If our pursuit of simplicity is not informed by the concept of Christian charity, focusing on mere minimalism will come up short. Too often, we cling to our “stuff” out of a desire for security. This failure to trust in God’s providence results in attachment to our earthly possessions that distracts us from more valuable eternal things: our faith and our duty to love and care for others.
Pillar: Education & Culture
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.
The alternative to the ideology of radical self-sufficiency is not reliance on the state, but the kind of community-based brotherly love and mutual aid that could be found even during midwestern American farmers’ darkest days. In the end, neither individuals nor governments, but communities, are the real vehicles for peace, harmony, and human flourishing.
Reading recommendations from The Witherspoon Institute staff.
Though its practitioners may be well-intentioned, comprehensive sex education does not offer a solution to sexual exploitation. On the contrary, it is part of the problem, since it fails to develop students’ capacity to differentiate between genuine love and sexual exploitation.
In the midst of a Church sex abuse scandal, many serious questions arise about the Church’s relationship to civil authorities. Any question of the state’s role or the freedom of the Church is obviously secondary to the moral urgency of ensuring that children are kept safe. Now is the time for the Church to contend deeply and thoroughly with its sins and to build structures consistent with the call to holiness.
In a time when “safetyism” dominates many college campuses, the United States Military Academy at West Point can serve as a useful case study, offering important lessons in how to combat coddling in academia more broadly.
In the popular imagination, both Jewish and Gentile, the story of Chanukah is the saga of outnumbered but plucky Jews battling the more numerous and nefarious Greeks and their alien culture. In truth, it’s about much more than that.
True peace is not merely the absence of struggle or strife. Only through engaging with one another in debate and even disagreement can we arrive at the highest truths.
If by “objectivity” we mean approaching social research with no pre-commitments and no need for interpretive work, then true objectivity is impossible. Still, sociology should not be merely a vehicle for enacting a particular moral and political vision. It should be the systematic, disciplined pursuit of the truth about human social life.
We must have the fortitude to exorcise the shrill voices and influence of the angry mob from our souls. Parents, educators, and clergy: be wise, good, and courageous, and teach your children and students to be the same.
The fortieth anniversary of the Jonestown massacre should remind us to beware of utopian causes with totalitarian methods, on either political extreme. Though they promise social justice, they only deliver deadly power.
Given our splintered, irresolute wills, Alan Jacobs’s concept of thinking that “we can do better,” even if “we ought to,” is not enough. It’s going to take more than hope and a checklist.
Tolkien not only imagined heroes, glory, and splendor for us, but depicted hope after ruin and tragedy.
Instrumentum Laboris points to a church that seems to be losing sight of sin, redemption, grace, faith, the sacraments, and eternal destiny. The Catholic Church could well be exchanging her theological birthright for a Mass of sociological potage.
Aristotle described three types of friendship. In a season of increased polarization and even calls for incivility from national political leaders, perhaps we need a fourth.
If there is one thing that the prophets of egalitarian ideology cannot abide, it is the true and sincere believer in normativity—the person who judges that we are, each and every one of us, beholden to exercise our freedom in keeping with a higher law.
Those who value freedom of conscience and faith need to realize that the Orwellian Chinese system is not cartoonish hype: it’s a real system coming soon to a country near you.
Choose an institution that has adopted the Chicago Principles, and then learn how to shed light on the dark corners of inquiry, and of your own mind.
Christian Miller’s scientific approach to understanding moral character is impressive, and it allows him to reach a public that is inclined only to trust the empirical. Yet this method severely restricts the conclusions Miller feels justified to make.
Brown University researcher Lisa Littman has been attacked for publishing results that call into question the politically correct narrative about transgender youth.
Justice is something we must establish every day—in the way we live with others, in the way we speak humbly and attend to all the facts patiently, in deference to reality and the truth of things.
Jonah Goldberg makes a fundamental mistake by tossing out God in the opening sentence of his latest book, Suicide of the West.
The authors of two new books on reading agree: reading good literature well is not only enjoyable, it is also a veritable school of virtue. The pleasure to be gained by reading well is a skill that, like virtue itself, is achieved through practice.
Intellectual diversity, academic freedom, and freedom of speech are means to an end, the end of truth-seeking. If a university does not retain its traditional mission of seeking the truth through reasoned discourse, it will not remain committed to freedom of inquiry or freedom of speech.
September 11 should serve as a day of remembrance, but also as a day of reflection. We should reflect on the day, what it means to be an American, and how we can take up President Reagan’s charge to develop an “informed patriotism.”