Relativism

The Virtue of Piety: The Catholic Response to the Alt-Right

Last week, in the pages of Crisis, Jerry Salyer diagnosed the pagan roots of the growing movement known as the “Alternative” or “Alt-Right” in the writings of French political theorist Alain de Benoist. Salyer’s implication that Catholics should avoid the Alt-Right because of its paganism and innate hostility to Christianity is correct. Moreover, his call [...]

A Defense of Beauty and Excellence from the Classical Tradition

There are many serious problems facing moderns, but one of the most troubling—and worrying—is the loss and degradation of beauty, not just in the arts, but in society as a whole. Classical Greek philosophy, to which Catholic philosophy largely inherited and preserved, maintained that beauty and morality were intertwined with one another. When Christianity began [...]

A Czech Philosopher Comes to the Defense of Truth

In contrast to lie or error, truth is usually understood as an idea that corresponds to reality (or the quality of such an idea), and the existence and accessibility of truth is taken for granted. But the gap between common sense and “critical thinking” concerning truth is very wide. Modern philosophers have explored the obstacles [...]

A Crisis of Reason? Whatever!

For the last five decades and more, youth culture has been a driving force in our society. As young people gained increasing amounts of discretionary spending power, purveyors of products and entertainment became increasingly interested in “what the kids like these days,” to the point that much of our popular culture—music, movies, television, web content—is [...]

The Evaporation of Truth

Everyone agrees that public discussion has become divorced from reality. On the hard left people talk about capitalist propaganda, while the soft left, including most respectable journalists, complains about conspiracy theories, truthiness, fake news, and the post-truth era. At the same time, conservatives protest media omissions, distortions, falsehoods, and narratives, while the far right grabs [...]

In the Synod’s Wake, a Word of Thanks to Cardinal Sarah

Among the entitlements that apply to every Catholic, there is one whose violation in recent years has become all too frequent, and that is the right to remain secure in the faith we received in baptism. How else are we to confront our persecutors? Unless we are made to feel, on the strength of a [...]

On the Struggle Between Good and Evil

“The essential architecture, if you will, of the struggle between good and evil in our times has grown ever more intense, and the warnings I sought to convey through the novel remain no less urgent.”  ∼ Michael O’Brien, Preface, Elijah in Jerusalem “Do you remember what happened to Elijah?... On Horeb, he (Elijah) would get [...]

Down the Sociological Road to Nihilism

This semester I am teaching a basic undergraduate class in social theory, and the text we use (Contemporary Sociological Theory and Its Classical Roots, The Basics, Ritzer and Stepinsky) presents many “key concepts” in the field. The “definition of the situation,” is one such concept. This idea comes to us via American Pragmatism, and means [...]

On Redefining Reality: A Dialogue

“What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” —Oscar Wilde As I walked down the street, I noticed in the window of a shop a decal advertising the so-called “Human Rights Campaign,” the organization agitating for a redefinition of marriage to include homosexual unions. I was [...]

Why it is Hard to Find Truth in Academia

These days I spend a good deal of my time in the university talking with students who are both philosophical skeptics and advocates for “social justice.” As a teacher, I feel compelled to try to explain how the first commitment undermines the second. Though my contribution is not always welcome, I foolishly persist in making [...]

Breaking Mad

Many Americans are just getting out of rehab for their addiction to AMC’s taut modern-western crime-drama, Breaking Bad. The expression “breaking bad” is street slang meaning to break loose from the established traces and give in to wildness and wickedness. The series told the tragic, traumatic tale of Walter White, an unassuming high-school chemistry teacher [...]

A Vindication of Tradition

Modern times don’t like the authority of tradition, any more than they like prejudice or deeply rooted social stereotypes. We know more today than people did in the past, so why should we view the unreflective habits and attitudes they happened to fall into as somehow binding? People today believe in science, which relies on [...]

Why Multiculturalism is Regressive

The other night I saw a trailer on TV for the new Robo Cop movie. “Meet the Future,” said the accompanying caption. And, if the trailer is to be believed, the future will be a high-tech world where police don futuristic armor and ride futuristic motorcycles. The idea that the future will be like nothing [...]

Marrying Your Porn-laden Computer?

Catholics are accused of blind prejudice, even of being guilty of a hate crime, if they espouse the traditional Christian teaching on marriage, specifically that by its very nature it can only be between a man and a woman. How can you deprive a man of his freedom in this most intimate area of expressing [...]

Realism in an Age of Relativism

Anyone who has ever seen a painting by J. M. W. Turner knows very well how a stirring spectrum of colors, and the magnificent interplay of light and shade, was employed by that artist to imitate the heartbreaking beauty of the natural world. At times, Turner’s fascination with elaborate skyscapes earned him the rebuke of [...]

In Defense of Disgust

One of the funniest men who ever lived, W.C. Fields, whose mask of comic malevolence will live forever, was asked once if he liked children.  He replied instantly:  “I like children—fried.”   His view of dogs and women was scarcely any better.  Women he regarded rather as elephants: “I like to look at ‘em, but I [...]

Judge Not

Behind these two words “judge not” (Matthew 7:1) stand the champions of moral relativism. Before the wall the relativists erect with these two words, Christians drop their weapons, seemingly defeated by a rampart they thought was meant for their own defense. The Gospels are the ultimate love story and from their midst not only do [...]

Trigesimo Anno: Continuing Crisis

In its thirtieth year, Crisis could rest on its laurels. Across three decades it has been a leading participant in thoughtful Catholic engagement on the subjects of politics, business, culture, faith, and family life.

Sense and Nonsense: A Conversation with Rev. James V. Schall, S.J.

  Crisis Magazine music critic Robert R. Reilly sat down with noted writer, political thinker, and Georgetown University professor Rev. James V. Schall, S.J., to talk about the life of the mind, the future of the West, and lessons learned over a long career in education. ♦           ♦           ♦ Robert R. Reilly: What is the [...]

Nine Perversions of Multiculturalism

The fraudulence of much that currently masquerades under the name "multiculturalism" results from gross perversions of what, in 1972, I called the new ethnicity. Multiculturalism is a profound betrayal of the fundamental principles of the new ethnicity. In the current culture wars on campus, however, an explicit indictment of the perversions of multiculturalism may be [...]

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