Jack Donovan in his book Becoming a Barbarian has a chapter titled “The Empire of Nothing.” In it he offers a compelling critique of our current political and cultural milieu. In fact, he argues that it isn’t so much a culture that is being forwarded but an anticulture where there is no “Emperor, no center and no people.” Instead, the Empire of Nothing is a collection of businesses and institutions that have aligned against identity in some vague hope of “progress.”

We have all seen them. Perhaps you are one of them, one of those peculiar individuals we see driving down the road in their own car all by themselves wearing a facemask to combat the Coronavirus. Of course, we know the benefits of wearing a face mask in public. In some places it is not only suggested but required, not only for employees of essential businesses but those who choose to use those businesses as well. But alone in the car seems to be a bizarre and unreflective take on things.

They said it was for our best interest. They said that it was how we demonstrated love for our neighbor, especially those weaker than us. Not to mention, it was the law of the land, it was what was expected, it ought to be obeyed for the general welfare of all. So with a particular American piety and sense of righteousness, the 18th Amendment banned the manufacture, transportation and sale of intoxicating liquors. It brought to this great country the long-forgotten era known as prohibition.

By Tim Winterstein

I’m not proud of it, but Alfred Hitchcock is one of the gaps in my film self-education. It’s sort of like those classic books of the Western canon I always tell myself I’ll get around to. I’ve got good intentions to read more Dostoevsky or Greek dramas or Moby Dick or Les Misérables… well, they look good on my shelf, at least. So I finally watched Vertigo last year, and now Rear Window. Rope and North by Northwest are next. (I know, I know. By the way, have you all seen these great new shows, Breaking Bad and Justified?)

By Graham Glover

I’ve been thinking about it for almost 22 years. Sometimes it’s simply a fleeting thought. Other times it preoccupies an inordinate amount of my day. Making this jump – taking this plunge, is something I’ve considered my entire adult life. And now I’m ready. After a long journey of vacillating, I’m really going to do it. I’ve spent countless hours researching every conceivable reason why I should and even more why I shouldn’t. I’ve analyzed copious amounts of data, including primary and secondary sources, as well as scathing critiques of them all. I’ve carefully deliberated what my decision will mean, both immediately and in the long term. But it’s not just my decision. It’s a family decision, because my decision will affect them all. It’s no wonder then that my wife has been instrumental in leading me to this point. You might even say she is the one who pushed me over the top – the one who gave me the final bit of encouragement I needed.

By Paul Koch

Last taco Tuesday, I sat next to my buddy Tim at our usual spot. Televisions surrounded us above the bar and throughout the whole cantina. Almost all of them had some sort of sports on display from the LA Dodgers to the beginning of NFL training camps to just about anything you might find amusement in (even the terrible game of soccer). But every once and a while, a particular TV will stream the daily news that exists outside of the sports world as a sort of reprieve from the rest of the familiar storylines.