The Decline and Rise
of Secular Judaism

In his 1782 book Letters from an American Farmer, John de Crèvecœur asked the most famous and important question in American history: “What then is the American, this new man?” The authentic American leaves behind him “all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new . . . . Continue Reading »

What Lu Lingzi Saw in America

One of the persons the Boston Marathon bombers murdered was Lu Lingzi, a Boston University graduate student from China. From Shenyang, where her parents now mourn the loss of their only child. So far there are two other murder victims, a child named Martin Richard, and the young woman Krystle . . . . Continue Reading »

The End of the Road

The road dominates the American imagination, from the Oregon Trail to Route 66. That strange, in-between time of escape, freedom, and adventure: On the road, you leave behind all the ordinary routines and demands. Still, I was surprised when my daughter was assigned On the Road in her high-school . . . . Continue Reading »

American Dreaming

Americans have always thought of their country as other and better than anyplace else. The most obvious measure of comparative superiority was with Europe, the place where, through most of the nation’s history, most people came from and against which they assessed their achievements. The protean . . . . Continue Reading »

We're No. 144

New York's crime rate placed it 144th among the nation's 189 largest cities. You're safer here, the New York Times recently reported, than in Beaumont, Texas, Independence, Missouri, or Anchorage, . . . . Continue Reading »

Do You Believe What You Sing?

Why Catholics Can’t Sing: The Culture of Catholicism and the Triumph of Bad Taste by thomas day crossroad, 177 pages, $19.95 In a moment of exasperation, the novelist Flannery O'Connor wrote to a friend that the motto of the Catholic Church could be: We Guarantee to Corrupt Nothing But Your . . . . Continue Reading »

Left Out

Encyclopedia of the American Leftedited by mary jo buhle, paul buhle, and dan georgakasgarland, 928 pages, $95Out of all the tragedies and horrors of Communist rule in the last seventy years there emerges a blessing: the fact that Marxists and socialists were actually able to put their ideas into . . . . Continue Reading »

Theology Through the Looking Glass

In Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, Alice has been having quite a run through the Garden of Live Flowers. “I declare it’s marked out just like a large chessboard!” she says. “There ought to be some men moving about somewhere—and so there are!” Alice gets excited by all . . . . Continue Reading »