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Diagnosing Disaster

“Why Did We Destroy Europe?” It’s an arresting title, chosen by Michael Polanyi for a 1970 essay that looks back on the conflagrations that consumed Europe between 1914 and 1945. (The essay can be found in Society, Economics & Philosophy, a posthumous volume of selected papers by . . . . Continue Reading »

Hitler’s Second Coming

It was surreal. President Biden began his State of the Union speech by invoking the Nazi threat. More than eighty years ago, Biden reminded us, Franklin Roosevelt rallied the nation, as “Hitler was on the march,” and “freedom and democracy were under assault.” Today, the president warned, . . . . Continue Reading »

Pagan Hamas

Addressing senior SS officers in Poznań on October 4, 1943, Heinrich Himmler was in a cheerful mood. The total extermination of the Jews, he told his minions, was going swimmingly; how unfortunate, though, that Nazism’s biggest triumph must be forever concealed. The mass murder, he said, was . . . . Continue Reading »

Death of God Fifty Years On

On April 8, 1966, a five-thousand-word cover story appeared in Time magazine, sending the country into a panic over a group of theologians few had heard of then and nobody remembers now. Paul van Buren, Thomas Altizer, and William Hamilton are forgotten. The cover, however, remains memorable. The . . . . Continue Reading »

The Green and the Brown

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warningby timothy snydertim duggan books, 462 pages, $30 F aced with the challenge of finding something new to say about the Holocaust, a lesser author will offer a picture of Nazism that resembles his present-day political opponents. In a strange reversal, . . . . Continue Reading »

Letters

dark powersR. R. Reno’s “The Nazi Taboo” section in his “Public Square” (December) immediately piqued my interest, but I am still not sure where the thesis was headed. Is the sudden emergence of ISIS an example of our vulnerability to an “upsurge in primitive urges?” Certainly it has . . . . Continue Reading »

Bonhoeffer's Last Advent

One year before Dietrich Bonhoeffer was executed by the Nazis on the morning of April 9, 1945, he wrote from prison to his friend Eberhard Bethge: “What keeps gnawing at me is the question, ‘What is Christianity, or who is Christ actually for us today?’” To that question we must now pose . . . . Continue Reading »

The Crisis of Our Time

In this issue, David Hart commends Pope Francis as a critic of global capitalism. I’m less enthusiastic. Yes, there’s a great deal about the global economic system to criticize, but the Holy Father tends to use a rhetorical machete rather than an analytical scalpel. He bloodies topics like . . . . Continue Reading »

European Reconciliation

Currently, visitors to the Vatican Museums in Rome have the opportunity to visit an exhibition devoted to Cardinal Bolesław Kominek (1903-1974), aptly titled “Europe’s Forgotten Founding Father.” The author of the “Pastoral Letter of the Polish Bishops to Their German Brothers,” sent . . . . Continue Reading »

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