Liberal public opinion found it easier to accept the defections from the pro-Soviet cause than from the radical movement of the 1960s.
” The Bad Old Days
by Paul Hollander,
Capitalisms relentless erosion of proprietary institutions furnishes the clearest evidence of its incompatibility with anything that deserves the name of cultural conservatism. There is obviously a good deal to be said, from a conservative point of view, for the institution of private property . . . . Twentieth-century capitalism, however, has replaced private property with a corporate form of property that confers none of these moral and cultural advantages. The transformation of artisans, farmers, and other small proprietors into wage-earners undermines the traditional values conservatives seek to preserve.
” Conservatism Against Itself
by Christopher Lasch,
A new chapter is now opening in Eastern Europe, but we should not be overly surprised if, as in Africa, the old ways soon reassert themselves. The things that people and governments say in the flush of sudden change may not correspond closely to the structures they elaborate with the passage of time. In the gray morning after the previous nights celebration old mental habits easily reappear, especially if vague but heady promises of better days are not soon realized.
” Eastern Europe: History Resumed
by Thomas Molnar,
Here is the crux of the problem. Evangelical and fundamentalist Christians find too little difficulty validating the Jewish right to the land of Israel on the basis of biblical promises. But the Vatican and the recent bishops statement err in the other direction . . . . It is not enough for the Catholic Church to take note of Jewish ties to the land that have deep biblical roots. If they have deep biblical roots, then the Church must also take these ties seriously, not only as something that Jews have but as something the Church must struggle with. That decision was made when the Church decided to make the Hebrew Bible its own.
” The Bishops and the Middle East
by Michael Wyschogrod,
There are no liberal neckties. At a conservative gathering one will generally find a smattering of Adam Smith neckties. In the back of conservative magazines, there are likely to be one-column advertisements for Tocqueville neckties, Madison neckties, even Burke neckties . . . . When liberal essayist Robert Reich summarizes a conservative policy in his collection of essays The Resurgent Liberal and Other Unfashionable Prophesies , he invariably begins his account with its intellectual roots . . . . But when Reich subsequently sets out to revivify liberal ideology, he makes scant reference to what used to be called The Great Books. There is seemingly no one Mr. Reich can wear on his necktie.
” The Necktie Gap
by David Brooks,
If one is going to be a socialist, Michael Harringtons variety is perhaps the best kind to be. Before his premature death from cancer this past year, Harrington worked with Dorothy Day to help the poor in New York slums, wrote sixteen books, made a major impact on national policy by calling attention to the scandal of poverty in our midst by his The Other America, and brought hundreds of disenchanted old left leaders from the thirties and perhaps thousands more of the alienated new left activists from the sixties into the mainstream of democratic participation.
” Michael Harringtons Socialism
by Max L. Stackhouse,
In a recent conversation, a sociologist in Spain who has studied the great changes that have occurred in the Roman Catholic Church since the Second Vatican Council said something that struck me as very insightful. Christians who consider themselves progressives, he said, always tell us to read the signs of the times; has it never occurred to these people, he asked, that they might write some of these signs? At least in recent years, the stance of Christians (and by no means only Roman Catholics) in the face of the wisdom of the modern world has been largely passive, even supine”a reading rather than writing attitude.
The gospel was subjected to the judgment of this or that worldly standard; rarely did the reverse occur.
” Worldly Wisdom, Christian Foolishness
by Peter L. Berger,
During the public controversy over the film version of The Last Temptation, a conservative commentator snarled that Kazantzakis, in addition to being a disseminator of heresy, was hard left. True, he was hard left, but he was also hard right”and sometimes both at the same time . . . . The sheer comprehensiveness of his political error recalls the old joke about the bigot who denies any specific form of racial or ethnic bias. Im not prejudiced, he says, I hate everybody .
” A Man of Contradictions
by Matthew Berke,
Demons surface. For most people, demons surface in nightmares, but for us, for Jews, demons seem to surface in history. Pharaoh, Amalek, Nebuchadnezzar, Titus, Torquemada, Chmielnitsky, and Hitler were real demons. They killed real Jews. The night demons can be forgotten, but not the demons that remain when the morning breaks. These demons have changed something in the Jewish soul. I cannot say what the change is precisely, but it amounts to this at least: We Jews cannot fully trust the world again.
” The Demon in the Jewish Soul
by Marc Gellman,
I have since wondered if some of those writers of moral tales for youth knew just what they were doing. Even Louisa May Alcott”unquestionably a writer of substantial gifts”included puzzling things in her books.
Think of Little Men, which I read with avidity. One of the little men is a boy called Ned, and he is a boy of wavering moral character; but at Plumstead School he comes under the influence of Professor Bhaer, a German pedagogue who has an unusual method of discipline. When Ned is naughty, the Professor does not punish him; oh, no”the Professor makes Ned strike him on the hands with the cane, as hard as he can, until Ned is reduced to tears, because he dearly loves and admires the Professor.
Even as a boy, I thought there was something decidedly kinky about the Professor.
” Literature and Moral Purpose
by Robertson Davies,
The theocratic or the Christocratic ways of representing the divine will for the public orders are both thoroughly reprehensible, though they are always temptations for true believers who deplore the secularization of life and wish to put God back into the naked public square.
We must, therefore, oppose the current efforts to re-Christianize the public orders and to legislate the will of the churched upon the unchurched, as though Christians have a special revelation for the political and social conditions of life today.
” God in Public Life
by Carl E. Braaten,
Christians cannot be genuinely faithful to their covenantal commitment by regarding themselves as essentially Jewish derivatives. And Jews cannot remain genuinely faithful to their covenantal commitment by regarding themselves as essentially proto-Christians. The view of accommodationism is one that is only theological, taking theology in the strictest sense, namely, without the incorporation of philosophical and historical perspectives.
” A Jewish Theological Understanding of Christianity in Our Time
by David Novak,
The churches sponsored higher education before there were any state-sponsored colleges or universities; indeed, before there were states. For most of the history of the nation those Christian foundations set the patterns and carried most, then much, of the enrollment. And now, out of that galaxy of institutions founded by believers so that faith could house and nurture learning, there are few”very few”that in any effective and outright way are confessional. There has been, from earliest times, a tendency toward alienation. And that tendency has been continually associated with a striving toward academic excellence on the part of the educators and a diffidence toward venturesome thinking (or at least expression) on the part of churchmen.
” The Decline and Fall of the Christian College
by James Tunstead Burtchaell,
There is a dubious link between genuine scholarship and such fashionable courses as peace studies, feminist literature, seminars in social activism, consciousness raising, semiotics, and a host of other current preoccupations. But since the argument could be made that these courses fall into the realm of curriculum enrichment, and since taxpayers and unwary parents appeared willing to pay for them, there was little resistance to their approval and implementation. But now the financial well is running dry, and a number of formerly sacred cows are coming under careful scrutiny.
” The Case for Educational Retrenchment
by Herbert London,
As every schoolchild knows, Christopher Columbus, a Genoese navigator, discovered America in 1492. Or perhaps it would be better to say that every schoolchild used to think these were the facts about the European arrival in these lands. For several years now, a chorus of voices (growing larger and louder as we approach the 500th anniversary of Columbus voyage in 1992) has assaulted every certainty, except the date, about the Columbus story.
” 1492 and All That
by Robert Royal,
Landmarking a building for its historic or cultural value stretches the police power beyond its traditional limits of protecting public health and safety, and then stretches it still further. Landmarking does not depend upon a plan that affects every parcel of property. It affects only those buildings that happen to be older than the statutory minimum age and that possess certain attributes, not previously identified, that led the members of a commission to designate them landmarks. That decision is inevitably more personal, less objective, than the mathematically expressible standards of a modern zoning law.
” Religion in the Unheavenly City
by Roger Starr,
Religion is communal, and for religious men and women, the challenge is not only to keep the faith for ourselves but also to hand it on to the next generation. Only with difficulty and imagination can we transmit our experiences to those after us who feel, think, and act differently than we do. For the task of handing on the faith, the warm heart is insufficient, as the parent who is born again or converted soon realizes when facing the task of religious instruction.
” The Christian Intellectual Tradition
by Robert Louis Wilken,
We would seem to have some use for moral guidance in our political economy, and that is what the popes offer us. Whether and to what extent we should accept it is a matter that we may discuss and debate in our political forums. But to reject it out of hand because it is morality and not economics is to fall back into the liberal individualism that is currently the greatest weakness of both our economic and political systems.
” The Popes and the Economy
by Francis Canavan,
In this scheme of things, tradition was always backward, always that which must be overcome. And in the putting down of tradition, it was women who were the losers, their generations-old streams of practical reason brought under pressure to succumb to the superior force of scientific management in all its guises”medicinal, educational, nutritional. That is a long, long story. My mother versus the scientific child-rearer was but one border skirmish in an extended and continuing war.
” My Mother, the Expert
by Jean Bethke Elshtain,
The News cant be fixed. There is something about daily publication, all by itself, that distorts reality. That is why the addiction to News that so many of us share has brought on a kind of stupidity. Our whole society shares this stupidity, and so we have a hard time recognizing it.
” Why the News Makes Us Dumb
by C. John Sommerville,
Jane Addams asked that women make the political a personal obligation. She would be appalled at the therapeutic society, at our reliance on officials and experts, and our insistence that the state take over the responsibilities she appropriated for Hull House. She maintained a deep suspicion of the overweening power of the state. Moreover, she saw feminism and militarism in opposition to one another. She would no doubt find it difficult to understand how militant feminists today want to send women to combat”especially to ship mothers who would otherwise be suckling their babes out to war.
” Tough-Minded Feminism
by Suzanne Fields,
Part of the problem facing Notre Dame is that there are people there who are embarrassed by the fact that it is a Catholic university and are working to hasten the day when it no longer is. But it is not actually these who pose the greatest threat to the Catholic identity of the University. The real danger comes from a much larger group of persons who believe that Notre Dame can strive for ever-higher standards of academic excellence”and use the same criteria of excellence by which the best secular universities in the land are judged to be excellent”without forfeiting the Catholic character of the University.
” Can Notre Dame Be Saved?
by David W. Lutz,
The religion clause of the First Amendment, it is clear, not only saves citizens from the domination of uncongenial faiths, it spares churches the frustrations and embarrassments of courting the powerful. It also spares them from unkind turns of the wheel of history; unless, like Oxnams Methodists, they look for trouble. If all you want to do is change the world, what do you do when the world changes (mostly in ways you didnt anticipate)? G. Bromley Oxnam couldnt have said, and neither could his church, which is one reason why he is history, and it is no longer news.
” The Earnest Methodist
by Richard Brookhiser,
The intellectual hostility directed toward Catholicism seems at times to be only incidentally about Catholicism as such. It is true that Catholicism, or teachings rightly or wrongly ascribed to Catholicism, are frequently targeted with special venom. That criticism, however,
May be only part of a larger assault against a broader political and moral heritage, a heritage for which the Church just happens to be a particularly strong and articulate exponent in the modern world.
” The Catholic Public Servant
by James L. Buckley,
Contrary to popular American opinion, New Yorkers are by and large a gentle and long-suffering lot.
” Notes from Underground
by Midge Decter,
Natural law seems an unlikely topic for extensive television coverage, nor would one expect United States senators to develop high anxiety over the subject. Yet the confirmation hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas brought both of those improbable events to pass. Thomas and Senator Joseph Biden grappled repeatedly with the concept of natural law and its relation to constitutional law. The educational benefits, however, cannot be said to have been great, or even modest. Most commentators thought the subject remained murky.
” Natural Law and the Constitution
by Robert H. Bork,
One of the signs that a bureaucratic organization is in serious trouble is that its priorities become displaced from carrying out its original function to protecting the symbols, even if they have become largely meaningless, of its authority (as distinct from real power ).
Thus the endless empty rituals of the later Byzantine Empire or of the decayed Chinese Empire as portrayed in The Last Emperor. Thus also the insistence of American public education on its exclusive franchise on legitimacy even though millions of children attend nonpublic schools.
” Hairy Men and Smooth Men
by Charles L. Glenn,
During the climactic hours of the Communist fall, someone”Boris Yeltsin perhaps”observed that it was a pity that Marxists had not triumphed in some smaller country, because we would not have had to kill so many people to demonstrate that Utopia does not work. What more is there to say?
” Utopian Passions
by David Horowitz,
The good news about prime time . . . is that network television viewership has declined by 25 percent since 1980. One must hope that Hollywood will get the message”or else that viewership will continue to decline until it does. And one must hope, too, that artists on the other side of the culture war from those who currently dominate Hollywood will find opportunity there.
The question for the future is not whether Hollywood will again support the status quo or support authority but whether its offerings will continue to reflect and advance the moral shallowness”indeed the emptiness”of yuppie liberalism.
” TVs America
by Terry Eastland,
Jonathan Kozol has made a well-publicized and lucrative career as a professional outrage merchant, of which the present volume is but the latest example. Every few years, beginning in 1967 with Death at an Early Age, Kozol has brought forth another book exposing what he regards as some grave injustice of American society.
” The Education Reform Dodge
by Chester E. Finn Jr.,
To come to Jerusalem from Paris, or even Tel Aviv, is to succumb to the uncanny feeling that one has left the center of the West, or even its periphery, and delved into what used to be called the mysterious East.
” Letter from Jerusalem
by Werner J. Dannhauser,
Contrary to established opinion, the disagreement over abortion is not, at root, a legal one . . . . None of the various possible legal outcomes will settle the dispute or even ease the tensions between these two groups, because the abortion controversy is in its nature a cultural controversy. No matter what happens in courts and legislatures the abortion issue will not disappear until we somehow reach a greater consensus with respect to the standards of justice and goodness our communities will abide by.
” What Americans Really Think About Abortion
by James Davison Hunter,
I am a Catholic, but I married Protestant. My husband has steeped me in Protestant lore: Protestants get results. Protestants think ahead. Protestants save (Catholics spend). My Protestant in-laws had to endure our Catholic wedding, their faces rigid with polite distress as they took in the crucifix over the altar with its bleeding Christ and the candles flickering in front of the portrait of the dusky, brilliantly garbed Virgin of Guadalupe. In turn, I politely endure my mother-in-laws Protestant cooking: no garlic, no onions, no spices, no wine at the table. Catholics invented Côtes du Rhone and cannelloni; Protestants invented the airplane and the thirteen-week T-bill.
” The Protestant Ethos
by Charlotte Allen,
There is no such thing as a Christian method, or code, or set of rules that would apply to the whole realm of human life in order to tell us at each step what is the proper way to do things. There is a Christian behavior toward oneself, but Christianity will not tell you whether you should sleep on your back or on your stomach, or with which hand you should bathe yourself. There is a Christian way of playing ones part on the political scene, but there is no Christian politics, let alone a specifically Christian policy applicable to any given case. There is a Christian attitude toward man as a fellow citizen, but no Christian law.
” Christ, Culture & the New Europe
by Rémi Brague,
Roger Rosenblatt wants you to know that he has solved the abortion problem. Really. Hes written a whole book about it called Life Itself. Of course, the middle third of the book is just a summary of other peoples research on the history of abortion from the beginning of time, and there is one section at the back describing the results of some opinion polls and another section listing lots of books about abortion (although Rosenblatt doesnt actually discuss any of them). But altogether the book is nearly 200 pages long, so you know it must have some answers.
” Baby Talk
by Elizabeth Kristol,
It is difficult to imagine someone like Mariette Baptiste living today, in the wake of the sweeping changes and liberalizations of the post“Vatican II years. The spirituality of the convent depicted in Mariette in Ecstasy would be condemned by many in the Catholic Church today as psychologically unhealthy and preoccupied with personal salvation at the expense of social justice. And yet, despite the allegedly morbid tendencies of the preconciliar Church, it is hard not to feel that something has been lost in the process of change.
” Mystery and Desire
by Gregory Wolfe,
When we read every day of the affairs of some medieval institution”the papacy, the British Parliament, the rabbinate, or the Deir ul-Islam”we are looking into the Middle Ages.
” Back to Our Future
by Robin Darling Young,
Todays civil-rights orthodoxy is to denounce as racist ordinary peoples revulsion at behaviors among blacks that offend and threaten them, as well as policies such as affirmative action that strike them as basically unfair . . . .
What Booker T. Washington understood”something as true today as it is difficult to say out loud”is that attending to the sensibilities of whites is directly in the interest of blacks. Because we live in a democracy, we bear the burden of persuading our fellows of the worth of our claims upon them.
” Two Paths to Black Power
by Glenn C. Loury,
When my autistic daughter Abby was three years old she grabbed my finger one day and, whining cackee, cackee in a high, distorted voice, pulled me along the hall toward the pantry. Halfway down the hall she stopped. She turned and looked me in the eyes, for perhaps the first time in her life, and said, in a normal tone of voice, I used to say cracker. Abby is now thirty-six.
Nothing like that ever happened again. I have sometimes asked myself since whether it really could have happened. But it did. I can offer no interpretation of this event, nor even speculate on how or why it happened, nor do I believe that anyone else can explain this bizarre and mysterious incident.
” The Unfathomable Mystery of Autism
by Molly Finn,
It is a cliché that no counterrevolution is ever quite that, that the status quo ante is never fully restored. In the case of history, what will stand in the way of a full restoration of traditional history is not, as one might think, ideology; one can foresee a desire to return to a more objective and integrated, less divisive and self-interested history. What will be more difficult to restore is the methodology that is at the heart of that history. A generation of historians (by now, several generations as these are reckoned in academia) lack any training in that methodology. They may even lack the discipline”moral as well as professional”required for it.
” Tradition and Creativity in the Writing of History
by Gertrude Himmelfarb,
One arena in which the theory of the new class proved to be quite prophetic was in its prediction that cultural conflict would replace economic conflict as the dominant political fact of modern societies . . . . Animal-rights activists, anti-smoking crusaders, and euthanasia advocates share certain similarities, they argue. They must market their positions, assuming risks in the process. Although often critical of American society and its priorities, they must necessarily imitate the entrepreneurial character of that society if they are to succeed.
” The New Class Reconsidered
by Alan Wolfe,
What a happy slave”this Artificial Life! And our possessing this artificial life absolves us of guilt over our possessiveness . . . . As idol, artificial life is a dead sign, but the death it reflects is the spiritual death of its perpetrator and its patrons.
” The Inescapability of Metaphysics
by Marion Montgomery,
If Judaism is about covenant, then it is in equal measure about consent to obligations not all of which could ever pass muster before the bar of the individual moral conscience however situated or expanded. In our consent to the laws of our American polity, we accept much we disapprove of and dissent from. Nonetheless we consent and belong. The same is true of the Jewish polity.
” Judaism and Postmodernity
by Alan L. Mittleman,
We live at an odd moment. One mark of that oddness is the corruption of words that name important virtues. Diversity, for example, these days often turns out to be little more than a code word for intellectual gerrymandering, while tolerance appears largely as a synonym for trivialization and moral complacency.
” Taking Dialogue Seriously
by Roger Kimball,
Blasphemy is the derogation of God. To conceive of God apart from His holiness is intrinsically impossible. But to derogate God is precisely to deny His holiness. Therefore blasphemy is intrinsically impossible.
While Im not sure the syllogism above would withstand severe logical examination, it crystallizes my own more diffuse reflections on the failure of two well-established writers in two unusually inept and ugly books, Live From Golgotha , by Gore Vidal, and Jesus: A Life , by A.N. Wilson.
” Assassins of a Lesser God
by Paul V. Mankowski,
There is a state, twilit but real, somewhere between life and death. Those with terminal disease inhabit it. They are, for want of a better term, emigrants of the spirit. What citizenship they possess subtly shifts; the air about them somehow changes. They become alien in their own residency.
” Other Plans
by James Andrew Miller,
Despite a widespread impression to the contrary, creationism was not a traditional belief of nineteenth-century conservative Protestants or even of early twentieth-century fundamentalists.
” Ignorant Armies
by Mark A. Noll,
Throughout most of recorded history, theologians and philosophers have extolled propriety and correct social behavior as virtues akin to morality. It is chiefly in this century that they have come to regard etiquette as a dispensable frill, at best; at worse, they have denounced it as a sin. Hypocrisy is the damning label now attached to any polite inhibition that disguises a sincerely held opinion or restrains a righteous impulse for action.
But I would contend that obeisance to etiquette, far from being a weak and optional virtue, much less a sin, is the oldest social virtue, and an indispensable partner of morality. Rather than being the crowning touch of good behavior in the upper reaches of a stratified society, etiquette is civilizations first necessity.
” The Worlds Oldest Virtue
by Judith Martin,
For a believer to remain a mere child may add to his charm, but it deprives him of a prime lesson of adulthood: Orthodoxy is no servility; gratitude, no indignity.
” The Skimpole Syndrome
by Paul V. Mankowski,
Nor does it inspire much confidence in our guide [Lawrence Wright, in his book Saints & Sinners ] to note the superior air with which he recalls the snooty, pious, and sanctimonious Christians of his childhood in Dallas”which seems a pretty snooty, pious, and sanctimonious remark itself . . . . Only a man undergoing enlargement could show so little humility. It seems not to occur to Mr. Wright that a sneer is perhaps not the best starting point for a spiritual journey. Regarding with pity those superstitious types he has since outgrown, he fails to notice that, whatever their faults, they undertook a journey of faith long before he himself got around to it.
” A Modern Pilgrims Progress
by Matthew Scully,
The painful truth is that both liberals and conservatives have forgotten how to account for character and creed. They have ignored the fact that the fate of the moral order depends on the state of the soul.
” Crime and the Cure of the Soul
by Charles Colson,
One of the more controversial events in our cultural life this year has been the opening of Washingtons Holocaust Museum. The Holocaust was not an American tragedy, the arguments against the structure went; why give it Mall real estate that elevates its status in our history to that of the events recalled by the Smithsonian or the Washington Monument? The strongest case against the museums location, and one made by a group that included many Jews, was the case against the Americanization or federalization of the tragedy of a specific group.
” After Hell
by Amity Shlaes,
Historically, the birth of the rights of man is tied to a transformation of the conception of politics: Classical politics had attached itself to the promotion of the rules of life , whereas modern politics in its liberal version limits itself to establishing the rules of the game .
” The Languages of the Rights of Man
by Philippe Bénéton,
How did it happen that Europes intellectual elite came to be capable of flouting all rules of reason in the name of reason and of condoning the total contempt of morality in the name of a higher morality? . . . In their attitude toward Russian Communism, French intellectuals displayed an astonishing stubbornness for maintaining positions that flew in the face of all possible evidence.
” The Betrayal of the French Left
by Louis Dupre,
Americans tend to think about every social problem in terms of rights, a mode of thinking we find convenient and comfortable. And few rallying cries or slogans have been more appealing and seductive than that of the right to die. Few are also more fuzzy, more misleading, and more misunderstood.
” Right to Die”Good Slogan, Fuzzy Thinking
by Yale Kamisar,
The tendency to invest in population theories with an almost religious zeal”as well as to harness them to the service of political movements buoyed by public hysteria”might be considerably reduced if there actually were a body of knowledge demonstrably capable of explaining population change or of connecting this change predictively with various determinants or consequences. Unfortunately, such an understanding of the process of population change does not exist.
” Population Policy: Ideology as Science
by Nicholas Eberstadt,
If any further proof were needed that the Woodstock generation has taken over the federal government, President Clintons AIDS Czar, Kristine Gebbie, gave a speech a few months ago at a conference on teen pregnancy that should put the matter to rest . . . . Now, as we all know, over the past thirty years this nation, and the entire West, have been through something aptly named the sexual revolution. Centuries-old codes of morals and manners have been overturned. We have become a society drenched in sex and sexual themes . . . . In the wake of this revolution, what is Miss Gebbies reform agenda? That we should stop being such a repressed, Victorian society.
” Woodstock Comes to Washington
by Gary Bauer,
Many of Mordecai M. Kaplans contemporaries and students”he had plenty of both over the 102 years of his life”considered him a brilliant religious thinker, perhaps the greatest that American Judaism has produced. Anyone today who struggles through Kaplans ponderous prose setting forth such banal and simplistic propositions as that Judaism is a civilization rather than a religion, that American Jews live in two civilizations, that the Jewish religious system is a collection of folkways, and that God is an idea rather than a personality must wonder what all the fuss is about.
” The Limits of Reconstruction
by Lawrence Grossman,
For most people marriage and family is the most important project in their lives. For it they have made sacrifices beyond numbering; they want to be succeeded in an ongoing, shared history by children and grandchildren; they want to transmit to their children the beliefs that have claimed their hearts and minds. They should be supported in that attempt.
” The Homosexual Movement
by the Ramsey Colloquium,
The question of how Christians talk the talk in American public life will not go away, because it cannot go away; this is a fact of demographics, as well as a reflection of the nations historic cultural core. For the foreseeable future the United States will remain at one and the same time a democracy, a deeply religious society, and a vibrantly, gloriously, maddeningly, and, in some respects, depressingly diverse culture.
” Christian Conviction & Democratic Etiquette
by George Weigel,
Such works as The Lonely Crowd and The Organization Man contributed immeasurably to the tenacious image we have of the fifties as an era of torpid complacency and other-directed conformity. But that image is, of course, far from being the whole truth, especially about the intellectual ferment of those years.
” The Hipster and the Organization Man
by Wilfred M. McClay,
Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human beings entitlement by virtue of his humanity. The right to life does not depend, and must not be declared to be contingent, on the pleasure of anyone else, not even a parent or a sovereign.
” Recalling America
by Mother Teresa,
Many people now regard a fertilized egg as sacred life, entitled to all the protection we can afford it. I have no quarrel with them. Other people regard an embryo in the early weeks of pregnancy as not deserving of unqualified protection because, before we feel it to be human, we feel an obligation to spare the human-that-is-to-be unnecessary pain. I have no quarrel with them. My quarrel is with those women who, knowing that they carry within them life by anyones definition, refuse to confront that fact, insist on pulling the veil of self-regarding ignorance over what they bear, and abort because they are endowed with rights that trump all other rights and interests.
” Abortion Facts and Feelings
by James Q. Wilson,
The distortions that result from the efforts of activists, aided and abetted by the press, dramatize and simplify the issues with the clear purpose of persuading Americans to embrace one or another unambiguous position”to declare themselves for or against choice, for or against life.
” Culture Wars, Shooting Wars
by Elizabeth Fox-Genovese,
For three centuries, modernity has been supremely fruitful in its practical discoveries”in, for example, its magnificent institutions of political and economic liberty. But it has been spectacularly wrong in its underlying philosophy of life. An age wrong about God is almost certain to be wrong about man.
” Awakening from Nihilism
by Michael Novak,
It is one of the remarkable features of human existence how things wondrous and awesome become familiar and banal, how we live in the world complacently and self-satisfiedly blind to its marvels. Such sightless trust is in some respects helpful, in some respects harmful, but it is nonetheless eerie how much of our lives are lived within this unknowing familiarity.
” Educating Father Abraham
by Leon R. Kass,
I am personally opposed to killing abortionists. However, inasmuch as my personal opposition to this practice is rooted in a sectarian (Catholic) religious belief in the sanctity of human life, I am unwilling to impose it on others who may, as a matter of conscience, take a different view.
Of course, I am entirely in favor of policies aimed at removing the root causes of violence against abortionists. Indeed, I would go so far as to support mandatory one-week waiting periods, and even nonjudgmental counseling, for people who are contemplating the choice of killing an abortionist. I believe in policies that reduce the urgent need some people feel to kill abortionists while, at the same time, respecting the rights of conscience of my fellow citizens who believe that the killing of abortionists is sometimes a tragic necessity”not a good, but a lesser evil. In short, I am moderately pro-choice.
” Killing Abortionists: A Symposium
by Robert P. George,
To be consistently pro-life”in ethics and action”one has to be against capital punishment and war and all other forms of violence, including murder. The killing of an abortionist makes one the mirror image of the abortionist. I am not an absolute pacifist. If the only way to defend one of my children would be by force, I would do that”and be inconsistent. But that is not an ideological act of violence. Ideological acts of violence ultimately lead to more and more murders. And in this case, the killings have weakened the pro-life movement, thereby resulting in the state giving more support to the abortion clinic”increasing the number of abortions.
” Killing Abortionists: A Symposium
by Nat Hentoff,
We do not possess the truth in the sense of owning it or having it at our service. It is precisely our commitment to the truth that is always beyond our secure apprehension that requires us to respect those who offer alternative accounts of the truth, both within the Church as well as outside. In other words, tolerance is not against the truth; it is the truth that makes tolerance imperative.
” Christianity and the West
by Wolfhart Pannenberg,
In future histories of popular culture, The Giving Tree will be seen as a period piece”a nursery tale for the me generation, a primer of narcissism, a catechism of exploitation. It will be catalogued with pop hits like I want it all, and I want it now.
” The Giving Tree
by Mary Ann Glendon,
What natural-law theory essentially opposes is the notion that moral law is subjective, evolutionary, pragmatic, or existential. What it excludes is a distillation of moral law from the transcendent supernatural, that is, from divine revelation. What it affirms is that all human beings share a set of ethical norms and imperatives that they commonly perceive without dependence on supernatural disclosure and illumination.
” Natural Law and a Nihilistic Culture
by Carl F.H. Henry,
It might seem perverse for honestly religious people to group their faiths with those of the sadists and megalomaniacs who run most cults, but a growing number are doing just that. A substantial sector of religious America, for example, sees the firefight in Waco as an attack on radical religion and places the cutting edge of religious freedom in the defense of cults free exercise rights.
” The Scent of a Cult
by Benjamin Wittes,
At one extreme, there are Jews who seem to hear flutterings of the messianic dove, afraid only that peace-wreckers may drive it away. At the other extreme there are those who fear that catastrophe may overtake redemption, that the state itself, the very beginning of the growth of that redemption, has been placed in jeopardy.
” The Zionist Imperative
by Emil L. Fackenheim,
It cannot be an accident, or a mere concurrence of countless misperceptions, if, after thousands of years, people of different epochs and cultures feel that they are somehow parts and partakers of the same integral Being”carrying within themselves a piece of the infinity of that Being”whose very relative aspects are not just categories of space and time, but of matter and consciousness as well. I do not believe it is merely by chance that all cultures assume the existence of something that might be called the Memory of Being, in which everything is constantly recorded, and that they assume the related existence of supra-personal authorities or principles that not only transcend man but to which he constantly relates, and which are the sole, final explanation of a phenomenon as particular as human responsibility.
” Forgetting We Are Not God
by Vaclav Havel,
It is not mere nostalgia that induces my regret over the erosion”at both ends of the theological spectrum”of Lutheran distinctiveness. The only point of remaining Lutheran in an ecumenical age is if one believes that Lutheranism has something of continuing value to offer within the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.
Confessional Lutherans rightly insist on the centrality of the doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. That is the touchstone of the Reformation heritage, and Lutherans who depart from it have forsaken their reason for being Lutheran in the first place.
” Lutheran Blues
by James Nuechterlein,
The prosecutors and the judge repeatedly insisted that the government is not on trial here. Sara Bain and other jurors evidently thought it should have been.
” Waco: A Massacre and Its Aftermath
by Dean M. Kelley,
The unhappy truth is that rejection of orthodoxy has become a nearly inevitable phase in adolescent development; the happy sequel is that many people work their way back to church or synagogue through excursions into the New Age or other alternative religions. After all, how long can one dally with pastel-and-pink Aquarian cherubim before longing for an encounter with Gabriels stately beauty? . . . Everyone hungers for real spiritual food; it is our job to make it available.
” The Strange Shipwreck of Robinson Crusoe
by Philip Zaleski,
Late one night, as I viewed an abortion slide, my youngest child, then a sleepy three-year-old, unexpectedly entered the room. I heard his sharp intake of breath as he saw the body of a three-month-old, dismembered by a D & C abortion. With great sadness in his voice he asked, Who broke the baby? Here was a child too young to have his sight clouded by semantic subterfuge, and, with a wisdom that often escapes the learned, he could mentally assemble the body parts and call what he saw a broken baby.
” Who Broke the Baby?
by Jean Garton,
In these days when the satisfaction of human wants is taken to be the only important activity, those who devise our systems of education are apt to find a place for all that I have called play only if they can regard it as work of another sort. In this situation, generations may be deprived of that acquaintance with the activities of Homo ludens that was once thought to be the better part of education.
” Work and Play
by Michael Oakeshott,
This is not faiths difficult search for understanding but understandings impossible search for faith. And all that remains for the poet is a delicate, aesthetic, self-conscious almost-spirituality”a detached and wistful watching of himself, watching himself, watching.
” What T.S. Eliot Almost Believed
by Joseph Bottum,
It has become fashionable in some circles to argue that science is ultimately a sham, that we scientists read order into nature, not out of nature, and that the laws of physics are our laws, not natures. I believe this is arrant nonsense. You would be hard-pressed to convince a physicist that Newtons inverse square law of gravitation is a purely cultural concoction. The laws of physics, I submit, really exist in the world out there, and the job of the scientist is to uncover them, not invent them.
” Physics and the Mind of God
by Paul Davies,
Armed to the hilt by Iran, Iraq, China, and others, Khartoum declared a jihad against the south. The result has been the escalation of one of our centurys greatest human tragedies. No southerner, it seems, has been exempt from its horrors. Women have been raped by the tens of thousands, their children torn from their arms and compelled to convert to Islam. Young men have been kidnapped and forced to fight against loved ones. Entire villages and towns have been burned to the ground, their people burned alive or taken into slavery.
” Murder in the Sudan
by Paul H. Liben,
Historicism forms a barrier between us and the understanding of time that defined the Judaic and the Christian encounter with God through the Scriptures of ancient Israel. The givenness of the barrier between time now and time then yields for us banalities about anachronism, on the one side, and imposes upon us the requirement of mediating between historical fact and religious truth, on the other.
” The Conundrum of Historical Consciousness
by Jacob Neusner,
Roger Penrose, the Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at Oxford, has gone a long way toward burying materialism, which is remarkable since Penrose is apparently a materialist himself.
” The Atheism of the Gaps
by Stephen M. Barr,
Culture , for modern scholars (and also in colloquial use), has nothing to do with Matthew Arnolds deployment of universal standards of reason and taste to identify the best which has been thought and said in the world. Todays advocates of multiculturalism uphold rival propositions: that there are many cultures, that Western standards are invalid for understanding non-Western cultures, that all truths are ideological, and that cultures should therefore be placed on a roughly equal plane.
” The Crimes of Christopher Columbus
by Dinesh DSouza,
The poetry of the Psalms, like any great poetry, is nicely adjusted to the formal conventions of its own medium, and when these are ignored in the interests of dynamic equivalence, a certain amount of fine focus is lost. In the semantic parallelism, for example, that generally obtains between the two halves of a line of biblical verse, there is often an intensification of meaning accompanied by a miniature narrative development.
” Retuning the Psalms
by Robert Alter,
Fathi ash-Shiqaqi, a well-educated young Palestinian living in Damascus, recently boasted of his familiarity with European literature. He told an interviewer how he had read and enjoyed Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, Chekhov, Sartre, and Eliot. He spoke of his particular passion for Sophocles Oedipus Rex , a work he read ten times in English translation and each time wept bitterly. Such acquaintance with world literature and such exquisite sensibility would not be of note except for two points”that Shiqaqi was, until his assassination in Malta a few weeks ago, an Islamist (or what is frequently called a fundamentalist Muslim) and that he headed Islamic Jihad, the arch-terrorist organization that has murdered dozens of Israelis over the last two years.
” The Western Mind of Radical Islam
by Daniel Pipes,
These are the kinds of full sentences that are constantly being unleashed on children, at a sound level that assures everyone on the bus is privy to them. Moral instruction is not private here . . . . Its the voice that urges reason, like that of an obviously divorced dad on a lunch outing with his two offspring, as he alternated between ingratiating, smiling inquiries and the following gambit with the girl: Youre acting up and youre taking away the pleasure of a nice lunch. Is that what you want to do?
” Habermas on the Upper West Side
by Elizabeth Powers,
Mrs. Clintons carefully worded speech was just one of many signs that the U.S. had drastically overhauled its strategy since Cairo. Throughout the Beijing conference, the American delegation avoided taking the initiative on controversial issues. They maintained an appearance of cordiality toward the Holy See, skirting open confrontation in negotiations. Members of the U.S. delegation frequently described the Vatican delegation to the press as conciliatory”as though we, not they, had changed since Cairo. Some of the beans were spilled by one American negotiator, after she had piped up briefly in favor of rights based on sexual orientation. Later, she told two members of the Holy See team she had momentarily forgotten that we were told not to speak out on that one.
” What Happened at Beijing
by Mary Ann Glendon,
These so-called sympathizers who rise to defend or excuse every tyranny that prevails or social evil that persists in an Arab or Islamic country are, in effect, saying, We would not for one moment tolerate this in our own country, but it is good enough for you, and is probably all that you are capable of achieving. Those who really study”and therefore respect”Islamic history and civilization are at once more critical, more compassionate, and more hopeful.
” Islam Partially Perceived
by Bernard Lewis,
To put the matter baldly, a person of religious conviction should not want to enter the marketplace of ideas but to shut it down, at least insofar as it presumes to determine matters that he believes have been determined by God and faith. The religious person should not seek an accommodation with liberalism; he should seek to rout it from the field, to extirpate it, root and branch.
” Why We Cant All Just Get Along
by Stanley Fish,
It was inevitable, perhaps, that the culture wars”the debate that continues to rage over the impact of political correctness, multiculturalism, and their allied ideologies”would spawn a genre of liberal apologetics designed to exonerate liberalism itself from its role in abetting the establishment of radical doctrine as a mandatory standard of judgment in mainstream cultural life. It is in the nature of modern liberal thought, after all, to see its ideas and its passions as wholly innocent of malign consequences.
” Instructing the Laity
by Hilton Kramer,
Students of the Republic will know that Plato proposed to abolish the family, not merely to undermine it but to abolish it altogether. Less well known, perhaps, is Jean-Jacques Rousseaus response, which is very much in point here. Plato, he said, would have us believe that there is no need for a natural base on which to form conventional ties; as though the love of ones nearest were not the principle of the love one owes the state, as though it were not by means of the small fatherland which is the family that the heart attaches itself to the large one; as though it were not the good son, the good husband, and the good father who makes the good citizen!
” Marriage Anyone?
by Walter Berns,
The true Resurrection is based not on the mythical lie of the guilty victim who deserves to die but on the rectification of that lie, which comes from the true God and which reopens channels of communication mankind itself had closed through self-imprisonment in its own violent cultures. Divine grace alone can explain why, after the Resurrection, the disciples could become a dissenting minority in an ocean of victimization”could understand then what they had misunderstood earlier: the innocence not of Jesus alone but of all victims of all Passion-like murders since the foundation of the world.
” Are the Gospels Mythical?
by René Girard,
We need to develop the trust and the courage that will enable us sometimes to decline to do what medical technology makes possible. There are circumstances in which we can save life”even our own or that of a loved one”only by destroying the kind of world in which we all should want to live. In learning to say no, in becoming people who give thanks for medical progress but do not worship it or place our trust in it, we may bear a different kind of life-giving witness to our world.
” Second Thoughts About Body Parts
by Gilbert Meilaender,
Much of the recent literature about Jesus is pure hokum. It is, on the most charitable reading, poor scholarship; at worst, it is cynical manipulation of the media and the public.
” Faith and History
by Richard B. Hays,
Big government is like a big bull in civil societys china shop. It breaks things on the way in and while inside, and we know from experience that it will break things on the way out. Together with Marvin Olasky and others, I believe that civil institutions both can and should do more, government less. But we should be realistic. The problems of making this historic transition are many and severe”one point with which I am finally in agreement with welfare-state apologists and the heads of government-supported megacharities.
” The Truth About Crime and Welfare
by John J. DiIulio Jr.,
The most unexpected classical-music recording Ive run across recently is Sacred Music of the Twentieth Century , a compact disc chiefly devoted to a cantata by John Boyle called Requiem for the Unborn . . . . All of which is, to put it mildly, leading with the chin. I know of no group of people in the United States more reflexively liberal than classical musicians, and none more unanimous in the belief that abortion should remain legal and wholly unrestricted in its availability.
” Abortion, Set to Music
by Terry Teachout,
The Christian Right is tagged with the responsibility for unsettling our national politics by injecting the issues of abortion and school prayer. A former adviser to George Bush asks, earnestly, Cant we just agree to get this issue (of abortion) out of national politics? And he was evidently taken aback when I said, Yes, we might make that deal”if by the national government you also mean the courts. For what was it, after all, that made abortion into a national issue?
” The End of Democracy?
by Hadley Arkes,
Americans are not accustomed to speaking of a regime. Regimes are what other nations have. The American tradition abhors the notion of the rulers and the ruled. We do not live under a government, never mind under a regime; we are the government. The traditions of democratic self-governance are powerful in our civics textbooks and in popular consciousness. This symposium asks whether we may be deceiving ourselves and, if we are, what are the implications of that self-deception. By the word regime we mean the actual, existing system of government. The question that is the title of this symposium is in no way hyperbolic. The subject before us is the end of democracy.
” The End of Democracy?
by the Editors,
The postmodern aesthete, that homo erectus appetitus , this featherless biped possessed of desires and wants, who makes contracts of convenience and who is vacant of love but vibrant with lust”this is very much the man of the hour. When social historians look for the time when this originally antiestablishment world was finally awarded the robes of cultural dominance, they might do well to look to the premieres of these works at the Met. From that perspective, they may prove to be the most enduring legacy of Maestro Levines first twenty-five years.
” Redemptive Sex at the Met
by Michael R. Linton,
Like coyotes and roadrunners, writers and editors are natural enemies. Writers suspect that all editors are misanthropes who compensate for their crabbed lives and creative frustrations by exercising petty tyranny over the efforts of their literary betters. Editors, for their part, regard most writers as paranoid egomaniacs ungrateful for the selfless efforts that extract a modicum of literacy and coherence from unpromising texts.
” Editors Notes
by James Nuechterlein,
When distinguished conservatives begin to ponder civil disobedience, and whether or not the United States has betrayed the democratic idea, and the prospects of American despotism, it has”for this reader, at least”the effect of concentrating the mind.
” The End of Democracy? A Discussion Continued
by William J. Bennett,
We will make no converts by raising the specter of violence . . . . If a judge is shot, some reporter will be sure to mention the symposiums brief and cool discussion of violence as an option. The right in America has been