liberalism

Metropolitan Hilarion meets Pope Francis March 20, 2013

What Would the Conversion of Russia Look Like?

For much of the twentieth century, Catholics around the world prayed after every Low Mass for the conversion of Russia. Called the Leonine Prayers, originally they were conceived as a protection of the sovereignty of the Papal States, which were then under attack. This intention ended with the Lateran Treaty of 1929 but the prayers [...]

Meriam Ibrahim and Contemporary Liberalism

On Thursday, July 31, the United States welcomed Meriam Ibrahim, refugee from Sudan, into our country. This story, as others regarding the treatment of Christians overseas, was under-covered by the media.  However, in a sort of carefully subdued and vague way, it was celebrated by freedom loving Americans of all political loyalties. Not wanting this [...]

Time to Abandon Comfort And Defend Essentials

The issues that now put Catholics in opposition to secular public thought are too basic to ignore. The Church accepts God as our reference point, and views freedom to develop our relation to Him and act by reference to it as basic to our good and our dignity. In contrast, secular society has made our [...]

Escape Egalitarian Tyranny with Socratic Questioning

Last month I discussed how the assumptions and language of public life today, which are based on commercial and bureaucratic concerns, are biased against Catholics. To make matters worse, the all-pervasive electronic media, increasing reliance on commerce and bureaucracy in everyday affairs, and changes in the purposes of formal education, along with its radical expansion, [...]

Is Pluralism a Threat to Catholic Survival?

With few exceptions, American Catholics have given up on the dream of a Catholic society. Instead, they have come to aspire to a seat at the table: a respected position in public life that lets them bring their insights and values into public discussion within a pluralistic system. At first glance the aspiration seems sensible. [...]

Transparency is Overrated—and So Is Government Regulation

 In most cases the only effective way we can hope to get a handle on that which plagues our public life is if our representatives choose to either ban the problematic behavior (e.g., smoking in public) or regulate it (e.g., ensuring Wall Street will not again take risks that will lead to taxpayer bailouts)—which is [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Bipartisanship, Compromise, and Leftist Ideological Imperatives

Many people complain about the “gridlock” in Washington and about how the two parties need to work together, compromise, and come to agreement about things. They decry the lack of bipartisanship. What they don’t realize is that the main culprit in this is the political left, which has gained almost complete control over the Democratic [...]

Conservatism: Its Meaning and Prospects

Conservatism at bottom is resistance to the technocratic project, the modern attempt to turn the social world into a sort of universal machine for the maximum satisfaction of preferences. That project has been growing up for a long time. It comes out of an understanding of knowledge and the world with its roots in the [...]

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 Perils of Liberal Moralism: On Syria and Thomas More

Law is inevitably informed by morality, but it is not the same thing as morality. When we forget this, when we insist that what is wrong must be unlawful, or that it must be lawful to punish every wrong, we undermine the rule of law. Robert Bolt teaches this lesson memorably in A Man for [...]

The Future of Marriage Reconsidered

Among American conservatives it seems to be common knowledge now that marriage is on the rocks. According to the Pew Research Center, just over half of American adults 18 and older are now married. This is a record low, and most indicators suggest that marriage is continuing to decline. In many demographics, co-habitation and illegitimacy [...]

Hopeful News from the Marriage Front

America is a pro-marriage country. After debating the value of matrimony for several decades, Americans have come down firmly in favor of tying the knot. Cue the wedding bells. Some readers may be scratching their heads at this point. That is understandable. No reasonable person could claim that the institution of marriage is healthy in [...]

Be Hopeful: The Lunacy Can’t Last Forever

In a recent piece published in Crisis I commented on the features of our public life that led the Supreme Court to assert that support for the natural definition of marriage is simply an attempt to harm people. One reader wrote to say he found the piece both convincing and horrific. He noted that it [...]

Conscience Freedoms Denied by Liberal Courts

Two recent court cases illustrate the incoherence and remarkable intolerance of “liberal” views regarding conscience. One involves the bottomless pockets of the atheist Michael Newdow, who most recently joined several plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the U.S. Treasury Department demanding the words “In God We Trust” be scrubbed from U.S. currency.  Newdow advocates what Richard [...]

Why We Should Respect Someone Else’s Conscience

The scene is from C. S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength.  The callow young sociology professor, Mark Studdock, an atheist and a social climber, has been detained in a cubicle deliberately fashioned with odd annoying angles and not-quite-right pictures on the wall.  His detainers aim to break down in him any last sense of the inner [...]

How Long Will Secular Liberalism Endure?

Secular liberalism is at odds with Catholicism. The point seemed obvious to most people until the postwar period, when the thought took hold that an essentially harmonious relationship could be established that would draw on the American model. America, it seemed, was different from Europe with its long tradition of statism and anti-clericalism. It rejected [...]

How Modern Post-Christian Liberals Watch Movies

As Christianity became less and less a cultural force over the last several decades, one of the great losses is our ability to make art that appeals to our common humanity, largely because a common humanity no longer seems to exist. While this may be a disappointment for the traditionalists among us who can no [...]

Liberalism Depends on That Which It Destroys

Why does it seem that orderly, prosperous, and well-run societies are usually less religious, but the less religious a society becomes the more disorderly it gets? The situation is complex, it’s hard to do comparisons, and polling results are subject to a great deal of interpretation, but general trends seem clear. Northern and Western European [...]

Should the U.S. be a Catholic Society?

At the close of the Second Vatican Council, Paul VI noted that the Council had displayed an unparalleled desire “to know, to draw near to, to understand, to penetrate, serve and evangelize the society in which she lives.” That desire reflected a constant goal of the Church, to make her message effective by bringing it to men [...]

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