Art & Culture

Forced by circumstances to get a bite to eat at a “fast food” place, I expected to find that frenetic, machine-like service, centered on maximum efficiency and the worship of speed. Fast food facilities are designed to move people in and out quickly, with little concern for the pondering of anything. They are strictly focused [...]

Forced by circumstances to get a bite to eat at a “fast food” place, I expected to find that frenetic, machine-like service, centered on maximum efficiency and the worship of speed. Fast food facilities are designed to move people in and out quickly, with little concern for the pondering of anything. They are strictly focused [...]

One of the perpetual complaints against Christianity is that it is a life-denying, puritanical system. In the Victorian era, poet Algernon Swinburne referred to Christ as the “pale Galilean” from whose breath “the world has grown grey.” In our own time, films such as The Handmaid’s Tale portray Christians as robotic control freaks. Meanwhile, elite [...]

Like Leslie Nielsen’s famous advice as the building explodes behind him—“OK, move on, nothing to see here, please disperse”—so The New York Times assures us that there’s nothing to the war on Christmas except, perhaps, Republican partisanship. “From the beginning, the War on Christmas was a homegrown Fox News cause, introduced by the so-named 2005 [...]

There is no story of salvation in Islam because the climax is not the Incarnation, but the mere example of the “ideal man.” There is no grace to save us from the stain passed on by Adam and Eve because there is no such thing as original sin. If a Christian reads the Bible from [...]

We are living through dark times. Most Christians today share a sense of foreboding as we watch the decline of our culture. We see our friends and neighbors succumbing to loneliness, confusion, and despair. Our faith is increasingly regarded with hostility. Orthodox Christians find ourselves debating the best way forward, as we try to discern [...]

Secular readers have seen J.D. Vance’s recent best-selling Hillbilly Elegy as the prophetic book of the political year, explaining if not predicting Trumpism, and even as the most clear-eyed, dismal report on the moral state of the new American millennium, zeroing in on our national “family and culture in crisis.” Vance’s personal memoir knows that deep [...]

Charlie Brown and Linus are sitting on the floor, looking at something in a book and laughing. Lucy comes up to them and asks what they are laughing at. They show her, and she asks, “Why are you laughing at it?” “Because we don't understand it,” they say. In old days, people among the intelligentsia [...]

The announcement that the “Silence Breakers” have been named “Person of the Year” by TIME magazine has catapulted the sexual harassment scandals into the national spotlight. Sexual assault in the workplace has taken on crisis proportions. Many are saying that men and women will soon revert to minimizing contact among themselves. They fear a new [...]

The first lines of Belloc’s 1936 book, The Characters of the Reformation, are these: “The break-up of united western Christendom with the coming of the Reformation was by far the most important thing in history since the formation of the Catholic Church fifteen hundred years before.” We live in a time when the Reformation is [...]

Black Friday, 6:15 AM. The checkout lane was already twenty persons deep, but worse—it hadn’t moved in five minutes. As I scanned the other seven lanes, they were no better. Resigned, I took my place in line clutching the electronic gadgetry I had snatched up in my bargain-hunting frenzy. As everyone knows, deep mark-downs await [...]

Public opinion matters a great deal today. That situation creates a way in which all of us participate in public affairs, even in hierarchical settings like the Church. So we should try to understand what’s going on. But if we are to sit in judgment over public affairs, what attitude should we take toward social [...]

The Sexual Revolution continues to inspire an outpouring of new books, not all of which present a benign picture of the consequences. Yet it is still rare for a scholar employed at a state-funded university to weigh in on family-sexual issues with any viewpoint other than sympathy for radical left ideology, and even rarer for [...]

At the school where I used to teach, diversity has become the word of faith, an intellectual idol to conjure by. It does not mean that you study a variety of cultures. It couldn't mean that. Otherwise we would have been in very Diversity Heaven, as we introduced our students to ancient Babylon, Homeric Greece, [...]

Whenever we undergo another mass shooting or terrorist attack, I am struck by the stampede of blame that ensues in the media. The question that always surfaces for me in these moments is this: do we know how to make sense of such evil acts in this age of relativism? It has become commonplace to [...]

What is the point of contemporary conservatism? Whatever one thinks of the victory of Donald Trump to the presidency, he is not a conservative of any expected kind. But he has thrown the various strands of conservatism into disarray and has caused a remarkable level of self-reflection and self-criticism. And his administration has opened up [...]

In his new book How to Think, Alan Jacobs brings up a 1944 lecture by the British writer C.S. Lewis that summarizes well the state of politics three-quarters of a century later and an ocean away—not surprising perhaps, given that his observation is one that humanity has experienced for millennia. In his lecture at King’s [...]

In a previous essay, I identified the ad lapidem fallacy as the one most commonly used in social media “debates” (I use that term very loosely). This is the tactic of responding to an argument not by addressing its substance, but by mocking it, scoffing at it, or otherwise denigrating it so that observers will [...]

Living in the Zombie Age

The Sutherland Springs shooter, who took the lives of 26 men, women, and children in a small Texas church, was, like scores of others before him, one of the living dead. Dylan Klebold, James Holmes, Adam Lanza, Stephen Paddock, and Devin Patrick Kelley represent what the apostle Paul warned would characterize the latter days: people [...]

Extreme freedom can’t be expected to lead to anything but a change to extreme slavery, whether for a private individual or for a city.   ∼ Plato’s Republic, Book VIII line 566 The capacity for self-criticism used to be a signature characteristic of the liberal mind, but clearly liberal introspection isn’t what it used to be. In looking [...]

Ronald Reagan once said that an economist is someone who sees something happen in practice and wonders if it could work in theory. The new book, Pope Francis and the Caring Society, appears like a team of economists forced to study the encyclical Laudato Si’ in theory and then wonder if it might work in [...]

I can forgive Protestants and Protestantism for most things. I can forgive Protestants for the Know-Nothing Party and their murderous Philadelphia Nativist Riot, the Intolerable Acts, Bloody Monday and the Orange Riots in New York City in 1871 and 1872. I forgive them for the "Blaine Amendments" which forbade tax money be used to fund [...]

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