emotivism (subjective emotion)

The New Secular Puritan Covenant

Thanksgiving brings back memories for Americans of the Pilgrims and Puritans, carrying out their “errand into the wilderness” to build a “city on a hill,” surviving that first bleak Massachusetts winter of 1620-21. As a kid, I remember that cutting out Puritan hats from black construction paper and taping them to the school windows was [...]

How to Overcome Nonfactual Emotional “Arguments”

In his essay “Why No Civility is Possible Today,” Fr. James V. Schall, S.J. writes that, “A common good can be worked out among those citizens who may prudentially disagree on this or that point of policy.” It is necessary for citizens to come together and debate because there is almost never one single way [...]

Why Cultural Renewal Requires a Restoration of Meaning

One of the most common attitudes I encounter with today’s college students is a kind of blasé non-judgmentalism—or, worse, a passively nihilistic relativism. They are reluctant to label any behavior or belief bad, even if, in the most extreme thought experiments, it involves killing innocents. This attitude seems to get worse every year; it’s as [...]

Is Catechesis Possible in a Narcissistic Age?

Millennials—who most researchers and commentators identify as that generation born from the early 1980s to 2000—may grow weary of hearing their parents and grandparents say, “Young people today seem more self-centered than in my day,” but their forebears are right. Their narcissism, in comparison to past generations, has been empirically verified in the work of [...]

Feeling Good vs. Doing Good

How do you explain the fact that so many people support disastrous public policies? According to polls, a majority of young people want Bernie Sanders to be the next president. Yet socialist policies of the type advocated by Sanders reliably lead to basket-case economies such as in Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea. Likewise, the welcoming [...]

The Origins of Modern Materialism

In The Merchant of Venice, Portia famously describes and praises the quality of mercy. I probably recall this monologue readily because I had to commit it to memory for recitation when I was a freshman in high school. Forty nine years after my entry into high school and three-hundred-ninety-four years after the death of Shakespeare, [...]

The Ongoing Dictatorship of Relativism

On March 22, 2013, Pope Francis addressed the Diplomatic Corps with a warning against the “tyranny of relativism.” He then explained his selection of the name Francis as in part stemming from St. Francis’ battle for peace, a peace which Pope Francis underscored was impossible without Truth. The necessary struggle for truth not only remains [...]

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