Humans are frail creatures, depending on much beyond our control. Those who do not recognize this have never seen their father watch the clouds, or had livestock die, or waited as the ultrasound searches for a heartbeat that will never be heard. God is good, and he loves what he has created, but we are dust, and he allows the winds to blow.
Month: February 2021
What libraries do on the demand side—acquiring the books and other materials that their faculty and students need to do their research—the university presses do on the supply side, bringing important research into print. Unfortunately, one of the best university presses in the country now faces the threat of closure.
One feature of Mitt Romney’s Child Allowance proposal has been critically under-billed: the extremely high likelihood that it would reduce the abortion rate. Conservatives arguing that a rise in single parenthood is an unacceptable cost of a child allowance are necessarily arguing, as a corollary, that some of those children instead being aborted is an acceptable cost of the current policy regime. But if abortion is murder, then keeping single parenthood down by murdering the infants is surely not an optimal anti-poverty policy.
Humans are, hands down, the single most fascinating set of creatures on the planet. If you want to understand how humans work, just make a few, sit back, and watch them do their thing.
Evangelicals do not need more pastor-politicians. As the social pressures against historic Christianity increase, pastors and ministers will need a deeper doctrinal foundation, one that enables them to effectively catechize and instruct congregations embedded in a neo-pagan West.
The future of the parish depends on taking Catholic belief and practice more seriously, rebuilding neighborhoods of solidarity within the parish, and proposing Catholicism as integral to human flourishing.
Conservatives are generally good at conserving, and we are particularly aware of the continuities across the human condition. But given today’s conditions, when so much has changed so recently and so many social problems bedevil us, we need to get great at creating new institutions.
Our nation’s morally formative institutions are weak and weakening further, thanks in no small part to the enormously destructive effects of social media. The single type of institution best suited to resist these and other pressures of our times is the mission-driven, tech-skeptical K–12 school. The successes of our best countercultural colleges and universities, viewed in the light of Yuval Levin’s invaluable work on the nature of institutions, show us how the incentive structures of an excellent K–12 school make it the formative institution our time needs most.
Common good originalism is the best constitutional complement to a politics of a conservative restoration. It is ordered toward a profoundly and distinctly conservative politics that elevates the concerns of nation, community, and family over the one-way push toward ever-greater economic, sexual, and cultural liberationism.
Many have argued that without God there can be no fixed moral principles. George Orwell’s 1984 goes further, raising the possibility that without God there cannot even be “facts” in any meaningful, reliable sense.
Surrogacy arrangements are not in the best interests of children. When thinking about whether to legalize surrogacy, policy makers should consider the epigenetic effects of pregnancy, the loss to the children arising from separation from their birth mothers, and the special challenges associated with parenting by commissioning parents.
Justice John Marshall Harlan the First courageously stood against his learned opponents on the Supreme Court. By his example, we too might muster the courage to be “Great Dissenters” against the intellectual and cultural classes that progressives have come to dominate.
While it gives a certain amount of frisson to frame the story of GameStop as the Good Guys beating the Bad Guys, the details just don’t fit that narrative. It’s really important to think about the moral implications of economic activity, but it is equally important to get the details right. A lot of harm can be done by mistaking every economic event as fitting into a predetermined moral script.
The poetic stance is receptive, submissive even, and begins with an appreciation of the mysterious and the inscrutable. A humble appreciation of the mysterious beauty of reality must be the context for all fruitful problem-solving.
Eric Voegelin’s warnings about the dangers of gnostic politics apply to the right as well as the left. Christians must make a clear and unequivocal distinction between the historic Christian faith and the misleading political religion that is more pervasive on the right than anyone seemed to realize.
The lastingness of each person’s reality as male or female is so integral to the faith’s architecture, that to deny it—even to equivocate about it—is to undermine Catholic faith itself. No Catholic institution should risk that effect.
As a post-Trump conservative coalition struggles to define itself, social and religious conservatives should seize the opportunity to step up and play a leading role, making support for families a central tenet of the American right.
Practical reasons are where the action is if one is to engage agents, the culture at large, and even popes, in moral discussion, debate, and deliberation. There is really no alternative in an ethics of virtue, acquired or infused.
Some people don’t consider adoptive parents to be the “real” parents. While it is undeniable that biological parents give their children their genetic composition, the parents who raise them leave an enormous mark on children’s character and spiritual makeup. Over many years, adoptive parents influence their children’s education, the habits they develop, the affections they form, and their beliefs and values. In this way, adoptive parents become indispensable to the identity of the child.
We should endorse true claims of value—especially those related to marriage and the family—and reject specious ones. But discussing different family forms in terms of “privilege” smuggles in conclusions before the discussion begins.
Today’s intra-conservative economic debates are about more than present-day economic policy. They also concern the Founding’s saliency for modern American conservatism.
Human beings have a natural appreciation for beauty, but we strain to justify its existence in utilitarian or pragmatic terms. By offering an attractive vision, beauty makes the truths to which it relates appealing. It helps convince us that the good may not just be good for human life in the same way a healthy diet and exercise are, but also a source of joy.