Equality

ISIL: The gravest threat in Iraq and Syria

It’s Time to Take the Islamic State Seriously

Islam has no central or definitive body or figure authorized to define what exactly it is. Opinions about its essence and scope vary widely according to the political or philosophic background of its own interpreters. The current effort to establish an Islamic State, with a designated Caliph, again to take up the mission assigned to [...]

De Sales vs. Luther on Freedom and Religious Devotion

One of the major tenets of the Wittenberg Reforms implemented by Martin Luther in the early 1520s was his insistence on the equality of all men before God. A recognition of the “priesthood of all believers” was essential, according to Luther, to ensure proper respect for the rights of each individual person in regards to [...]

How to Form a Real Conscience

“For all I am of poet,” says the stranger to the two men climbing the mountain of Purgatory, the Aeneid was my mama and my nurse; without it, all my work weighs not a dram. And I'd content to spend an extra year— could I have lived on earth when Virgil lived— suffering for my [...]

Economic Inequality and the Hypocrisy of Power

That a French socialist economist is trashing the American economy for fomenting inequality should hardly be news. But Thomas Piketty is enjoying some moments in the popular press, before returning to the usual comfortable sinecure for the left—academia. Why? Well, we are told, economic inequality is on the march again, and must be stopped. Stopped [...]

Mark Shea’s Economic Inquisition

The topic of income inequality is popular not only among secular progressives but politically minded Catholics as well. If income inequality is a problem—and even libertarians would agree that it can be, depending on how the inequality comes about—the proposed solution is often for the government to “do something” about it, usually through confiscatory taxation [...]

Catholics: Increasingly a Dissident Minority

Pro Deo et Patria is the motto of the Army chaplaincy, and an English version of the phrase is part of the Boy Scout Oath and the Girl Scout Promise. The phrase is well chosen for those organizations. It’s a call for loyalty to the particular society in which we live, and to the moral [...]

Don’t Let Social Engineers Define Normality

The great political, social, and moral issue of the present day is the authority of the natural and normal. Accepting that authority means accepting a vernacular form of natural law, and thus a belief that the world has an innate way of functioning that is presumptively good. We can understand a great deal about that [...]

The Real Inequality in New York City

At the January 1 inauguration ceremony for New York City’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, the Rev. Frederick Lucas, pastor of the Brooklyn Community Church in Bedford-Stuyvesant, invoked God’s help to “let the plantation called New York City be the city of God.” While he was echoing Mayor de Blasio’s concerns about inequality, many denounced [...]

Subsidiarity: Why is It Praised More than It is Practiced?

Subsidiarity is a basic principle of Catholic social teaching. Like other such principles, it is praised more than practiced, because it is at cross purposes with the outlook that now governs our public life. It springs from concern for man in all his dimensions. Each of us participates in the human nature that is common [...]

Inclusiveness: Bad Religion and Bad Reason

In a recent piece in Crisis I argued that secular and rationalizing ways of thought applied to the social environment soon bring us to inclusiveness. Giving people what they want equally, which is the goal of a liberal technocratic society, includes giving them equal social positions. Inclusiveness is thus part of the modern effort to [...]

Inclusiveness: A Harmful Ideology

We hear a lot about inclusiveness, but the topic is never discussed analytically. The idea seems to be that it’s warm and fuzzy and what Jesus would do, so it’s obviously a good thing. The result is that our world is being remade for the sake of a goal that hasn’t been thought through. With [...]

Sex and the Public Order

Sex and the institutions, customs, and restraints related to it are basic to social order. That claim shouldn’t be controversial, and it’s odd that it has become so. Older political philosophers such as Aristotle, who viewed man as naturally social, found it self-evident to start their analysis of society with the union of man and [...]

The Good and Bad of Democracy

I’ve been rereading Alexis de Tocqueville’s masterful Democracy in America.  This book, written in the first half of the nineteenth century by a French aristocrat for his countrymen, remains standard reading for American college students and even some of their professors.  In a way it is too bad that we tend to read it as [...]

How Catholics Can Avoid Cooperating with Evil in Public Life

In a recent column, I suggested that the most important thing for Catholics to do politically is to present, argue for, and act on the Catholic understanding of human life. We are defined by our faith, which has to do with an understanding of God, man, and the world, and our goal as Catholics is [...]

Equality Run Amok

It is not news to sober-minded observers that for the last half-century, equality in the U.S. has gone off the rails—politically, legally, morally, and culturally. Tocqueville had foreseen the eclipsing of liberty by the desire for equality in democratic republics like ours, and nowadays we see it vividly and routinely. Not only is the liberty [...]

Women in Combat Decision Confirms the Irrationality of the Left

The Obama administration is making a major push to “fully integrate” women into the military, including most ground combat roles. This is the culmination of an effort that began with the rise of the current wave of feminism in the 1970s, and even though the range of problems with it were debated and aired fully [...]

On Unequal and Unjust Demands for Equality

Aristotle, that common sense fellow, defined justice as giving to each his due.  That definition admits of equality in inequality, in obvious ways.  The indulgence we allow a child we deny to a grown man; the familiarity with which we treat the paperboy might offend the elderly woman in church.  Each person is equally deserving [...]

Women in Combat: “Equality” and Ambition Over Privilege and Duty

Now that the military has finally surrendered in the face of relentless feminist pressure to allow women into combat, one might as well chalk up yet another battle in the culture wars won by the progressive Left. The rather cynically amusing thing about it is the tone of the articles in the mainstream media that [...]

The Long War Against the Family (Part III)

If you’ve been with us for the first two parts here and here, you’ll recall the three waves of attack against the family—(1) the assertion that marriage enslaves, (2) that children are a burden, and (3) that sexual difference is a fiction. How to respond? I’d like to conclude our short history by reflecting not [...]

Cultural Assimilation: A Threat to Catholic Identity

For the most part, American Catholics have wanted to be like other people. They arrived in America as immigrants from places where they had a definite (if sometimes lowly) position. They left that for a country where social positions were fluid, they would be held in contempt if they stayed as they were, and they [...]

Why the Liberal Welfare State Denies Catholic Freedom

A couple of months ago I wrote that the Church generally supports and cooperates with political authorities. She interprets their efforts charitably, supports whatever can be justified, and, when some particular measure is undeniably bad, tries to show what would be better. All that’s obvious good sense when Christian or natural law principles are generally [...]

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