reason

Eastern European Resistance to Islamization

If you’ve ever seen Casablanca, you won’t have forgotten the scene in Rick’s Cafe where the German officers who are singing “Die Wacht am Rhein” are drowned out by the French patrons who burst into a rousing rendition of the “Marseillaise.” Something similar happened last week at the National Opera in Cluj Napoca, Romania. A [...]

Another Foolish Idea We Should Challenge

More on arguments.  “It's only a clump of cells,” says my interlocutor. I'll call him Mike. “I'm not aware of the scientific meaning of the word clump.” In all arguments regarding abortion, sex, marriage, and the raising of children, we may well steal a march on our opponents by appealing to biological or anthropological facts, [...]

Don’t Let a Foolish Idea Go Unchallenged

Father, I must confess: I have made comments on social media. There is at least one thing that social media illuminate, and that is the unwillingness or the incapacity of people to reason. I attribute it in part to “critical thinking,” which turns otherwise intelligent people into perpetual sophomores, ready to play what they think [...]

Throwing Stones: Everyone’s Favorite Fallacy

Classical education required students, before anything else, to learn the basic building blocks of thought. In the ancient trivium, students learned grammar, logic, and rhetoric, or how language, argument, and persuasion work. As emphasis on these arts has decreased, so has our society’s capacity to think. And where thought decreases, emotion increases, so that we [...]

New Book Offers Sophisticated Defense of Religious Liberty

We are living in a moment of peril. It is also a moment of opportunity. Our liberal friends are currently gnashing their teeth, worrying that the end may be near. In their minds, dark forces of tribalism and hatred are descending from all sides to obliterate them. After years of having similar feelings ourselves, it’s [...]

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 Ongoing Dictatorship of Relativism

On March 22, 2013, Pope Francis addressed the Diplomatic Corps with a warning against the “tyranny of relativism.” He then explained his selection of the name Francis as in part stemming from St. Francis’ battle for peace, a peace which Pope Francis underscored was impossible without Truth. The necessary struggle for truth not only remains [...]

Benedict XVI: Pope as Prophet

There is a warm spot in my heart for Sir Cecil Spring-Rice because he loved Theodore Roosevelt and disdained Woodrow Wilson.  He also wrote the hymn  “I Vow to Thee My Country” which some progressivists have forbidden their shrunken congregations to sing because it speaks of a real heaven, and a life of sacrifice. He said affectionately of Teddy: [...]

Logic: What’s Missing from Public Discourse

What often passes for public discourse in contemporary society is really just a simulacrum, an imitation, of real “discourse” in the sense of a “reasoned exchange of ideas.”  One realizes before long how much we are suffering from the current lack of that key ingredient within all older forms of liberal arts education: namely, logic. [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Out of the Wreckage

The Sixties wanted Paradise Now: a paradise that ignores the distant and difficult in favor of the immediate and effortless. We wouldn’t transcend life’s conflicts and difficulties by striving after a higher unity, we’d abolish them by denying them recognition. Each would do his thing and follow his bliss, and all would be well. As [...]

Madness, Nietzche, and Being a Basel Professor

In Walter Kaufmann’s chronology of Nietzsche’s life, under 1889, it states briefly, that “Nietzsche becomes insane early in January in Turin.” Insanity, evidently, is no impediment to writing letters. Chesterton said that the maniac was the man with the one idea that explains everything. He is the completely rational man for whom everything made sense [...]

Curiosities about Counting

We live in an Age of Endless Numbers.  We count everything:  batting averages, how many Kindles were sold last week, the average speed of drivers on Highway 64 at 6 a.m., the number of breast cancer patients in Alabama over the age of 50.  Very few things in our society remain uncounted.  And yet numbers [...]

More Food for More People

One of the problems of a growing global population that needs to be solved is how do we feed all those extra mouths?  We’ve looked at UN reports on this issue. We've also looked at counterviews that actually there is enough food for us all at the moment and the lack of food for many [...]

Sir Kenneth Clark’s Mindless Civilization

I'm currently in the midst of watching Sir Kenneth Clark's celebrated Civilisation, first broadcast by the BBC in 1969 and subsequently by PBS. I had heard so much about it, and remember watching it as a child, and was looking forward to having a guided tour of Western Civilisation by one of its most outspoken [...]

Should the Government be Involved in Marriage?

Some libertarians, notably Ron Paul, say it should not. Another says that is foolish and irresponsible.

A Defining Moment

Governor Mitt Romney's statement about not worrying about the poor has been treated as a gaffe in much of the media, and those in the Republican establishment who have been rushing toward endorsing his coronation as the GOP's nominee for president — with 90 percent of the delegates still not yet chosen — have been [...]

What Makes the West the Best

Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate’s Defense of Liberal Democracy. By Ibn Warraq, Encounter Books, 286 pages, $19.   One principal reason why the Islamic jihad is advancing with such confidence around the world today is because its chief competitor, the West, has lost its nerve. The iron and unquestionable dogma of multiculturalism [...]

The Apple Argument Against Abortion

This essay first appeared in the December 2000 issue of Crisis Magazine.   I doubt there are many readers of this magazine who are pro-choice. Why, then, do I write an argument against abortion for its readers? Why preach to the choir? Preaching to the choir is a legitimate enterprise. Scripture calls it "edification,"or "building [...]

Kodak and the Post Office

  The news that Eastman Kodak is preparing to file for bankruptcy, after being the leading photographic company in the world for more than a hundred years, truly marks the end of an era. The skills required to use the cameras and chemicals required by the photography of the mid-19th century were far beyond those [...]

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