Reading recommendations from The Witherspoon Institute staff.
By making our common humanity irrelevant to the question of identity, Richard Spencer sets himself in diametric opposition to the intellectual roots of the “Western” civilization to which he would lay claim.
Is the real healthcare crisis not enough physician assisted suicide laws? Or is it the staggering and increasing number of people losing their battles with mental illness and committing suicide?
The wedding cake is an essential element of a ritual system that expresses the public establishment of a marriage. Its form and ritual use signify the procreative sexual relationship, with its expectation of fertility in the body of the bride, which is being publicly legitimated by the wedding.
Manhood is not natural, but it is essential. No society can endure if it does not harness male sexual energy and teach men to take care of the children they father and the women who bear them.
Because he accepts a Straussian framework that sees modernity rather than Christianity as the major turning point of Western history, Rod Dreher underestimates the influence of Christian and classical thought on the American founding.
Recent revelations about sexual harassment, assault, and abuse underscore certain blunt realities about men, women, and sex. How can we confront those realities in a way that leads to less sexual violence?
Young people today, especially the ones who are serious about religion and look to the editors of First Things for guidance, must resist the allure of an intellectual Fortress of Solitude where they can sit and feel superior to everyone. Griping about the state of society is a waste of time. Part two of two.
R.R. Reno’s manifesto on capitalism—in which he concludes, among other things, that expanding economic freedom leads to transgenderism—is based on empirically false claims. Part one of a two-part series.
Until policy-makers and the public realize the factual and moral bankruptcy of transgender ideology, pressure will continue to mount to normalize the tragically abnormal.
We must act now to prevent assisted suicide from gaining a stronger foothold in the United States.
Leo Strauss’s statements on philosophy do not deny that knowledge is possible. Rather, they emphasize that philosophy—while motivated by awareness of one’s own ignorance—is a way of life teleologically ordered toward knowledge.
The government cannot impose creedal and exclusionary limits on occupational freedom by compelling particular citizens to provide goods and services contrary to their beliefs, unless those citizens have such a monopoly market power as to exclude other citizens from the market.
New research points to “internalized homophobia” as the problem, not external discrimination.
Why are Christian bakers and florists less worthy of accommodation than groups who would engage in nearly identical behavior for equally expressive, but not necessarily religious, purposes?
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.