Western Civilization

Right to Work as a Religious Liberty Concern

With a new Republican governor and a legislature with a strong Republican majority, Missourians saw some changes this year coming out of their state capital. One of the quickest and most striking turnarounds had to do with right-to-work legislation. This had been a top priority for Show-Me Republicans for years, fought ardently by labor unions [...]

We Are All Poles Now: The Battle is for Western Civilization

While some frenzied protestors call Trump “illiterate,” Polish crowds were impressed at the American president’s depth of historical understanding in the recent speech delivered in Warsaw’s Krasiński Square (July 6, 2017). The place chosen for the speech was remarkable in itself and holds great significance for Poles. Trump chose to speak at the memorial to [...]

How Christianity Civilized Mankind

Anyone who knows anything about the Judeo-Christian tradition (an increasingly small group, I know) is aware that the Hebrew law “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” was intended to limit the bloodthirsty drive for vengeance. As Saint Augustine observed, “For who will of his own accord be satisfied with a [...]

The Past is a Place

“True nostalgia is a desire less for a time than a place”   ∼ John Lukacs “The oldest things ought to be taught to the youngest people.”   ∼ G.K. Chesterton Professor Jeffrey Hart, who retired in 1993 following three distinguished decades teaching English Literature to the best and the brightest at Dartmouth College, was always a [...]

How Not to Interpret Scripture

There is a class that most college students will take at one point in their academic career. It is the course on Western Civilization—“Western Civ” for short. It is a feeble attempt to supplement the modern college curriculum (typically in two freshman-level courses) with what used to be the very backbone of a liberal education. [...]

The Beauty of Catholic Order

We didn’t dance. It was an ironclad rule of the schools and religious communities of my youth that dancing was forbidden, a prohibition enforced with the same rigor as the edict to not “drink, smoke, or chew. Or go with girls who do.” Consequently, I first danced during my graduate school days at Boston College, [...]

Time for a Truly Catholic Renovation

O magnum mysterium, et admirabile sacramentum, ut animalia viderent Dominum natum, iacentem in praesepio: Beata Virgo, cuius viscera meruerunt portare Dominum Christum. What a great mystery, what a wonderful sign, that animals should see the Lord, new-born, lying in a manger! Blessed is the Virgin, whose womb was privileged to carry Christ the Lord.   [...]

What is Civilization?

Is civilization worth defending? Should we aim to conform to it so that we can be considered civilized? Should we aim to bring our children up according to its norms so that they can also be considered civilized? Should we try to make our country and our world as civilized as possible? The chances are [...]

Christianity: Foundation of Western Success

In his famous critique of John Stuart Mill, Mill and Liberalism (1963) the Cambridge historian Maurice Cowling underscored just how much the views advanced by self-identified liberals were underpinned by the conviction that their conception of the historical background to any number of events is more-or-less universally accepted. Sometimes they are right in making that [...]

How Catholics Can Save Our Dying Civilization

In a recent address, Archbishop Chaput articulated how much we depend on the residual religious capital of earlier times, but once the capital is spent, “we may not like the results, because the more we delete God from our public life and our private behavior, the more we remove the moral vocabulary that gives our [...]

What Have Those Pesky Christians Ever Done for Us?

The Monty Python film, Life of Brian, has a scene in it where Reg, the leader of a group of Jewish rebels, asks what the Romans have ever done for the Jewish people. The assembled group chip in with ideas one-by-one, undermining the implication that the Romans have brought nothing by hardship to Israel. Reg [...]

Obama’s Disregard for Our European Inheritance Imperils American Freedom

Our quadrennial spectacle of electing a president brings out the relationship between political order and the nation’s cultural and social order. Take the question of “rights,” which is a concept at the heart of the American experiment.  Based on the nation’s revolt from England, and deeply grounded in the mother country’s common law tradition, rights [...]

The Age of the Laity…or the Latte?

So what will it be? A grande Latte... or Western Civilization? A scone with that... or the meat of doctrine? An extra shot of espresso… or the survival of families? A Moccachino... or the Mystical Body of Christ? Today, the price is the same.  Tomorrow the terms change.  Tomorrow there may be silence, apart from the [...]

Is Multiculturalism Evil?

Who is the Tolstoy of the Zulus? The Proust of the Papuans? I’d be glad to read him. – Saul Bellow.   In asking about the Papuan Proust, novelist Saul Bellow summed up the core problem with the twin idols of our age, Multiculturalism and Diversity. For the ideology of Multiculturalism—now dominant on most college [...]

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 [...]

Over the Rails America

In this Crisis Magazine classic, Anthony Esolen says a forgotten tourist attraction in rural Pennsylvania can teach us much about the nation we once were, and what we have become.       On a dead-end stretch of what was once U.S. Route 22, in a small village with tacky-friendly billboards boasting "Genuine Dutch Cooking," [...]

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