An Ironic Folly

On the Divine Wisdom of Tilting at Windmills

by Anthony Esolen

You’ve always considered yourself blessed with a fine sense of humor. But now, dragooned into a museum of art, you stand before a room full of commodes, and all you do is furrow your brow. “You don’t appreciate the irony,” your learned companion explains.

“Postmodern irony” they call it nowadays, and say it’s a laugh at the pretense of modernity to explain the universe by a single totalizing system or idea: industry, science, sexual repression, Communism, whatever. Some Christians go along, believing that the small nasty demon who tweaks the nose of the big nasty demon can’t be so . . .

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Anthony Esolen is a professor and writer-in-residence at Magdalene College of the Liberal Arts in Warner, New Hampshire. His many books include Sex in the Unreal City: The Demolition of the Western Mind, Life Under Compulsion: Ten Ways to Destroy the Humanity of Your Child, Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture, and The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord. He is a regular contributor to Chronicles, Crisis Magazine, The Claremont Review, Inside the Vatican Things, The Catholic Thing, and American Greatness. He has translated Dante's Divine Comedy. He is a Roman Catholic and lives with his wife in New Hampshire. He is a senior editor of Touchstone.

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