The problem with modernity’s conquest of nature is that it works toward obliterating the distinction between creature and creator, a distinction that is essential for maintaining a humane and non-totalitarian politics.
The fourth pillar, education and culture, is built upon the recognition of two essential realities. First, the Western intellectual tradition requires a dedication to and desire for truth. Second, education takes place not only within colleges and universities but within our broader culture, whose institutions and practices form us as whole persons.
Michael Rectenwald’s new book offers up passionate intellectual debate in a climate where the discursive righteousness, sexuality, sex, skin color, and feelings of the speaker too often matter more than the thoughts espoused. It is a portrait of the contemporary scene of academic freedom, which is anything but free, and even less academic.
When we lie to ourselves about the moral status of other human beings, we not only unjustly injure other people, we also injure ourselves and our culture. We transform ourselves into a people who believe the lie. The costs of self-deception are internal and reflexive as well as external and consequential.
The new antiliberals are not wrong to worry about the dire state of American politics and culture. But they persistently fail to adequately ask, much less clearly answer, three pressing questions that must be part of any adequate treatment of the problem, and they virtually ignore the thoughtful conservative alternatives to antiliberalism that do address these questions.
Reflecting on the experiences behind #MeToo teaches us that something is deeply broken at the heart of the sexual revolution.
Stephen Greenblatt’s new book is broad-ranging, accessibly written, and nominally dedicated to an interesting topic: tyranny in the work of William Shakespeare. Unfortunately, too much of the author’s energy is dedicated to expressing disdain for a particular contemporary politician in a way that detracts from his declared purpose.
The progressive left is working to overcome what it perceives as the out-of-date premises of the Judeo-Christian ethic previously reflected in scouting.
Rumors of God’s death may have been greatly exaggerated, but the prevalence of a materialistic philosophy that cannot give an adequate account of human freedom and moral responsibility has put in jeopardy many of the core ideas at the base of our civilization. Without metaphysics we are left simply with physics, and physics is about power, leverage, and force.
Loving America well means taking her seriously—working to preserve what is lovely about her and to fix what is not.
The title of Yuval Noah Harari’s book, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, is misleading. While the book uses a future-oriented rhetoric, it is actually less about the future than it is about what the author takes to be the nature of life itself: namely, that we are all just bundles of algorithms.
How would you answer the basic question of philosophical anthropology: What does it mean to be human? How does that answer affect your life?
Those who believe they are living in a created cosmos inhabit a different psychological world from those living after the death of God. Those whose identity is rooted in the divine order of existence are divided from those whose identity is self-created.
The US National Soccer Team’s rainbow jerseys are provoking and inflaming the controversies of sexual politics. Soccer’s governing bodies should follow their own rules, which were designed to foster inclusivity, and ban political rainbow jerseys in international play.
For the sake of boys and the families they must eventually lead, we must open our hearts and quit attempting to thrust upon them an unnatural and uninspiring commitment to sexual indifference.
The last great sexual sin of our time is not related to any specific sex act or forbidden partner. The greatest sexual sin of our time is not a sin of commission but of omission: the sin of not doing it at all.
By calling our attention to the Founders’ political theory of the family, Thomas West’s new book leads us to ask whether a secular theory of natural rights and natural law can sustain the moral ecology necessary for self-government. If a secular natural-rights republic cannot sustain the family, it would seem to be neither a good nor attractive political theory.
We can’t afford to live without physicians who are devoted to always healing and caring, and never harming. Requesting physician-assisted suicide, like legalizing it, erodes that devotion. A refusal to ask, even on the part of those not committed to the inviolability of human life, helps sustain that devotion.
Please use your influence as a major donor to persuade the Southern Policy Law Center to amend its embittering and unproductive campaigns to label any political or social issue opponent as a hate group. Although controversial, organizations that fight to protect the unborn and strengthen families are not motivated by hate. Vilifying them only worsens our toxic and polarized political climate.
If we want a different politics, ultimately we must offer a different moral imagination for ourselves, our children, and theirs.
Patrick Deneen poses good questions but begs others. The second installment in the Public Discourse symposium on Why Liberalism Failed.
Patrick Deneen’s Why Liberalism Failed is a provocative attempt to explain what’s wrong with our culture, how this came to be, and what might be done about it. Although his historical account of liberalism is unpersuasive, he offers a prescient analysis of the current moment and insightful prescriptions for constructive action.
Facebook or Google taking over the world is a distant, speculative fear. Being harassed, humiliated, shunned and unemployed are immediate fears. We increasingly live in a digital panopticon ruled as much by mobs as by the overseers.
With the recent decision to drop “Boy” from their fabled name, the Boy Scouts undermine the very foundation for their existence and exacerbate our society’s confusion about sexual difference and gender distinction.
According to previous papal teaching, a Catholic confessional state is the ideal, even if in most modern situations it’s not a practical possibility, and prudence would steer us away from it. That teaching continues to be normative for Catholics.
Clear moral norms are crucial. But to be effective, those norms need to be embodied in moral communities and social practices, habituated in the virtues, and animated by a conviction that they are an essential part of human flourishing. We must create social structures and communities in which intellectual training and moral formation in the virtues can happen.