Yearly Archives: 2009


 

by on June 12th, 2009

If religious traditions, belief systems, and moral frameworks are the result of a genuine commitment to and search for the truth, then disagreement of truth claims among adherents must be taken as a sign that some, or even all, of the searches have failed. How can this be a good state of affairs?

by on June 9th, 2009

All education is moral education, because it carries an understanding of the things worth knowing—and a hierarchy of the things more or less worthy of being known. Moral education must also point to a certain end: an understanding of the ways of life that are better or worse for human beings. It must point to a certain kind of political regime in providing the cast of our lives: the laws that protect the integrity of families and the professions, and the terms of principle on which a decent people deserve to live. The following article is adapted from the Commencement Address Arkes delivered at Hillsdale College on May 10, 2009.

by on June 5th, 2009

President Obama’s “New Beginning” speech in Cairo featured wise and strategically astute language regarding Muslims. Yet coverage of the event by the U.S. State Department office responsible for communication to foreign audiences undermined Obama’s message. Before more outreach to foreign audiences, the Obama White House needs to reach out to its own State Department.

by on June 2nd, 2009

A recent conference at Princeton University asked whether in the midst of current economic challenges natural law philosophy might not provide a better foundation for the practice of economics than the utilitarian account of value that currently underwrites it.

by on May 29th, 2009

Three months into President Obama’s first term, one of his most prominent pro-life opponents, Robert P. George, engaged in a discussion with one of his most prominent pro-life supporters, Douglas W. Kmiec. The article below is adopted from George's remarks, which called for candid speech on Obama's abortion record.

by on May 22nd, 2009

President Obama’s calls for honest dialogue on the abortion issue can only get off the ground if both sides agree that abortion is a contestable issue. But if it is a contestable issue, it should be settled by democratic processes—not judicial fiat.

by on May 19th, 2009

Muslims who favor religious freedom deserve to have their voices heard. One way President Obama could be respectful of and show his appreciation for Islam would be to nominate an Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom and support religious freedom in his administration’s foreign policy.

by on May 15th, 2009

What the Muslim world needs is not Western-style secularization that stresses the privatization of religion, but a form of authentic faith at ease with modernity

by on May 12th, 2009

A proposed law in Vermont will not only do little to solve the problem of “sexting,” but actually risks resulting in making even more children vulnerable to sexual exploitation.

by on May 8th, 2009

From the Clinton Administration to Nancy Pelosi, American family-planning policy continues to preserve the eugenicist principle that America would be better off if poor children were never conceived. In fact, Clinton tied Medicaid funding to state promises that it would save the government money in the long run by “averting births” of children who were likely to be a drain on the welfare system. But there is an alternative. The third in a three-part series.

by on May 5th, 2009

The senators who originally designed our family planning policies believed that the mostly black welfare population was incurably lazy, promiscuous, intellectually substandard, and a burden on public schools, and, moreover, that they probably would remain so indefinitely. Birth control, therefore, was in their eyes a way to reduce the number of these undesirable people. This article is the second installment in a three-part series.

by on May 1st, 2009

Nancy Pelosi’s widely reported comments on family planning were simply a restatement of a view shared by both political parties. This article is the first installment of a three-part series on the racist origin and eugenicist structure of U.S. family-planning policy.

by on May 1st, 2009

Regardless of who prevails in the argument over marriage, the politics of denunciation practiced by same-sex marriage supporters will have damaged the public discourse.

by on April 28th, 2009

The recent publication of the Torture Memos and of the International Red Cross report on the treatment of high-level detainees in the aftermath of 9/11 has returned to national prominence the discussion of the morality of torture and “enhanced interrogation” techniques. It is important to be clear, as a moral matter, on what boundaries should be accepted in interrogation of human beings; a responsible and non-politicized discussion is essential on this difficult issue.

by on April 24th, 2009

The Iowa court’s recent decision does not simply broaden marriage, it radically changes its nature. While marriage previously served public purposes of attaching mothers and fathers to their children and one another, now marriage merely serves as affirmation of adult feelings.

by on April 21st, 2009

Faced with Charles Murray’s argument that the welfare state makes everything too easy, a socialist could ask: Should everything therefore be made more difficult? How can Murray say the welfare state is bad for making life easier while praising other state functions that make life easier, like the police? Only a moral perspective can oppose socialism while affirming legitimate state functions.

by on April 17th, 2009

Public transit and walkable neighborhoods are necessary for the creation of a country where families and communities can flourish.

by on April 14th, 2009

Higher education exposes ingratiating talk as the counterfeit of teaching; rote learning as the counterfeit of thought; mere opinion as the counterfeit of judgment; enthusiasm as the counterfeit of principle.

by on April 7th, 2009

The Supreme Court of Iowa’s decision to redefine marriage abandons reason and replaces it with feelings as the standard of public consensus.

by on April 3rd, 2009

The Constitution’s no-establishment rule does protect the liberty of religious conscience, but not in the way, or ways, that we usually think.

by on March 31st, 2009

Recent calls for the widespread use of cognitive enhancements are based on a narrow, mechanistic view of what it means to be human.

by on March 27th, 2009

Encouraging peaceful, reformist Muslims requires freedom of speech and religion. Yet U.S. policies in Egypt and elsewhere support governments which actively work against Muslim reformist efforts.

by on March 24th, 2009

The state is required to protect persons not just from physical harm but from being forced to violate their limited but definite freedom of conscience.

by on March 20th, 2009

The “rightful place” of science is not as obvious as the President thinks.

by and on March 17th, 2009

A new approach is needed to support students in the hostile hook-up culture on college campuses.

by on March 13th, 2009

William Saletan’s proposals for abortion compromise would do little to relieve the plight of women or save the unborn.

by on March 10th, 2009

Far from settling the marriage debate, ‘getting the state out of marriage’ will reduce liberty, leave cultural questions simmering, and harm our nation’s children.

by on March 6th, 2009

Homeownership has long been part of the American Dream, but current government plans to keep more people in their homes reflect the influence of failed economic policies from the past and may encourage more risky decision making in the future.

by on March 3rd, 2009

While many social conservatives have focused attention on Obama’s liberal social commitments, few have considered what effects an expanded welfare state will have on religious belief—or how these religious effects will in turn impact civic virtue, personal responsibility, altruism, or solidarity. If the European experience with the welfare state and religion is any indication, the Obama revolution could well lead the United States down the secular path already trod by Europe.

by on February 27th, 2009

Religious liberty and religious authority are frequently seen in tension, but they need not conflict. In fact, a proper understanding of both shows that they are equally necessary for full human flourishing.

by and on February 24th, 2009

A recent compromise on the same-sex ‘marriage’ debate granted too much to revisionists and too little to traditionalists. A better compromise will respect the societal importance of marriage while also providing for the real needs of domestic partners.

by on February 20th, 2009

With political realities preventing Obama from satisfying his left-wing base on economic and foreign policy questions, look for Obama to give the left the barn on social issues. And expect him to do so in significant measure through the courts.

by on February 17th, 2009

The play “Madah-Sartre,” both funny and poignant, provides a glimpse into the contradictions, logical impoverishment, and inhumanity of Islamist ideology, while also offering a dose of basic human decency to parties in a conflict which is more often characterized by violence than civil debate.

by on February 12th, 2009

The recent passage of the PROTECT Our Children Act makes 2009 a critical year in governmental efforts to protect children from sexual exploitation.

by on February 12th, 2009

David Ogden has impressive legal credentials, but his long career as a pornography-industry attorney casts doubt on his ability to enforce laws meant to protect children.

by on February 9th, 2009

Recent technological developments in the production and dissemination of pornography, coupled with recent scientific investigations on pornography’s impact, force all thoughtful citizens to reconsider the social costs of pornography.

by on February 9th, 2009

The nomination of David Ogden reminds us of the problems caused by pornography, both at home and abroad.

by on February 6th, 2009

If opposition to abortion is not necessarily tied to a religious worldview, pro-life advocates may see victory in the culture wars.

by on February 3rd, 2009

Every fall, kids arrive on college campuses and learn that their basic moral intuitions on sexual matters don’t square with the reigning ideas. Thanks to debased campus culture and overreaching on the part of administrators and professors, students are beginning to respond systematically—and they’re having an impact. Here’s how.

by on January 30th, 2009

At its fullest, the American model of religious liberty is not a freedom from religion or a freedom of religion; it is a freedom for religion.

by on January 27th, 2009

Professor Michael New writes that, contrary to claims by the Guttmacher Institute, parental involvement laws do have a significant effect in reducing abortions.

by on January 23rd, 2009

President Bush created a council that represented the range of viewpoints held by reasonable and responsible Americans on the most urgent and divisive bioethics questions facing the country. Will President Obama do the same?

by on January 22nd, 2009

In remarks delivered yesterday at the Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life, Robert P. George reflected on the history of the pro-life movement and offered advice for its future.

by on January 20th, 2009

America’s public diplomacy should be focused on fostering ideas in our interest that matter in key foreign audiences, not just on pro-America image marketing.

by on January 16th, 2009

The Algerian novel The Last Summer of Reason provides a powerful and strangely beautiful reminder of the danger of letting violent ideological fundamentalism fester. We would do well to heed this reminder now, not later.

by on January 13th, 2009

If governments do not take moral hazard seriously, their response to the present recession may sow the seeds of a future economic crisis.

by on January 9th, 2009

Freedom of conscience is an important, though limited, right. In some cases a state may prevent someone from acting on her conscientious judgments. But in other cases—such as those in which a pro-life doctor is required to perform an abortion—the violation of conscience is intrinsically unjust.

by on January 6th, 2009

Despite the financial crisis, markets deserve a spirited public defense that acknowledges both their virtues and limits.

In Depth: Editor's Picks: September 2018

Don't miss Public Discourse Editor Ryan T. Anderson's picks for the best articles we've published this quarter!



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