Living with Uncertainty


It is a cliché to say that religious faith helps people to cope with stress. As with many clichés, this one is both true and false. How one uses religion to cope with stress is key.

Isolation Bookshelf: Words Matter


Each of the books I mention here can help us to be conscious—to be “in the know,” which is what Austen meant by the word—thus using the gift of speech in ways that accord with our nature as “the reflexive animal,” as Lewis calls us, governed by “the inner lawgiver” (Lewis again) of our conscience. And these conjoined obligations—to our nature and to our speech—are why even pronouns are a field of battle that truth-tellers should not surrender.

Amid Cries for Justice, a Surge of Mercy

Nursing home

Justice, in the Bible and in the Christian tradition, demands that we protect and remember every vulnerable and isolated person, made in the image of God. As reopening moves ahead, a surge of mercy to protect the elderly and others who are confined might prove a healing tonic for a bitterly riven society—and for the Christian church.

Moral Guidance on Using COVID-19 Vaccines Developed with Human Fetal Cell Lines


If a COVID-19 vaccine is developed with the use of cell lines derived from an aborted fetus, should a citizen of conscience who is opposed to abortion avail herself of it to protect herself and her loved ones during this time of pandemic? Using such a medical therapy would be morally justifiable only if its use did not contribute to future evil acts and if its use was occasioned by a grave proportionate reason.

COVID-19 Relief and Saving Catholic Schools


Catholic schools, along with other faith-based schools, are a vital gift to the families they serve and to our country. America’s COVID-19 relief efforts should support the educational choices of all families and work to save Catholic schools.

Introducing our New Contributing Editor, Andrew T. Walker

Andrew T. Walker

Through being a Public Discourse reader, I’ve made friendships I would not otherwise have made. The joy of any movement is the relationships it fosters, and my life would be less fulfilled were it not for the intellectual camaraderie that is enjoyed by many within the Public Discourse readership.

Isolation Bookshelf: Laugh Out Loud with P.G. Wodehouse

Matt's Bookshelf

Wodehouse’s work, from virtually any period of his long career, is amazingly consistent. One learns after a while that when one begins a Wodehouse story, satisfaction is guaranteed. Like a fresh whisky and soda, his work promises an easing of the tensions of daily life, an invitation to merriment, and a quiet contentment that in the end all will be well.

Reviving the Freedom of Association


A competent First Amendment jurisprudence must adequately account for the rich web of associations that enable human flourishing. To live in communities according to shared values is essential to our humanity.

The McHugh Factor: The Ideology of Transgenderism Will Brook No Dissent


The point of recent attacks on Dr. Paul McHugh is not to take him down. Rather, it is to signal to every other mental health and medical professional in the country—from psychiatrists to endocrinologists to surgeons to therapists and counselors—that the ideology of transgenderism will brook no dissent.

Reclaiming Social Justice


The term “social justice” is typically associated with an aggressively progressive political agenda led by a muscular Uncle Sam. But there is an alternative understanding of social justice—one that is especially well-suited to helping the nation address many of today’s most troubling challenges. It’s time for conservatives to explain this approach and articulate an agenda for the future based on it.

Alone Together, or Just Alone? Social Conservatives Are Right


Social conservatives are not just moralizing when they reject so much of what passes for liberation in our time. It’s not that we’re against self-determination, but rather that we are for the flourishing and well-being of persons, and thus we insist on fostering the institutions that are essential to this task.

Isolation Cinema: The Films of John Ford

John Ford’s America is a good deal like Ford himself—loud, brawling, and hard-charging. Ford’s Americans are also honorable, self-sacrificing, and faithful to their promises. That’s not the whole truth about America, not by a long shot. But it’s true enough that in John Ford’s films, we will forever see something of ourselves.

Virgil, Pope Francis, and the Wisdom of Memory


In responding to the current crisis, the great pandemic, we can follow the example of Aeneas: we can reject despair in the face of horrible suffering and find strength in “the roots of our traditions.”

Christopher Caldwell Is Not Here to Give You Hope

Civil Rights

In The Age of Entitlement, Christopher Caldwell chronicles our increased willingness to eat our seed corn and inability to propagate the future. But the questions he raises require a treatment other than borrowing the frameworks of progressive theorists and drawing different conclusions that suggest an inescapable logic of racial resentment.

Bullish on the Common Good?

Common Good

The common good is the final cause of political association, not least because practical decisions are always decisions about achieving what is good and avoiding what is bad. But invoking the common good under the influence of De Koninck, Maritain, or even Aquinas doesn’t on its own advance the political conversation that characterizes a healthy polity.

The End of Campus Education? Virtually Impossible


Our current national experiment reveals how unpopular online education is. Its proponents on the political right should admit its limitations and end their infatuation with its novelty and presumed efficiency.

Isolation Bookshelf: Escaping into Historical Fiction


There is a great deal to be learned about the virtues and vices by following the long and eventful lives of D’Artagnan, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. And isn’t this finally what good novels of any kind do for us—present the fullness of human characters for our consideration, so that we may reflect on our own characters?

Can Social Conservatives and Libertarians Still Be Friends?


American Compass and younger conservatives need to do more than complain about doctrinaire libertarians. There is a large need for careful thinking about the societal and cultural implications of economic policies, but blanket declarations of war against “libertarian fundamentalists” or “market fundamentalism” are no substitute for thoughtful analysis.

Pandemic Lessons: Homecoming, Homeschooling, and the Home Economy


A powerful antidote to such atomistic existence, loneliness, and alienation, is found in the family: productive, resilient, and together. A family-centered life with the home as the engine of education and economics orders one’s vocations and roles in ways that build lasting familial bonds and provide stability amid a changing world. COVID-19 quarantining provides an opportunity for this reality to sink in.