Our American Babylon

This essay by Richard John Neuhaus was originally printed in the December 2005 issue of First Things .Once upon a time¯it was the 1976 bicentennial of the American founding, to be precise¯I wrote a book on the American experiment and the idea of covenant. Time magazine picked up on it and . . . . Continue Reading »

Richard John Neuhaus, 1936–2009

Our great, good friend is gone.Fr. Richard John Neuhaus slipped away today, January 8, shortly before 10 o’clock, at the age of seventy-two. He never recovered from the weakness that sent him to the hospital the day after Christmas, caused by a series of side effects from the cancer he was . . . . Continue Reading »

A Worthy Conspiracy

Edmund Burke once said that he did “not know the method of drawing up an indictment against a whole people,” but in the case of Germany, that claim has been sorely tested. Ever since the horrors of the death camps were exposed, the world has been asking how such barbarism could have taken . . . . Continue Reading »

Stanley Fish Goes to College

You can always count on Stanley Fish. He strikes a few sound blows¯and then all too soon he’s flailing away, sometimes doing more harm than good. Fish is like ice in good bourbon: pleasing at the outset, but after time the source of watery ruin.A recent article, “Professor, Do Your . . . . Continue Reading »

Truth and Freedom

Human liberty depends on an accurate grasp of the human condition, not as we might like it to be, but as it is: “The truth shall set you free.”Let us suppose, for instance, a situation in which truth is rendered servile by some contemporary enthusiasm. If truth is held captive by a . . . . Continue Reading »

The Good Life

In a letter to the editor of the New York Times, William Motley, a geneticist of Oxford University, writes, “Fighting Down syndrome with prenatal screening does not ‘border on eugenics.’ It is a ‘search-and-destroy mission’ on the disease, not on a category of citizens . . . . ” . . . . Continue Reading »

Big Science, Little Consequence

As I’ve observed in a previous posting, brain science is a hot new area of research, and some of the experts are absolutely convinced that new knowledge about brain function will lead to big changes in how we view ourselves. Once we know that what seems to be free choice is, in fact, a . . . . Continue Reading »