A new book sets out a system of “procreative ethics” based on the idea that life is not a gift but a risk. From this point of view, imposing that risk on someone requires serious justification.
Only when we are willing to hold our own party to the same standards to which we hold the other party will we be able to improve our national politics.
In the age of Clinton and Trump, we need the principles and ideals that animated America’s first president more than ever.
By invoking the principles of the Declaration of Independence, Republicans can wholeheartedly embrace the ideas of integration, inclusion, and respect in a way that remains consistent with their commitments to morality, patriotism, and liberty.
Dietrich von Hildebrand’s memoir of resistance against the Nazis compels us to wonder how we would have responded in the face of similar evils. Would we have the courage to speak the truth in love? Or would we sit back silently in fear?
Vote as if your ballot determines nothing whatsoever—except the shape of your own character.
A humane civil society requires an ecosystem of religious freedom.
As economic nationalism enjoys a resurgence across the developed world, Adam Smith reminds us of how much we stand to lose—and not just economically.
If gender studies is to serve as a helpful guide, it must abandon its invented dualisms of sex and gender, nature and nurture, embodiment and social construction. Gender sociologists need to study the way human beings actually live rather than the way they wish we would live.
Kim R. Holmes's new book interweaves abstract philosophy with history, empirical data, and concrete narrative.
Though he certainly finds fault in distorted versions of Christian ideals, Shakespeare pays tribute to the truth, beauty, and goodness of genuine Christian virtue.
If we ever hope to rid our country’s political discourse of the poison of identity politics, we must begin by rebuilding the psychological foundations of healthy identity formation in our children.
Congress should pass the Conscience Protection Act to send a message to the entire nation that our freedom of speech and religious freedom are protected and valued.
Who is willing—and able—to step up and be this candidate?
Same-sex marriage is not the only option for gays and lesbians who seek the personal fulfillment and familial happiness that is the universal desire of the human heart.
Amid public congratulations for “being true to himself,” a husband’s coming out leaves his wife and children in deep pain.
The Governor and Attorney General of Texas should obey the law, not the Supreme Court’s ambiguous abstractions. They should continue to secure the fundamental liberty of vulnerable Texans and make the abortion industry assert its super-claim-rights in court.
The Obama administration not only enforces but unilaterally expands some civil rights laws, such as when “sex” became “gender identity” in Title IX. Yet it promotes exceptions, loopholes, and countervailing arguments for other civil rights protections, such as conscience rights for those who oppose abortion.
After it was accepted that criminalizing speech was a desirable way to produce better citizens, finding a stopping point has proven almost impossible. Although the US has the legal protections for freedom of speech that Europe lacks, a culture of censorship is emerging here as well.
This Fourth of July, if you believe that the work we do improves the political discourse that is so vital to the preservation of our republic, won’t you make a gift to support the work of Public Discourse?
There comes a time where gross disregard for human life and for our constitutional order should stir us from docile obedience and impel us to resistance.
On August 2, 2018, Pope Francis announced an update to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, making a prohibition on the death penalty official Catholic teaching. Prior to this change, many scholars believed that the historic teaching of the Church did not declare capital punishment intrinsically immoral, even if the practice is, as a matter of prudence, not required in countries with modern prison systems that can safely isolate dangerous criminals. Other scholars argued that the natural law duty to respect all human life does in fact render any intentional taking of human life morally unacceptable, and that this development of doctrine does not contradict any infallible teaching. The articles below lay out this debate, with clear summaries of the arguments on both sides.
Intentional killing is always wrong, and support of capital punishment often stems from a misunderstanding of the nature of human dignity.
If one accepts the legitimacy of punishment and the principle of proportionality, then it is impossible to claim that capital punishment is intrinsically wrong.
Nothing that a man does can change his nature as man, and so, considered in himself, it will always remain wrong to kill him. This should be the final judgment of practical reason when brought to bear on the question of capital punishment.
While not explicitly denying the principle of proportionality, Tollefsen implicitly rejects it, leaving his argument not only counterintuitive but incoherent.
The presumptive starting point in the natural law and, more specifically, Christian tradition is one of absolute opposition to intentional killing of beings created in the image of God, for which exceptions must be earned; but the traditional justifications for such exceptions fail.
Edward Feser and Joseph M. Bessette’s new book asserts that Catholics cannot legitimately reject the death penalty as wrong always and everywhere. They are wrong. Part one of a two-part essay.
Four conditions must be met for a teaching of the Catholic Church to be considered infallible. Acceptance of the death penalty meets none of them. St. John Paul II laid down theoretical markers that provide a clear basis for a Catholic teaching rejecting the death penalty in principle. Part two of a two-part essay.
Arguments against the death penalty can be made not only on the basis of theology but also on the basis of natural law philosophy. The first in a two-part series.
There is a genuine tension, not just in Aquinas but in Church teaching more generally, between claims about the intrinsic goodness, sanctity, and inviolability of human life, and claims about political authority to kill. The second in a two-part series.
E. Christian Brugger is wrong: neither scripture nor tradition could justify a reversal of the Church’s millennia-old teaching on capital punishment
If E. Christian Brugger is right, then the Church has been teaching grave moral error and badly misunderstanding scripture for two millennia. Nothing less than her very credibility is at stake.
Aquinas taught the principle that a punishment ought to be proportionate to the offense, where death is a proportionate punishment for the gravest crimes.
It’s three times more likely that you’ll die of lightning than that Aquinas will turn out to be wrong about something. The same cannot be said of New Natural Law philosophy.
Reason operating without error judges that no human being should ever intend the death of another human being for any reason whatsoever. No achievable good can justify such a choice. And that is the foundation for the case against the death penalty.