Month: March 2019

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We Were Parents

When my wife and I mourned the miscarriage of our child, we were not mourning the loss of “potential life.” Hope for a potential life is what we had when we dreamed and prayed for pregnancy; hope for the potential of an existing life is what we had during the pregnancy. When our pregnancy ended, we mourned the loss of a life, of an irreplaceable human person whose particular genetic composition will never be repeated.

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Catholic Thought and the Challenges of Our Time

The early Church saw challenges to truths about God, the Reformation-era Church saw challenges to truths about the Church herself, and today’s Church is confronted by challenges to truths about man—the being made in the image and likeness of God whom the Church is tasked with protecting. This essay is based on Ryan T. Anderson’s inaugural lecture as the St. John Paul II Teaching Fellow at The University of Dallas.

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Of The Diversity Delusion, Delivered

Heather Mac Donald’s The Diversity Delusion is right on point, but it is also biting in tone, brimming with exasperation and anger. Mac Donald is at her finest when she offers an ode to the humanities, reminding the reader of the wonder and sublimity in Shakespeare and Bach, the truth and timelessness in Homer and Plato.

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Whither Humane Economics? In Defense of Wonder and Admiration in Natural Science

What is needed for a humane economics is not theological economics, but a rediscovery of the call to understand the world through an economic science replete with wonder and admiration—something missing in contemporary economics as much as in the drab theology of many ethicists. Properly delineated, this is not a rejection of ethics in economics, but a recovery of the normative dimension of reality.

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Humanizing the Venezuelan Collapse: Beyond Economic Indicators and Policy Briefs

As a Venezuelan and an economist, I believe we economists sometimes need to go beyond economic indicators. We need to speak from our hearts about our experiences. Only by doing this can we truly communicate the social implications of an economic collapse of this magnitude. No economic indicator could ever do justice to the depth of the human suffering taking place in Venezuela today. Venezuelans are suffering in ways most people in developed nations could not even imagine.

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Donald Trump Was Elected Because Elites Have Failed the Working Class

American politics is suffering from a failure of empathy. In particular, the country’s elites have failed to empathize with the working class. Over the last few generations, America’s elites have stood in the way of the working class’s pursuit of the American dream by devising, and then by tenaciously defending, policies that impede upward economic mobility.

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A City upon a Hill: Nationalism, Religion, and the Making of an American Myth

In his new book, Daniel T. Rodgers argues that the myth inspired by John Winthrop’s famous seventeenth-century “city upon a hill” metaphor was actually a product of the conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States in the Cold War. Winthrop’s sermon was largely forgotten until it was put to use for nationalistic purposes to inspire the nation against global Communism.

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The Economics and Ethics of “Just Wages”

As with the concept of the just price, the idea of the just wage combines the subjectivity of the diverse needs and preferences of individuals with the objective demands of justice. The teaching of the Catholic Church on the just wage avoids both the Scylla of economism and the Charybdis of moralism.

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Thomas Aquinas on the Just Price

St. Thomas Aquinas’s treatment of the question of the just price is often misunderstood by both Catholic integralists and classical liberals. These misunderstandings deprive us of lessons that could otherwise help us combine the goods of freedom and virtue as individuals and in society.

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Outrage Mobs Might Be More Forgiving If They Believed in Hell

Without a Christian framework, but with a strong sense of sin, seemingly minor wrongs and slights are seen as representative expressions of the injustices of society as a whole. But there is no one to grant absolution to the repentant, or to redeem the world from its fallen state. Each wrong is indelible, and so there is only sin and punishment. Forgiveness becomes impossible when every discrete wrong is bundled into a secularized version of original sin.

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Elizabeth Anscombe’s Philosophy of the Human Person

Elizabeth Anscombe’s philosophical investigation of man’s spiritual nature offers a much-needed antidote to the materialism of our times. For Anscombe, to search for the spiritual is not to look somewhere obscure, but to look at the everyday facts of human life, institutions, and history.

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Taking a Closer Look at Diversity on College Campuses

There is a penchant on today’s college campuses for sacrificing hard questions at the altar of political correctness. The university’s repudiation of the Socratic method and preoccupation with genderless pronouns, microaggressions, and safe spaces is not benign. The university should be a sacred place where no question, regardless of its potential to offend, is deemed off-limits.

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Politicizing Pediatrics: How the AAP’s Transgender Guidelines Undermine Trust in Medical Authority

The five-year-old boy who transitions to identify as a girl has taken a major step on a road that may lead to treatment with cross-sex hormones, castration, and infertility. Most five-year-old boys who say they are girls will not persist: fifteen years later, in the great majority of cases, that boy will say he is a man, not a woman. But the American Academy of Pediatrics is now on record prioritizing the opinion of a five-year-old over the considered judgment of the child’s parents.

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The Scandalous Academy: Social Science in Service of Identity Politics

Thanks to the work of sociologist Mark Regnerus, a prominent peer-reviewed journal has retracted a deeply flawed study on how social stigma affects the life expectancy of sexual minorities. This failure of peer review isn’t an isolated case: the more social science research supports the dogmas of identity politics, the less closely it is examined, and the more enthusiastically it is promoted.

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Lay Review With Teeth: What (Didn’t) Happen at the Vatican’s Sexual Abuse Summit

The Vatican’s recent Meeting on the Protection of Minors in the Church failed to produce any new reforms. Cardinal Cupich’s proposal would leave decision-making power in the hands of those authorities that Church members trust least: the bishops and the Vatican hierarchy. Instead, the Church needs to take investigatory and disciplinary processes out of the hands of local bishops and assign them to a national panel with lay members.

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Putting Adam Smith Back Together

The choices underlying marketplace transactions are more complicated and less narrowly self-regarding than we often suppose. By returning to the full corpus of Adam Smith’s writings, we can escape economistic conceptions of human beings and enhance our understanding of how market economies actually work.

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Birth Control, Blood Clots, and Untimely Death: Time to Reconsider What We Tell Our Teens?

By increasing the risk of blood clots, stroke, and heart attack, hormonal contraception leads to the death of 300-400 women every year. To give some perspective, meningitis killed forty-five people in 2017. Most states mandate meningitis vaccination for college and university students. Would they consider the same kind of prevention campaigns for the deadly blood clots caused by hormonal birth control?