state

The Manchester Bomber: Martyr or Murderer?

The most radical part of President Trump’s speech in Saudi Arabia was not the moment when he referred to “Islamic extremism” and “Islamic terror,” but the next moment when he said, “Religious leaders must make this absolutely clear… If you choose the path of terror, your life will be empty, your life will be brief, [...]

The State: From God, or the Devil?

A casual observer might be excused for believing that conservatives have a rather confused and conflicted view of the state. Albert J. Nock, a giant of early-twentieth-century conservatism, wrote a book titled Our Enemy the State. Yet Edmund Burke, the founder of modern conservatism, observed that “he who gave our nature to be perfected by our [...]

Obama Administration Scandals and the Danger of Cynicism

Some conservatives, and our libertarian friends in particular, have been rather enjoying hearing about recent Obama Administration scandals. I would not begrudge anyone a certain amount of perverse pleasure in the discomforts of an administration that has been seeking to undermine our culture, way of life, and economic freedom since day one. But I honestly [...]

Where Do We Go From Here?

 "The laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free."  —President Barack Obama, June 26, 2013  "I will tell you that I don't believe [...]

When Do Humans Begin to Feel Pain?

The U.S. House Of Representatives recently passed a bill that would restrict abortions starting at 20 weeks after fertilization, or the stage of development shown in the picture below. Formally called the "Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act," the legislation has stirred debate over when humans begin to feel pain. The act passed with 97% of [...]

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 [...]

Obama Misrepresents Catholic Schools

Recently visiting Northern Ireland for the G8 meeting at Lough Erne, President Obama said this during his now-traditional speech to local young people: If towns remain divided—if Catholics have their schools and buildings and Protestants have theirs, if we can’t see ourselves in one another and fear or resentment are allowed to harden—that too encourages [...]

Stopping the State: Why Conservatives and Libertarians Need Each Other

One of the consequences of the GOP primaries and particularly Ron Paul's candidacy has been to reignite the debate between self-styled conservatives and libertarians. Recently the Witherspoon Institute's “Public Discourse” forum invited a conservative to critique libertarianism (Nathan Schleuter) and a libertarian to critique conservatism (Nikolai G. Wenzel). Without intending any disrespect to the forum [...]

Progressive Inhumanity, Part One: The State against the Family

When they were casting for the old western The Rifleman, one small boy was brought into the room after another, to meet the star Chuck Connors and the director.  Then young Johnny Crawford came in, a little gangly in the arms and legs, with tousled hair and large brown eyes.  “That’s the son of Lucas [...]

Keep Those Ideas Coming: How the Constitution Encourages Inventiveness

The Constitution of the United States was the world's first written national constitution. In 1787 it was the only one; now approximately 160 nations have written constitutions — more than half of them less than 15 years old. What accounts for the remarkable stability and longevity of our Constitution? Its durability can probably be best [...]

Peru’s Silent Revolution

Despite Government Regulation, Entrepreneurs Are Rolling Back a Feudal Economic Order There are times when economists tell better stories than novelists. The story told by Hernando de Soto in El Otro Sendero: La Revolucion Informal (The Other Shining Path: The Informal Revolution) is one of these occasions. Although based in the reality of Peru, the [...]

Religion and the First Amendment: How the Supreme Court Has Misinterpreted the Constitution

That God is being removed more and more from the public forum is not simply a matter of chance. It is part of the secularization process going on in our society. While this process has been underway at least since the dawn of the modern era, it is being especially abetted today by a philosophical [...]

Normalcy As Terror: The Naturalization of AIDS

Stephen Jay Gould's essay in the New York Times Magazine of April 19 is normal in the sense that it runs to about the same length as most of his widely read notes on evolution. Gould displays his mastery of saying an awful lot in a short space, in this case a single "magazine" page [...]

A Bad Penny: Richard McBrien Trivializes Politics and Religion

In the first sentence of Caesar’s Coin: Religion and Politics in America (Macmillan, 294 pp., $19.95) Richard P. McBrien misquotes Lincoln. The error is only a trifling one; it alters neither the meaning of the president’s words nor Father McBrien’s application of them. But the resonances of the Gettysburg Address are so familiar to every [...]

Illusions and Realities: The Vatican’s Self-Respect

The Catholic Church has done it again. It has dissented from the conventional wisdom of the “progressives” of our time. It has said what it thinks on the technologies of birth. What I like best about the Catholic Church is its self-respect. In an age when most church leaders elsewhere burn to appease the cultured [...]

Privatizing Public Charity: Why the State Fails To Alleviate Poverty

Although volumes have been written about the failures of government welfare programs, the academic and scholarly community has paid surprisingly little attention to private sector charity. Yet the private sector is in fact playing an extremely important role. In 1984 total charitable contributions reached $74 billion, with contributions by individuals accounting for 83 percent ($61.5 [...]

Illusions and Realities: The Bishops and The Entrepreneurs

Last December 22, before the Joint Economic Committee on Economics of the U.S. Congress, Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland of Milwaukee revealed a strange understanding of enterprise. Senator William Proxmire and Congressman David R. Obey, both from Wisconsin, listened to the Archbishop. When Chairman Obey asked the Archbishop about some views of the lay commission headed [...]

Academic Freedom and the Vatican: Will Catholic Universities Capitulate?

The new Code of Canon Law, promulgated in 1983, prescribes (canons 807-814) that no university or institute of higher studies may call itself Catholic without the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority; that the teachers appointed excel in integrity of doctrine and uprightness of life; that teachers be dismissed if they lack these requirements; and [...]

U.S. Bishops, Nicaraguan Bishops: Do They Speak With One Voice?

The expulsion of Monsignor Bismarck Carballo and Bishop Pablo Antonio Vega from Nicaragua last summer was tantamount to an open declaration of war on the Church by the Sandinista regime. Not that that war was a new development. It has been going on for some time. The list of Sandinista attacks is long and sobering, [...]

Quodlibets: A Form of Infidelity of the Day

Talking on the phone with a woman whose name is one of those that dangle from my family tree, I asked her how she spelled it. The answer was an orthographic surprise, but there was an explanation. Her husband's family changed the spelling when they left the Church so they wouldn't be confused with their [...]

Privatizing Religion: The Supreme Court’s Real Objective

“Baby Jesus Saved by Plastic Reindeer.” That should have been among the many headlines of March 6, 1984 heralding the Supreme Court's most celebrated church-state ruling of the eighties. At least, that is precisely what the decision amounted to. The Court concluded that, were it not for the inclusion of such "secular" figures as Rudolph [...]

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