Cultural Decline

The Sexual Revolution Turns Ugly

How many intellectuals have come to the revolutionary party via the path of moral indignation, only to connive ultimately at terror and autocracy? ∼ Raymond Aron The Sexual Revolution is now out of control. Initially promising freedom, like all revolutions, it has entered something like its Reign of Terror phase and is devouring its own children. As with [...]

Questions in the Aftermath of the Las Vegas Shooting

While there is not so much mention of it in the media anymore, the American public is still reeling from the inexplicable massacre in Las Vegas, the largest mass murder in history in a country where mass murders of innocent people have become far too common. Some of the usual responses came from the usual [...]

Why Nothing is Sacred Anymore

Recently, the word sacred was in the news, when White House Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly lamented the fact that nothing is sacred anymore, especially in light of the brouhaha over the president’s phone call to a soldier’s widow. “When I was a kid growing up,” he said, “a lot of things were sacred [...]

Submission

Submission. That’s what the word “Islam” means. Muslims must submit to Allah, and the rest of the world must eventually submit to Islam. Submission does not necessarily require conversion, but it does require that one acknowledge the superiority of Islam, pay the jizya tax, and, in general, keep one’s head down. Europe is currently in [...]

An Explanation for the Bewildered

Gather round, my children. Perhaps I should have explained this before Charlottesville and Berkeley, though I never thought you would hear me. Years ago you read this poem. You said you didn’t understand it, but really you were just having too much fun in those days to pay it much attention: Turning and turning in [...]

The Day the Music Died

One day, out of curiosity, I Googled “symphony orchestras in the Muslim world.” The results were rather dismal. One site—“About Symphony Orchestras in the Arab World”—contained the following (badly translated) information: Symphony of Saudi Arabia: “Non-existent…” The Orchestra of Emirate of Qatar: “This orchestra has no clear identity…100% of foreign elements” [i.e., none of the [...]

The Power of Three Simple Words: We Want God

Modern political discourse is in a sad state today. Ideas are now crafted in sound bites, tweets and slogans to appeal to a world absorbed by the frenetic intemperance of instant messaging. Speech has become dominated by empty rhetoric and posturing. Expressing oneself is complicated by political correctness that suppresses common sense and objective truth. [...]

Sirius-XM Sexualizes and Politicizes Classical Music

One of the cherished respites in my life is the Symphony Hall channel on Sirius-XM Radio. It’s a getaway, an oasis, a safe-space from the political madness and cultural insanity ruining so much of everyday life. When I need to escape the nattering news cycles, the toxic noise, the gagging cultursmog, the Symphony Hall channel [...]

Is It Immodest to Wear Deliberately Ripped Clothes?

Perhaps one of the more sensitive personal issues you can raise with people is that of dress. How you dress has become a purely personal affair. Most are left to their own opinion as to what is appropriate. There are, of course, some limits. Most Catholics will admit in theory that there is something that [...]

Is the Benedict Option the Answer to Neo-Barbarianism?

At a recent talk, I compared our days to the times of the barbarian invasions and the fall of the Roman Empire. It is a fairly common comparison that applies to decadent societies like our own. In the end, I highlighted the need to continue to fight the Culture War and thus oppose the neo-barbarians [...]

Hope in a Time of Captivity and Persecution

In reading the latest essay by Paul Kengor in Crisis, I was taken aback in learning about James K. A. Smith’s misguided and mean-spirited attack on Rod Dreher, Anthony Esolen, and Archbishop Charles Chaput, whose recent books, among other things, offer the self-evident thesis: American culture is going to hell on a hand basket. As [...]

Can Trumpian Populism Restore the Culture?

Like all good Catholics, I hope very much that President Donald Trump follows through on his promises to pro-life Americans. It looks as though he will follow through in appointing a pro-life Supreme Court justice; obviously this is a tremendous blessing. Despite that, regular Crisis readers may recall that I have never harbored enthusiasm for [...]

Who Will Endure the Coming Persecution?

During the days when David was king (1010-970 BC), the leaders of the tribe of Issachar were lauded because they “were endowed with an understanding of the times and … knew what Israel had to do…” (I Chron. 13:33). Jesus rebuked the crowds for not understanding their present age: they knew how to predict the [...]

A Torah Scholar Helps Explain the Age Of Foolishness

Maybe it takes a Torah scholar and religious Jew to help us understand the roots of the inverted values that animate Western civilization. For over ten years, author and radio talk show host Dennis Prager taught the first five books of the Bible verse-by-verse at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. According to Prager [...]

True and False Freedom

It has been said before but it bears repeating: the progressive ethos of liberation of all, from all, is death. The progressive worldview has at its core but a single guiding principle—libertinism; that man should endure no restraints and suffer no constraints save those that upon himself he enforces. In a word, he should be [...]

The New Ignorance Far Worse than the Old

“Education,” wrote Malcolm Muggeridge fifty years ago, “the great fraud and mumbo-jumbo of the age,” had not brought to the mass of men the best that has been done and thought and said, but rather spread ignorance and folly across the land. Muggeridge understood, though he did not feel he needed to say so explicitly, [...]

Desperate America

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” True in Thoreau’s age, perhaps, not so much in ours. It seems the decibels of desperation have increased since Henry David’s days near Walden Pond. And not decibels only, but desperation. Nowadays we take our desperation at alarmingly acceptable rates. How often we merely “consume” media [...]

The Mass and the Recovery of Transcendence

Imagine a young woman named “Kathryn” taking a morning bus ride to a major metropolitan area where she works as a middle manager in a successful graphic arts company. It is the day after the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of same-sex “marriage” and about three years after the Court upheld the vote of [...]

“The Boss” Praised by Men Who Think They Are Women

As everyone in America knows by now, the old rocker Bruce Springsteen has canceled a concert in North Carolina, because the state passed a law preserving the status quo ante as of ten seconds ago, which is that men empty their bowels in the men’s room and not in the ladies’ room. It should be [...]

Courageous Leadership Is Needed to Reverse Secular Trends

However unpleasant this might feel, it’s time for American Catholics to acknowledge that over the past decade, a tsunami wave of aggressive secularism has swept across the United States. This is confirmed both by sociological data, and a disturbing secularist trend in politics in this age of Obama and Obergefell v. Hodges. There is, however, [...]

The Decline of the West

According to the German Catholic philosopher Josef Pieper, the "wisdom of the West" expresses the sum total of what man “ought to” be. This wisdom was then discredited and rejected in the Modern era, and so is largely unavailable to post-modern man, who bobs along in the wake of Modernism, which has largely discredited itself. Here [...]

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