human nature

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 [...]

The Meaning of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”

As we celebrate once again the anniversary of our nation’s Declaration of Independence, we can rightfully take pride in its recognition that all men are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These words remind those in government, not just in this country [...]

Our Allies in the War to Come

As the Great Wall of Chinese communism begins to show signs of crumbling into a long overdue dilapidation, a billion people will be readier than they have ever been to hear the Good News of Christ. At the same time they will meet the immense force of the anti-evangelist, the advertiser, the marketer of western [...]

Abolishing the Moral Order

In The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis argued that all the celebratory talk about man’s increasing ability to control nature had a dark side in which some men took control over other men with nature as the instrument. But, so long as the Judeo-Christian understanding of man was dominant, it would be difficult for tyrants [...]

Personal Identity is Not Chosen

Brexit and the Trump movement, with their emphasis on the decisive importance of national identity, show that explicit identity politics has spread to all points of the political compass. That's not surprising, since identity is radically contested today. The questions relate not only to who gets placed where, or the common concerns of this group or [...]

Tradition: A Guide for Better Living

Last month I suggested that the most effective argument for taking human nature, natural law, and natural human goods seriously is that doing so leads to a better way of life. It's not hard to see why it should. People do not in fact invent their own ways of life. They're too social, and the world is [...]

The Advantages of Natural Law Over Ideological Fantasies

Last month I noted that Catholics, along with presenting the Faith, should try vigorously to make natural law more visible in public discussion. But how? The very idea of natural law provokes incomprehension today. It favors principles that aren't engineered or controlled, so they don't fit into a technological understanding of rationality. Even worse, it means [...]

Why Natural Law is a Superior Guide to Life

Catholics talk about natural law, but what’s it all about? Basically, it’s a system of principles that guides human life in accordance with our nature and our good, insofar as those can be known by natural reason. It thereby promotes life the way it evidently ought to be, based on what we are and how [...]

How “Progress” Led to the Dehumanization of Man

The controversy over a Super Bowl ad for a snack chip that allegedly “humanized,” of all things, a pre-born human being highlights the deliberate rejection of reality of the “abortion rights” objectors. On its face, as others have noted, the controversy exposes the pernicious obfuscation that a fetus is nothing more than a “meaningless blob [...]

Sexual Dysfunction: The Latest Progressive Imposition

What will be the outcome of the social and legal changes that have led to the recent Supreme Court holding that fundamental constitutional principle requires the sex of the parties to be treated as irrelevant to marriage? We can’t be sure of all the details. Yogi Berra points out that “it’s tough to make predictions, especially [...]

One More Nail in the Coffin

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on gay “marriage,” the culture of atomic eros, claims to reign triumphant and looks forward to forming our culture in the decades ahead. But, all persons of good will have a moral obligation to resist its march, and so I want to remind us of four [...]

The Left vs. Human Nature

The Left does not like the idea of human nature. It tells them they are not free to do what they want. From a factual perspective, it tells them people do not change much, so the way things were in the past is mostly how they will be in the future. From a moral perspective, [...]

Pope Francis Defends Human Nature Against Gender Radicals

Disappointing progressives yet again, Pope Francis has now condemned contemporary gender theory as denying “the order of creation.” In an interview published in a new book, Pope Francis: This Economy Kills, by Andrea Tornielli and Giacomo Galeazzi, (portions of which were also published last month in the Italian daily La Stampa), Pope Francis appears to reject [...]

Does Doctrine Matter?

Man is a rational animal. That doesn’t mean he’s always reasonable, but it does mean that his actions are guided by what he believes about the world and how it hangs together. Reality comes first for him, or at least it should and often does. That is one reason love of God—of the Most Real [...]

Normality is Not Hatred

Very recently the view that homosexuality is entirely normal has become not only widespread but compulsory in secular public discussion. Leaders of thought tell us the change has been part of a general deepening of moral insight and improvement in the art of living. The older outlook oppressed millions out of fear, bigotry, and ignorance. [...]

The Recovery of Human Nature

Like other living things, human beings have a distinct nature as beings of a particular kind. We have conditions we try to bring about, conditions that help us thrive, and characteristic ways of acting, responding to events, and dealing with others. All these points are obvious. Nonetheless, if you mention human nature in public discussion [...]

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 [...]

Who’s to Blame for Human Depravity?

If ever you find yourself about to be eaten by an alligator, or sat upon by a hippopotamus, it is probably not a good idea to appeal to the better angels of their nature in hopes of securing your release.  In the first place, there are no better angels lurking about the animal world, nature [...]

Hatred of Nature: Hatred of Sex

The state legislature of California has passed a bill to protect self-identification in matters of class and race.  If a child in a public school identifies himself as the Prince of Pasadena, and dresses and behaves accordingly, then he must be addressed as such by the teachers and his fellow students.  Special care is to [...]

Odium Naturae: The Thread of Madness

In the 1980’s, at the height of his influence among American bishops, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago, alluding to the robe of Jesus for which the Roman soldiers cast lots, proposed that Catholics treat a host of political issues as one.  The “seamless garment” of respect for human life, for the Cardinal, implied opposition to [...]

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