When times become difficult, people come to help each other as a rule. It’s not really a case of our better angels emerging; it’s our regular angels doing what they almost always do when the chips are down.
Our confrontation with suffering and death provides an important opportunity for reflection. What is it that we value most? What relationships need forgiveness or reconciliation? How should we understand our lives and our own mortality? Both empirical data and religious traditions show that, by engaging in such interior reflection, it can be possible to grow and flourish even amidst great suffering.
A crisis like a pandemic forces citizens to confront what they hold in common. But the coronavirus has revealed that many, whether boomer or millennial, do not even see themselves as citizens—as participating in and being partially responsible for the common good.
The Coronavirus epidemic has provided us with a lesson in how bureaucracies function in a time of crisis. It has also reminded us that education is more than merely transferring information. Real education takes place when the student and the professor meet face-to-face and just talk.
A friend is more than a form of entertainment. The utilitarian way app designers would have us pick friends off a menu reflects quite the opposite approach. Friendships are viewed as more comfortable and more disposable than Allan Bloom, C.S. Lewis, and the Talmud suggest they ought to be.
Schools are closed. Sports and music lessons are cancelled. Everyone is at home. What are you going to do? Instead of allowing coronavirus to control your life, why not plan for leisure? We can make this evil an occasion for despair, or we can choose to see it as a “severe mercy” for our benefit, our joy, and ultimately our sanctification.
The promises of virtualization and automation are often exaggerated, as are their dangers. It is possible for an increasingly virtualized and automated economy to actually be more humane, but only if such an economy does justice to the human realities of incarnation and relation.
No one can say with precision how many people this virus will infect or kill. Predictions are difficult. But we know some things about ourselves, so we can venture to say what this unusual moment will reveal about us.
Research over the last decade has solidified the finding that sexual minorities are far more likely to have faced adverse experiences during childhood—experiences that they ought to be able to explore in therapy.
When our conception of relationships and relationship-building is based on a vision of the human person as an atomized choice maker who forms bonds for his or her benefit, we should not wonder why institutions decay. Our institutions are in crisis because we are in an identity crisis.
It is helpful for older teens to understand and admire the ideal of sexual integrity. Call them to greatness, while also setting down clear guidelines of what is and isn’t permitted in their opposite-sex friendships while they are under your care. We advise parents to initiate advanced conversations with both sons and daughters about how sexual desire is tricky to control, but absolutely manageable with time-tested strategies. Teens should also be taught about the dangers—and avoidability—of STDs, and encouraged to show compassion and empathy towards peers who don’t know how to live sexual integrity. Finally, let your teens know that you have great confidence in their ability to live out sexual integrity and practice true love and authentic friendship. But even if they make a mistake, they can always make amends, rectify, and start again.
Bradley C. S. Watson’s new book Progressivism: The Strange History of a Radical Idea points scholars in new and productive directions regarding the political thought of the Progressive Era. Watson writes with vigor and verve, making the book of great appeal to anyone trying to take the true measure of the legacy of Progressive political thought in American history.