Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

Patrick Deneen is David A. Potenziani Memorial Professor of Constitutional Studies at the University of Notre Dame. His previous “On the Square” articles can be found here.

RSS Feed

“Forward” Into a Sterile Future

From Web Exclusives

Stumping in Iowa on May 24, President Obama declared, “We don’t need another political fight about ending a woman’s right to choose, or getting rid of Planned Parenthood, or taking away affordable birth control. We don’t need that. I want women to control their own health choices, just like I want my daughters to have the same economic opportunities as my sons. We’re not turning back the clock. We’re not going back there.” … Continue Reading »

E.J. Dionne and the Contradiction of Progressive Catholicism

From Web Exclusives

For over seven years, I have had a mailbox just above E.J. Dionne’s in the Department of Government at Georgetown University. E.J. and I have always shared cordial relationships, periodically getting together to discuss our shared and differing opinions on American politics. We have speculated on what might be a blood relationship, as my mother’s maiden name is Dionne and we both have family that hail from Fall River, Massachusetts, by way of French Canada… . Continue Reading »

“For the Salvation of Souls”: A Farewell to Georgetown

From Web Exclusives

In yesterday’s Washington Post, in anticipation of today’s address by Health and Human Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at Georgetown University as part of its graduation exercises, the editorial staff pronounced that “Georgetown Gets it Right.” Like many defenders of the invitation to Secretary Sebelius, the editorial at once denied that the invitation constituted an honor”since the event is not officially a “commencement” and an honorary degree is not being conferred”and that the invitation constituted an opportunity for the legitimate “exchange of ideas.” … Continue Reading »

A Christmas Tree with Vices

From First Thoughts

Thanks to Nathaniel for sending me this, a neat overview of master filmmaker Orson Welles’ career —with an eye toward his spiritual sympathies. “I try to be a Christian. [But] I don’t pray really, because I don’t want to bore God.” In fact, prayer was almost as uncomfortable subject for . . . . Continue Reading »

A Culture of Choice?

From First Thoughts

Rod Dreher calls attention to an essay by Michael Brendan Dougherty , who asks pointed questions about the failure of the thirty-six year old pro-life movement to make any significant gains against a regime of unrestricted abortion. Dougherty’s essay strikes a long and resonant chord with me: . . . . Continue Reading »

Culture, Not Morality?

From First Thoughts

An article in yesterday’s Inside Higher Education discusses a new book by a Notre Dame anthropologist that explores the reasons for widespread plagiarism among today’s college students.  In particular, its author recommends a departure from the prevailing system of detection and . . . . Continue Reading »

Rational Control

From First Thoughts

We learned last night that Timothy Geithner was confirmed as the Obama administration’s Secretary of the Treasury.  While this outcome was never in real doubt, the revelation that he had failed to report upwards of $26,000 in self-employment taxes when he was an overseas employee of the . . . . Continue Reading »

Heating Up

From First Thoughts

This one will stir up a hornet’s nest . . . .  The words “global warming” may have achieved Pavlovian status.  Like the ringing of the bell that accompanied the Alpo fed to Pavlov’s dogs, the words foster an immediate and instinctive response by adherents of our . . . . Continue Reading »

Say Hello to the New Boss

From First Thoughts

A short time ago Barack Obama became the nation’s chief executive and the leader of the Free World.  His inauguration as 44th President was historic and nation-altering:  what was at one time an inconceivable dream - an African-American President - is now a daily fact.  Flying . . . . Continue Reading »