Using and Being Used

My dictionary defines the word tool in some interesting ways. A tool is “an instrument like a hammer, used or worked by hand.” A tool is “a means to an end.” And”more sardonically”a tool is “someone who is used or manipulated by another; a dupe.” . . . . Continue Reading »

Sotomayor the Subjectivist

In all human probability, by the end of the summer Judge Sonia Sotomayor of Second Circuit Court of Appeals will take the seat of Justice David Souter on the United States Supreme Court. On the grossest level, we have one liberal judge replacing another, and so the change is unlikely to affect the . . . . Continue Reading »

A First Look at the New FIRST THINGS

Today begins the new website design for First Things : more punch, more power, more action, more zowie! Or so I’m told. You’ll have to check it out to see for yourself. As I promised in our May issue , we’ve launched our redesigned and much-improved website, which includes both a . . . . Continue Reading »

The Ditchkins Delusion

Terry Eagleton’s Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate is an engaging, witty, and largely successful critique of the new atheists, especially Christopher Hitchens (author of God is Not Great ) and Richard Dawkins (author of The God Delusion ), whose delusional . . . . Continue Reading »

Defining Discourse Down

No one has mistaken our day as an age of powerful, rational discourse. The McLaughlin Group doesn’t usually evoke memories of Lincoln-Douglas, and Twittering about your favorite bagel from Panera isn’t exactly correspondence on the level of John and Abigail Adams.But perhaps I’m being unfair. . . . . Continue Reading »

A Forgotten Seer

Norman O. Brown. Once a favorite of counter-culture intellectuals, we do not hear his name very much anymore. He has been eclipsed, perhaps, by his prescience. Once a shocking voice of new revelations, Brown now reads like a strangely urgent advocate of ideas that postmodern culture takes for . . . . Continue Reading »

Nothing To Be Done

“Nothing to be done,” Estragon says, struggling with his boot as he sits on a rock in a barren waste. Two and a half hours later, not much has changed. “Let’s go,” he says to his friend Vladimir. They do not move, except to clasp hands, grasping for each other in an empty . . . . Continue Reading »

At the Gates of Notre Dame

We all knew this fight was coming. The Catholic Church and the Catholic colleges have been heading toward a crash since at least 1990, when John Paul II issued Ex Corde Ecclesiae , his apostolic constitution regulating Catholic institutions of higher education. And now, at last, the battle is . . . . Continue Reading »