Persuasion and Trust

The center-right faces two interlocking problems. The first is external. After decades of assuming that America was a center-right country with a “silent majority,” the right was awoken to an America that gave a majority of the popular vote to Barack Obama not under the perfect circumstances of 2008, but under the ambivalent circumstances of 2012. To make it worse, the electorate gave twenty-five out of the thirty-three Senate races contested in 2012 to the Obama’s Democrats or to Democrat-aligned independents. . . . Continue Reading »

Let’s Listen to Pope Francis on Economics

I don’t know how many pro-free market Catholics there are, but I sure know a lot of them, and when the Pope speaks on economics, we (and I very much include myself in this “we”) tend to either plug our ears and ignore it, or else confidently and even irreverently dismiss it. Neither of those approaches can suffice. . . . Continue Reading »

Focused on the New Evangelization

There’s a lot for U.S. Catholics to be thankful for at Thanksgiving 2013: seminaries that have turned the corner from the doldrums of the immediate past and are now full, or getting close; a reform of the liturgical reform that is bringing a new sense of the sacred back to Catholic worship; a pope who’s put a new face on the Church while holding fast to the Church’s settled teaching; the finest multimedia exposition of Catholic faith ever produced, Fr. Robert Barron’s “Catholicism” series; strong leadership from our bishops in meeting challenges to religious freedom and moral reality; a burgeoning men’s movement that draws thousands to witness for Christ; a new feminism that rejects a unisex approach to life and that is robustly pro-life. . . . Continue Reading »

Pardon Me

As the President prepares to pardon the White House’s Thanksgiving turkeys, it’s worth looking back to our colonial roots to ask what role mercy should play in criminal justice. When we look back at colonial-era punishments, we think of them as promiscuously bloody, far too quick to execute. But while there were many more capital crimes than today, colonial American criminal codes were much less bloody than England’s and gave much more room for mercy than do today’s… . Continue Reading »

What’s Behind the Stunning Decrease in Global Poverty?

Economists with the National Bureau of Economic Research released a working paper in 2009 on global poverty concluding that the world had seen a significant decrease in extreme poverty—defined at the time as living on $1 or less per day—between 1970 and 2006. While even a significant decrease in extreme poverty still leaves much room for additional gains, the decrease in rates of extreme poverty during this period of time is stunning. . . . Continue Reading »

Please Support First Things Now

’Tis the season to be jolly. ’Tis also the season for me to ask for your financial support! Our mission is important. Our need is great. First Things magazine and are published by the Institute on Religion and Public Life, a 503(c)(b) non-profit that depends on people like you for donations… . Continue Reading »

Internet Opera

In those early days, before everyone was online, you chatted with whom you could. It was 1997, and I convinced my parents to hand over their credit card and installed AOL 3.0. It revolutionized my social life. It gave me a facsimile of one. The robotic sounds of our 28k modem connecting to the Internet were, to my young mind, the sounds of possibility. . . . Continue Reading »