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Europe’s Euthanasia Craze

The case of Frank Van Den Bleeken—the Belgian murderer and rapist who requested to be euthanized rather than spend life in prison—has provoked its fair share of comment. And rightly so, the facts of this case are undoubtedly shocking. But far more shocking is the rapidly growing euthanasia culture that made this whole affair possible. This increasing normalization of euthanasia is just one of many social trends that reveals a Europe that is becoming profoundly estranged from its Judeo-Christian heritage. As that happens, European societies are losing the moral and spiritual armory with which to resist the gradual slide into a complacent nihilism Continue Reading »

The Historical Kevorkian

I am often asked for interviews by students who are writing papers about the assisted suicide issue. I am always happy to oblige. Most ask why I oppose assisted suicide and whether I think guidelines can prevent the slippery slope. But, the other day, I was contacted by a high-schooler writing a paper about something I had never considered: the historical significance of Jack Kevorkian. Continue Reading »

Avoiding the Identity Politics Trap

A Mike Huckabee presidential campaign could be the Republican establishment’s nightmare. His candidacy would combine upfront social conservatism with an economic message targeted at the middle-class and struggling wage-earners rather than at the party’s lobbyist and donor elites. Unfortunately, it seems more likely that Huckabee will emerge as an ally of the establishment—though one disguised as a critic. Continue Reading »

My Life With Charlie Hebdo

As a student at the Sorbonne in my early twenties, back in the mid 1990s, every Wednesday before hitting the subway I would buy Charlie Hebdo. I was young, I was studying French literature in the course of becoming a teacher, and Charlie Hebdo was a weekly break from the classics. I didn’t pay much attention to the politics, which were far left. My friends and I would discuss the drawings, our favorite part of the magazine: “This one is perfect!” “Right on!” “And this one! Poor [insert name of politician]! They really got him!” “But Charb exaggerates in this one—it’s just mean.” Continue Reading »

Africa’s Catholic Moment

According to an old Vatican aphorism, “We think in centuries here.” Viewed through that long-distance lens, the most important Catholic event of 2014 was the dramatic moment when Africa’s bishops emerged as effective, powerful proponents of dynamic orthodoxy in the world Church. Continue Reading »

De Blasio’s Anti-Police Populism

New York City Police Officer Wenjian Liu was buried on Sunday. He was killed before Christmas, along with Officer Rafael Ramos, by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, a mentally-ill black man who wanted to exact retribution for the death of Eric Garner, also black, who suffocated as the result of a police chokehold during his arrest. At the funeral for both, a number of police officers turned their back when Mayor Bill De Blasio spoke. Continue Reading »

Bosnian Muslims Celebrate an Islamic Christmas

Most of the world’s Christians—as well as many non-believers—celebrated the birth of Jesus on December 25. Members of the Egyptian Coptic, Ethiopian, most Slavic Orthodox, and Georgian Orthodox churches, with some Greek Orthodox faithful, will mark the festival on January 7. The fourteen-day difference reflects the retention by certain Orthodox congregations of the Julian calendar, which was replaced by Gregorian reckoning in the majority of Orthodox societies early in the twentieth century. Continue Reading »

Get Ready for a “Quantitative Approach” to Reading

At Stanford, literary scholar and marxist critic Franco Moretti proposes a radical plan for English departments: less reading, more computing. With an ocean of texts yet to be studied, literary-historians must, Moretti argues, adopt the methods of quantitative history, geography, and evolutionary theory. Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for Literary History (2005) frames the problem in layman’s terms: The whole canon of the nineteenth century British novel—about two hundred titles, Moretti estimates— Continue Reading »

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