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Month: <span>November 2020</span>

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The Bookshelf: Big Books Still Ahead

Perhaps what unites the books that I’ve dragged my feet about reading is that they are Big Books, long and serious works of great literary merit. These require an investment of one’s time and energy, representing a reader’s marathon. There is no training for these marathons, of course. One must simply plunge in.

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How St. Katharine Drexel and My Odd-Couple Parents Taught Me to Fight Racism

What I learned from St. Katharine Drexel was that the first act is simply to see the truth. To really use our eyes and intellect and heart to see another as a fellow human, given dignity by God, is no simple act—but it can be done. And then to step toward those who are not being accorded this dignity and to offer it to them, to reach out the hand of charity, takes a monumental act, a decision often of serious self-sacrifice.

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Barbaric Dogmatists and the Revolution

In the current moment, we critique and demand, but from a negation; we know—or some think they know—what they don’t want, but it is quite unclear if they know what they do want. And since they have rejected moral norms it is impossible for them to give a rational justification for their wants and dislikes. Theirs is an exercise of will, for they have exorcised the logos, and mere will—willfulness—remains.

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Gene Editing and Planned Personhood

The future of germline editing includes practical risks, but the question of whether it will happen should hinge not only on whether it can be safely done. Physicians must carefully consider their role in relation to their patients, which is different from that of a scientist working with specimens in a lab.

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Finding the Roots of the Riots

When I interviewed people at Portland’s protests, I found that they rarely hold the views they are attacked for. They are usually not filled with hate, as their opponents believe. However, they often consume one-sided media and are victims of confirmation bias. They believe they know what their adversaries support, and are ready to fight to oppose it.

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The Rise of “Psychological Man”

The notions that human flourishing is found primarily in an inner sense of wellbeing, that authenticity is found by being able to act outwardly as one feels inwardly, and that who we are is largely a matter of personal choice not external imposition have become common intuitions that lie at the heart of our society’s many ills. The first of a two-part essay.

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The Lincoln Proposal: Pro-Life Presidents Must Take Ambitious and Bold Action to Protect the Constitutional Rights of Preborn Children

Americans need not accept an interminable status quo of indifference toward the rights of the child, due either to the timidity of our political elite or to the presumption of our judiciary class. The ‘Lincoln Proposal’ offers pro-life presidents the clearest way to confront Roe v. Wade’s jurisprudence of violence and doubt and to protect the constitutional rights of preborn persons.

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Qualifying Free Speech Out of Existence: Dare to Speak and the Danger of Polite Self-Censorship

It is easy to come away from Dare to Speak filled with confusion about whether, or even how, to take the title’s advice. Reducing minds to group representation is, in the long run, no way to arrive at either truth or justice. Instead, it first leads to conflict, and finally to a weary agreement that the groups can only live in peace separately—and in silence.

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From Sermons, to Speeches, to Protests and Riots: The Mayflower at 400 and an American Myth throughout the Centuries

The sermons, political speeches, and protests about America’s origin rely on harmful myths. This is true not only of the 1619 Project’s, but also the traditional view of the Pilgrims. The task of history, however, ought to replace myth with the far more compelling chronicles of human complexity.

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Double Visions: Marilynne Robinson’s Jack

Marilynne Robinson’s “Jack” dives deep into the protagonist’s mind in order, paradoxically, to show how our lives mean things that are only apparent to other people. She depicts Jack’s redemption as something that occurs partly outside his conscious awareness. By giving us Jack’s consciousness illuminated but not wholly transformed by his wife Della’s love, Robinson achieves an artistic analogue to forgiveness.

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Questions on Abortion: A Dinner Invitation to Nicholas Kristof

The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof addresses the debate over abortion from an external point of view, for he has not attempted to understand or imagine the pro-life position from the standpoint of someone who holds that view. If he’d like to try seeing it from within, Mr. Kristof is most welcome to join us for dinner and conversation at the Witherspoon Institute.

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