If one is an atheist, it seems to me one of the major challenges is to counterbalance politics. Unless, of course, one also thinks that everything is politics; however, that way lies madness and no point in trying to argue in that case.
Now, I’m using atheism in a very broad sense. Buddhism and Confucianism are, to my way of thinking, religions and their adherents are not atheists. I’m also reminded that the Roman pagans sometimes thought Christians were atheists and that Socrates was sentenced to death for his impiety.
So, if one is an atheist but realizes the need to counterbalance politics, where will one find the counterbalance? A recent interview with Camilla Paglia gives one common answer: art or culture in general. I don’t think that works; nevertheless I admire at least the recognition that there does need to be some sort of major counterbalance to politics. I also note that Paglia has a new collection of essays out: Provocations: Collected Essays on Art, Feminism, Politics, Sex, and Education.
I’m also reading Tony Esolen’s Nostaglia: Going Home in a Homeless World which I’ll post on soon and Tucker Carlson’s Ship of Fools, which is a quick read. Between the three of these books, and maybe throwing in something by Roger Scruton, I’m thinking a good bit about the essay form in general lately.