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Month: <span>March 2021</span>

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The 50/50 Problem: How the Internet Is Distorting Our Reality

More than 50 percent of Americans spend more than 50 percent of their waking hours living in virtual, artificial worlds rather than the given, created one in which their bodies exist. The 50 percent threshold represents a tipping point that renders dialogue, deliberation, civic friendship, and compromise extraordinarily difficult in any society.

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Moral Repugnance, Abortion, and COVID Vaccines: A Dialogue

The following began as an email exchange, initiated by Richard Stith’s message to the authors of recent Public Discourse articles—particularly this statement by Catholic scholars—arguing for the moral permissibility of receiving the COVID vaccines. Melissa Moschella responded to the message, and an insightful dialogue ensued, which we believe would be of interest to many readers. Here is a revised version of the exchange.

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Christianity, Immigration, and the Religion of Humanity

The humanitarian proposal is hard to refuse, because it postulates that we can achieve justice if everyone simply becomes aware of their essential human likeness. The Christian proposal is hard to accept, because it affirms that all human beings are prisoners of an injustice from which they cannot escape by their own efforts.

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The Good Life

To live a good life, our intellect, will, and passions must be aligned with one another and with the nature of God. We must know what good we pursue, how we pursue that good, and what—or Whom—we love.

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The Limit of Politics

Without a revelation from God to confirm that man’s end transcends this world, politics will dominate our life and make hell on earth. But in its proper place, politics can do great good. As Fr. James Schall reminds us, the “abiding problem” of the “political enterprise” is to grasp this “limit of politics.”

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Cultural Anxieties, Not Economic Woes, Drove the Trump Train

Many conservative elites know that cultural resentment has the potential to take the Republican Party in an ugly direction. That’s why so many of them cling to the alternative explanation: “It wasn’t racism or misogyny that was motivating Trump voters! It was righteous anger that their government hasn’t done more to protect them from the ravages of globalization!” In reality, to the extent that the Trump coalition was unified and energized by anything, survey data suggest that it was cultural issues, not economic ones.

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Can We Still Reason Together? A Conversation with Robert P. George

Where there is a mutual commitment to truth and truth-seeking, relationships can be built between religious believers and secularists, and they can indeed reason together. The minimum condition is this: interlocutors, however wide and deep their substantive philosophical or other differences, need to share the conviction that business between them is to be conducted in the proper currency of intellectual discourse—namely, reasons, evidence, and arguments.

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Enduring Longings: Reflections on DuBois’s Reflections on Francis of Assisi

The conception of the good life that W.E.B. DuBois discerns in the pattern of St. Francis of Assisi’s life straddles the secular and sacred. It can provide a starting point for a recovery and re-articulation of enduring longings in a secularized culture. The cultivation of those longings, in turn, is at the core of truly liberal education.

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The Censorship of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and the Unbooking of Ryan T. Anderson

It may seem strange to pair Lawrence Ferlinghetti with Ryan Anderson, who argues against virtually everything for which Ferlinghetti stood. What they have in common is the courage of their convictions, a willingness to challenge the conventional pieties of their respective ages, and to do so in ways that conformist critics are quick to label offensive, obscene, unsafe, or misframed.

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Competing Visions of America

Charles Kesler’s new book, Crisis of the Two Constitutions, offers a straightforward approach to the Constitution, a pointed (though always measured) characterization of progressivism, and an honest assessment of American conservatism.

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Statement from Pro-Life Catholic Scholars on the Moral Acceptability of Receiving COVID-19 Vaccines

The Ethics and Public Policy Center has organized the following statement from leading pro-life Catholic scholars, including EPPC President Ryan T. Anderson, EPPC board member and Princeton professor Robert P. George, and EPPC Fellow and Notre Dame professor O. Carter Snead, along with two professors at pontifical universities in Rome and other U.S.-based scholars, to explain why it is morally acceptable for pro-life citizens to receive any of the COVID-19 vaccines currently available.

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American Conservatives Should Take the United Nations Seriously

The question was never whether or not conservatives should engage the multilateral system. It was always what kind of multilateralism conservatives want: one that is accountable to self-governing sovereign states and advances U.S. interests, or one that is wholly untethered from political oversight and unaccountable to the American people.

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Reforming Our Successor Civil Religion

Wokeness meets a religious need by mimicking a Protestantism that our society has largely left behind. Although it highlights important truths, Wokeness needs to retrieve the orthodox teaching on the universality of original sin, the Christian understanding of salvation through the divine Scapegoat, and the centrality of the Church in its social imagination.

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