The Witherspoon InstituteCollege & University in Princeton, New Jersey
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.
One would think that a politician like Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who aspires to national office on a message of unity and inclusion, would push his party toward common ground—like the common ground that the Women’s Care Center occupies. Why, then, would he veto this pregnancy center’s zoning request?
The seminar will help students to understand the natural law public philosophy that was an essential part of the principles of the American Founding.
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If we want a different politics, ultimately we must offer a different moral imagination for ourselves, our children, and theirs. I hope more professors of literature, music, theater, and teachers and parents of children will read my book, and help in turn to tutor the political theorists.
That liberty, more than any other, must terrify the worldling of the liberal on the left and the liberal on the right. That liberty does more than acknowledge a duty. It flings itself abroad when there is no duty; it binds itself foolishly in love; it is the freedom of a promise never to be retracted or hedged; the adventurous liberty of devotion, whereby man responds to and even imitates the grace of God.
Rightly lived lives and communities are important. But so is rightly ordered thought. Can natural law invest liberal institutions with the coherent philosophical foundations that liberalism cannot? That’s a question I hope Deneen and other critics of liberal order will, at some point, systematically address. Because, whatever the answer, it’s a question that really matters.
Patrick Deneen’s Why Liberalism Failed is a provocative portrayal of how this ancient tension has played out in liberal modernity, especially in the United States. Deneen’s primary thesis is not only that American society has come to be completely dominated by the devil’s version of freedom, but that it was orchestrated that way from the beginning by the founders of modernity and the United States. John Locke was the serpent in America’s garden.
But with the ecclesial impulses of the “emergent” and “new monastic” crowd already fading, what can keep today’s young searchers in the fold? Only, I think, a dawning or renewed recognition that their own questing puts them squarely in the lineage of martyrs, mystics, monastics, and the whole “cloud of witnesses.” Only the solidarity that comes as we see that our own hearts’ impulses for God are the same impulses that drove every Christian generation’s quest, from the spiritual warfare of the desert fathers, to the spiritual and theological odysseys of Augustine and Aquinas, to the communal disciplines of the Benedictines, to the impassioned born-again activism of the early modern Pietists and Puritans.
We are afraid of tech titans and their minions, but we are even more afraid of each other. Living in a mob-run panopticon makes prisoners and rage monkeys of us all. But we do not have to live in the Panopticon. There is an easy way to combat the social media moguls and online mobs: Delete your account.
It’s time for Christians to partner with conservative Muslims and others who share traditional views on key social issues. And American Muslims should leave behind their lockstep alliance with the social justice left.
It is wrong to see the goals of the pro-life movement as being in competition with the need to address continuing manifestations of racism. Those who fight for life and against racism fight for the same thing.
Rather, it is to recognize that virtues in men manifest themselves in uniquely male ways. Girls demonstrate virtues in uniquely female ways. There was a time when the Boy Scouts were the organization that fostered healthy gender distinctions in America. This is why a counterpart organization arose to do the same for females—the Girl Scouts. Having groups that acknowledge these realities protects the integrity and uniqueness of boyhood and girlhood.
Like King Solomon, the courts in England were presented with a straightforward question: To whom does this child belong? In both cases, the true parent was unquestionably the one willing to sacrifice for the child, to safeguard his life even at the expense of never seeing him again, while the “false mother” did not care whether the child lived or died.
Nowhere in Dignitatis humanae (and nowhere in any Council document) is separation of the Church and the state formally affirmed. In fact, in §6, the only place in the declaration where confessional states are explicitly addressed, there is no call for disestablishment. The Council merely says that the freedom of the non-established religions in such states should be effectively recognized.
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.
My students are rightly repulsed by the story of these “ordinary men,” often reporting that it is their least favorite reading in the course. They prefer the story about the little village in France that saved Jews. Their responses to the tragedy, however, are not reassuring. The crass rationalizations of some of the policeman simply deepen their skepticism about the value of moral arguments. And in accord with the widespread “moral individualism” of our culture, they often claim that what this story shows is that people should never conform to any authority but their own.
This is where we need a “Moneyball” revolution. As the Sexual Left understands, winning key races like the one in Pennsylvania (or losing key races like the ones in North Carolina or Virginia) sends a message and affects the way issues are debated across the country. A small investment in an important race like the Pennsylvania governor’s race can create a narrative and change the way politics is done, which represents an incredible return on investment that nonpolitical spending simply can’t match.