The Corner

A Pagan Writes

“Moynihan’s comment is b.s. Read Tacitus on the pagans.

“The northern pagans’ moral standards, particularly in regard to monogamy and marriage, were in fact higher and more worthy of respect than the Romans’ standards. Expecting the empire that gave the world Caligula and the empress Theodora to raise one’s moral standards is like expecting fiscal prudence from the Bush administration.”

“Yours for the Pagan Anti-Defamation League,”

I must say, I am a bit skeptical about attributing cultural continuities across 2,000 years. The Swedes of a mere 1,200 years ago, after all, were the fierce and warlike Vikings — not the least bit like the mild-mannered pacifist Swedes of today.

And yes; having recently re-watched the BBC-TV production of “I, Claudius,”

Roman standards of sexual restraint and modesty did indeed leave something to be desired.

The missing data points here are the pre-welfare-state Scandinavians. My own knowledge is sketchy — vague recollections of Ibsen and Strindberg, and Stubhaug’s biography of Sophus Lie, which I read a few weeks ago; on that basis, though, they seem to have been pretty bourgeois and strait-laced.

Most Popular


The Media Fell for Elizabeth Warren’s Spin

Do you want to know what media bias looks like? Earlier today, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren released DNA test results that confirmed that she misled employers, students, and the public about her Native American heritage for years. Bizarrely, all too many members of the media treated the results as ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The World Keeps Not Ending

We were not supposed to have made it this far. George Orwell saw night descending on us in 1984. Orwell was, on paper, a radical, but in his heart he was an old-fashioned English liberal. He dreamed of socialism but feared socialists. He feared them because he knew them. I was in the sixth grade in 1984, but I ... Read More