Carl Olson does a great job informing readers of new books and cultural trends of interest to Catholics. is a great source of current events having to do with cultural and politics from a Catholic perspective. Well written too.


Best Education Blog: CiRCE Institute: An organization devoted to promoting classical Christian education. Run by Andrew Kern and his son David, who also write for it, you will find insights on education that no one else is making.

Worst Philosophy BlogWhy Evolution is True: Atheist Jerry Coyne, a biologist at the University of Minnesota is not a philosopher, a fact of which he seems entirely unaware, but which is evident to any moderately conscious reader from his numerous attempts to impugn theism. It has all the entertainment value of watching a guy fire a gun the barrel of which has been bent back to point at the person firing it (in a Bugs Bunny sort of way). Watch the intrepid Jerry as he confuses empiricism and rationality, misstates the cosmological argument for the existence of God, and mistakes ad hominem attacks for legitimate arguments. You can get an extra bonus whenever Ed Feser, tiring of the silliness, swats him down every couple months. It's sort of like watching somebody with good aim at the dunking booth at the fair.

Best Conservative Kentucky Political Blog (besides mine, of course): Bluegrass Bulletin: Marc Carey runs this blog which sports the best take on political events in Kentucky from a conservative perspective. He also runs great political cartoons.

Best Agrarian Blog: Front Porch Republic: Run (at least in part, I'm not sure) by Jeremy Beers, formerly the head of ISI Books, my favorite book publisher. Great articles from an agrarian, Distributist perspective on culture, economics, and politics.

Best Thomist Blog: Just Thomism: Okay, let's face it: There was not a lot to choose from here. But James Chastek's blog on Thomist philosophy is really excellent. You've got to pay attention here, though, this is heavy stuff. Thomists have the most complete and explanatory world view. Everything has a place. And Chastek talks about, well, just about anything. 

Best ... Well, I'm Not Sure, But I Wanted to Mention This Blog Anyway: Mere Comments: The blog of Touchstone magazine, which is up there with First Things, Modern Age, The Intercollegiate Review, and The New Criterion for best cultural journals, but written at a slightly more popular level. Anthony Esolen's articles are worth the price of the subscription. Esolen writes for the blog too and so do several Touchstone editors and authors.

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