cultural / political elite

virtue signaling

Virtue Signaling is the Opposite of Virtue

On April 12, the attorney general of California, Xavier Becerra, said that North Carolina will remain on the list of states to which California employees may not travel using state money. The reason for the ban is simple: California wants you to know how virtuous it is. In other words, the state is virtue signaling. [...]

The Abuse of Science Leads to Liberal Social Engineering

A couple of months ago I commented on how modern ways of thinking make it hard to understand human life. I didn't say so specifically, but a big part of the problem has to do with the relation between law and freedom. The problem comes up in the scientific approach to knowledge. Scientists pursuing their investigations view [...]

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 [...]

The Church and Divisive, Exclusionary Globalism

Everyone seems to agree that today there's a growing gap between rich and poor, rulers and ruled, the center and the margins, elites and populace. The gap is economic, of course, but more importantly it's social, cultural, and even spiritual. The New York Times, for example, recently admitted the obvious, that they and the rest [...]

A Catholic Populism?

Populist movements are making striking gains throughout the Western world. Causes are not hard to find. Recent decades have seen widening social, economic, and cultural differences between ordinary people, who prefer what they are used to, and elites, who favor the global order now emerging, which is run in accordance with their outlook and interests. [...]

A Turning Point in the Culture War?

Is the social revolution approaching its Thermidor, the point at which its progress stops or reverses? It's difficult to be optimistic, but recent developments raise the possibility. Until very recently, effective opposition to globalism, open borders, and lifestyle liberalism—that is, for traditional local ties over global markets, regulatory bureaucracies, and recent understandings of human rights—had [...]

Some Consciences Count More Than Others

On Friday, January 20 at 12 o’clock noon, Donald J. Trump will become the 45th president of the United States. Rarely in modern times has a presidential succession generated such polarized division, though I can imagine that the advent of Thomas Jefferson in 1801, Andrew Jackson in 1829, and especially Abraham Lincoln in 1861 might rival [...]

The Evaporation of Truth

Everyone agrees that public discussion has become divorced from reality. On the hard left people talk about capitalist propaganda, while the soft left, including most respectable journalists, complains about conspiracy theories, truthiness, fake news, and the post-truth era. At the same time, conservatives protest media omissions, distortions, falsehoods, and narratives, while the far right grabs [...]

What is Progressive Derangement Syndrome?

I noted recently that educated and well-placed people today tend toward a stripped-down view of man and society that redefines family, religious, and communal ties as private preferences, thereby erasing their public importance. The effect is to promote exclusive reliance on the social authority of bureaucratic and commercial arrangements. The existence and sentimentalization of non-binding private [...]

Sam Alone Stands Against the Leviathan

Well, I must eat some of my words about the newly-minted nineteen-year-old Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP), Sam Oosterhoff, here in Ontario, and I will give credit where credit is due, in short order. First, the background: On November 28th, here in Canada, the provincial government of Ontario voted into law Bill 28, the ominously [...]

In Denial about Islam

“The times they are a-changing.”  ∼ Bob Dylan Rival gangs battle in the streets and set fire to cars. Uncovered women are considered fair game. Molotov cocktails are hurled at police stations. Syria? No, Sweden. For a long time, Sweden has been importing Middle Eastern immigrants into its small nation, and now it is experiencing many [...]

A Reflection on the Requirements for Political Office

Politics is a curious business, and not just in the United States as the Big Day approaches: Here in Ontario, Canada, about a four hour drive from where I live, a 19-year-old Brock University political science student, Sam Oosterhoff, was just chosen as the upcoming candidate for the riding of Niagara West-Glanbrook, and could well [...]

Time for Christians to Unplug from Our Secular Culture

Editor’s note: The following talk, originally titled “Remembering Who We Are and the Story We Belong To,” was delivered October 19, 2016 at the 2016 Bishops’ Symposium co-sponsored by the USCCB Committee on Doctrine and the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame and is published here with permission of the [...]

The Sacking of the West

If you’re looking for a good reason to vote Clinton this November, let me point you in the direction of this video. Movie director Joss Whedon has set up an organization dramatically labeled Save the Day, and is making some short videos staring an assortment of celebrities, mostly from his Avengers movies, with a few [...]

How Globalism Marginalizes Religious Communities

I recently commented on the current emphasis on marginalization as a central moral issue, and said the tendency should not be idealized. Its basic effect, I suggested, is to support the movement toward an administratively integrated system covering the whole of social and economic life, and thus the interests of the bureaucrats and billionaires who [...]

Radicalizing Diversity: A Globalist Moral Imperative

Words like “exclusion” and “marginalization” have become central to high-end and high-visibility discussions of moral and social issues. To all appearances, those who are most visible, vocal, and well-placed now feel called upon to show special concern for those who are least so. Why is that? A common view is that our leaders, along with [...]

The ABA’s Attempt to Muzzle Lawyers

We hear more and more about the attack on conscience rights in the health care and counseling professions: the Obama administration early on moved to reverse federal protections from health care workers having to take part in morally objectionable procedures; Washington State’s requirement (sustained by the U.S. Supreme Court) that pharmacies sell abortifacients; the new [...]

Should We Rely on Good Sense or Expertise?

In public discussion today, expertise has acquired the authority once held by good sense. The change reflects a change in attitudes toward society and politics. Educated, influential, and well-placed people now want a society run by global markets, financial institutions, and public administration based on supposedly neutral expertise. As such people's response to Brexit shows, [...]

The Gnosticism of Barack Obama

Eric Voegelin, one of the great political philosophers of the last century (1901-1985), professed no religion, but he recognized its falsifications. After extensively studying early Christianity, he found “Gnosticism” to render intelligible certain twentieth century movements like Nazism. Gnosticism, as he understood it, spins an ideology within which all reality becomes refashioned and so falsified. Gnosticism [...]

What Benedict Could Teach the USCCB About Muslim Dialogue

I write frequently about the danger of Islamization in the U.S.—the incremental spread of Islamic law and culture that culminates in Islamic dominance. Many people, no doubt, consider that to be an unrealistic fear—about as likely as a takeover by shape-shifting aliens. After all, Muslims make up a relatively small proportion of the population. Besides, [...]

Christianity: An Antidote to Tyranny

Like all modern tyrants, Karl Marx hated religion, Christianity in particular, because he understood that it was going to be very difficult if not impossible to get men to follow him so long as they continued to follow Jesus Christ, and so the first thing an aspiring tyrant in the middle of Christian Europe needed [...]

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