liberalism

LA Times_Watts Riots

Black Crime and White Flight

The recent events in Ferguson, MO, in which a “gentle giant” was shot and killed after assaulting a policeman, leading to demonstrations and riots, brought back to me memories of the August 1965 Watts riots in Los Angeles, which likewise developed in the aftermath of assaults on a policeman after a young black man was [...]

Is Pope Francis Duping Liberals on Marriage?

It’s no secret that liberals adore Pope Francis. The more secular the “progressive,” the greater the reverence for the new man in the Vatican. Liberals—which includes liberal Catholics and Protestants as well as secularists—see the pontiff as the long-awaited liberator of the reactionary Roman Catholic Church. And yet, if you think about it, there aren’t [...]

Why Culture War is Unavoidable

A culture is a way of living, a system of habit and attitude, an orientation toward life and the world, that is shared and basically taken for granted within a community. It arises naturally when people live together, since we are social beings who need common habits and understandings to live together happily and productively. [...]

Why Liberalism is so Illiberal

Have liberals been getting less liberal? Or are they merely letting their true colors show, now that the culture wars seem to be going their way? That’s the question Damon Linker recently broached at The Week, as part of his ongoing effort to persuade liberals to be more tolerant. Linker doesn’t understand why progressive secularists [...]

The Contradictions of Multi-Generational Liberalism

A recent study by the Pew Research Center finds significant differences between younger and older liberals, differences that are not encouraging either to orthodox religious believers or to the older liberals. The Next Generation Left (NGL) are at one with older liberals on the social issues, notably abortion and homosexual marriage, and it is primarily [...]

Who Is the Enemy?

For about forty years, the public high school in my home town did not have a basketball court.  They finally supplied the lack when they and two towns got together into the fourteenth plague of Egypt, the Consolidated School District, and built an enormous complex in no man’s land, inaccessible by foot to all but [...]

Liberalism, Choice and Compulsion

Social liberals consider traditional moral restrictions cruel in their very essence. Each of us, they believe, should be as free as possible to pursue his happiness as he sees it, consistent with the equal ability of others to do the same. To reject that position, as Catholics and other moral traditionalists do, is either intentionally [...]

The Illusion of Neutrality

We have all heard what has come to be a liberal dictum, that the State must remain neutral as regards religion or irreligion. One can show fairly easily that the men who wrote our constitution had no such neutrality in mind, given the laws that they and their fellows subsequently passed, their habits of public prayer at [...]

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 [...]

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