Liberal Intolerance

james-k-a-smith

Christians Who Shill for the Secular Left

Posted outside my office door is an old cartoon. A bearded professor wearing sandals and carrying a backpack leads a group of wide-eyed undergrads into a land labeled “utopia.” As they merrily march along, they pass an exodus of escaping humanity, fleeing an ash-strewn landscape amid scattered bodies and smoldering ruins. “Isn’t this great?” the [...]

The Iron-Fisted Tyranny of Political Correctness

In the span of a few years, the dictatorship of relativism has given way to the tyranny of political correctness. Under the first regime, universal truth was supplanted by personal truth; under the current one, it is exchanged for outright falsehood. Consider the rise of statements such as, Sexual orientation is inborn and fixed. Gender [...]

Judging Religion by the Actions of its Adherents

Throughout the centuries, one of the biggest sources of crises of faith has been the ignoble, hypocritical behavior of Christians. Józef Tischner, a Polish priest, philosopher, and Solidarity chaplain, once said that he never met anyone who lost his or her faith by reading Marx or Lenin, but he knew many who had lost it [...]

Pro-Life Counseling Becomes Illegal in France

France, the land of the French Revolution, of liberty, fraternity, and equality, is displaying few of these qualities these days. Not that the French revolutionaries ever did in their time. They guillotined those who belonged to the wrong class, the wrong (i.e. losing) political party, those adhering to Church and King and ultimately each other. [...]

What Happened to American Liberalism?

In an obscure article entitled “Catholics and Liberals: Decline of Détente,” in America magazine in 1974, the eminent Catholic scholar and historian James Hitchcock discussed a profound change that had occurred in American liberalism and argued that its new thinking put it increasingly at odds with Catholicism. Hitchcock was one of a number of writers [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Attack on TV Couple Recalls a Chik-Fil-A Story of Solidarity

As I clicked through and read the outrage-mongering BuzzFeed article that launched the sham controversy over the personal beliefs of Chip and Joanna Gaines, co-hosts of the show “Fixer Upper” on HGTV, I was transported back to 2012, and another event that prompted national outcry against the alleged enemies of diversity, tolerance, and open-mindedness. On [...]

Canada’s Boldest Professor Defies the Gender Police

Professor Jordan B. Peterson has made headlines all over Canada for the past couple months. He is in a dogfight for freedom of speech against what he calls the unreasonable demands of “radical left ideologues” at the University of Toronto (U of T) where he teaches and across Canada where gay activists exert an excessive [...]

Ideology is the Enemy of True Faith

Events at the college where I teach have me thinking about the ersatz religion known as ideology. What are the signs that mark the difference between believing in God and asserting that if only everyone on earth would accept, let us say, the gender ideology of the secular west, we would bring about a golden [...]

Wikileaks Reminds Us Why the Left Opposes Catholicism

When Wikileaks recently dumped the cache of emails featuring Clinton staffers and allies mocking Catholics, and plotting a revolutionary “Catholic Spring,” I was neither shocked nor outraged. Granted, it is a little irritating to discover that the agenda-makers on the left look at you as though you were something they had just fished out of [...]

US Civil Rights Commission Targets Religious Liberty

On September 7, 2016, the US Commission on Civil Rights issued a report entitled Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties. The report has not received the attention it deserves. Should the next president appoint and the Senate approve judges and justices that agree with its findings, the report will serve as a playbook [...]

What Will You Do When the Persecution Comes?

I know there are plenty of Catholics who are, in one way or another, looking forward to the relentless institutional persecution that is coming our way unless we surrender the One Thing Needful to the secular left, and that is the family-destroying and state-feeding beast called the Sexual Revolution, with its seven heads and ten [...]

About Those Unthinking, Backward Catholics

Back in 2008, in the weeks leading up to the Obama-McCain presidential election, two young men visited me in Denver. They were from Catholics United, a group describing itself as committed to social justice issues. They voiced great concern at the manipulative skill of Catholic agents for the Republican Party. And they hoped my brother [...]

Love Your Enemy, But Know Him Too

In the mid-1990s the philosopher Norman Geras published a short book on the “ungroundable liberalism” of Richard Rorty. Geras was annoyed that many of Rorty’s relativist fellow travelers were some of the same people demanding “social justice” of one sort or another based on claims about reality they took to be self-evidently true (e.g. “The [...]

How to Curtail Judicial Activism

I hear frequently in this year’s election campaign that Supreme Court appointments should be the key consideration in the choice between the presidential candidates. That’s certainly understandable, and perhaps true. It reflects, however, an unfortunate attitude—widespread and deeply ingrained in the American psyche—that the Court is somehow the ultimate, sovereign institution in the United States. [...]

Totalitarians of the World, Unite!

Whenever I'm in a diner or a family restaurant, I look around for the most cheerful thing in any day's experience, and that's a young husband and wife and their children. Today the two children sitting with their parents at the table next to us were a baby boy and his four-year-old brother. The four [...]

The Regensburg Address and Western Secular Intolerance

On Sunday, we observed the fifteenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Monday, September 12, marked the tenth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s famous Regensburg Address. Although the controversy about this brief talk centered on the Pope’s comments about Islam and violence, the pontiff’s main critique was aimed, not at Islam, but at the West. [...]

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 [...]

A Civics Lesson from a Zulu King

The chaos of the present election cycle calls to mind a story about the great African king, Shaka (1787-1828), the founder of Southern Africa's Zulu Empire. It is told that Shaka lamented the slowness of his warriors when they entered into battle. To remedy the problem, he ordered them to take off their sandals to [...]

On State Boycotts: An Open Letter to North Carolina

Born and raised in the Grand Canyon State, where I still reside, I have been where you North Carolinians are now—a few times. So, at the outset, let me encourage you to hold fast to the wisdom of Scripture and common sense which nowhere sanctions men using women’s bathrooms under any circumstances. Like North Carolina, [...]

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