Leaving the Tab: Indebting America’s Youth

We older Americans have saddled our youth with a mind-boggling public debt -- over $20 trillion already spent ($14.3 trillion of “official” national debt plus various off-budget expenditures, according to the U.S. Treasury); trillions more of projected deficit-spending over the coming decade; and tens of trillions of dollars of unfunded liabilities. By the time today’s [...]

Our Moral Dilemma

Most of our nation's problems are a direct result of our being immune, hostile or indifferent to several moral questions. Let's start out with the simple and move to the more complex. Or, stated another way, let's begin with questions that generate the least hostility, moving to those that generate the greatest. If a person [...]

Graduation 2011

Two years ago, I wrote a column for this site titled “Graduation 2009.” As I come to the end of this scholastic year, I would like to return to the same topic: What do college graduates learn before they graduate? Depending on the student and the faculty, the answer ranges from “not much” to “an [...]

Why Is the Federal Government Disciplining Frat Boys?

  Last October a group of Yale freshmen pledging a fraternity made jackasses of themselves by marching around the campus chanting a vulgar slur against women. Complaints poured in and the university took action. Several fraternity members were disciplined and Yale banned the offending fraternity from all campus activities for five years, saying “the actions were [...]

Scandal and Lavender Gowns, 2011 Edition

Ever hear of a "lavender commencement"? For some Catholic college students, gone are the days of traditional pomp and circumstance. On May 2, homosexual students at the nation's oldest Catholic university cheered anti-homophobia remarks from the director of the campus LBGTQ (lesbian-bisexual-gay-transgender-queer) Resource Center and paraded around campus with a rainbow flag. The "commencement" speaker [...]

Teachers, Tenure, and Labor Unrest

As a tenured professor at a state school with a conventional pension plan, I have been very interested in the recent labor unrest in Wisconsin. Throw in the facts that my grandfather was a local politician in Wisconsin and that I have a first cousin in that state who is an elementary teacher, and the [...]

Studies show virginity and hook-ups both on the rise

USA Today reports some new trends on college campuses: While more young men and women are staying virgins, casual sexual encounters are also on the rise. The relationship game among college-age adults today is a muddle of seemingly contradictory trends. Recent studies indicate that traditional dating on campuses has taken a back seat to no-strings [...]

Overprescribing the Pill

When I was in college nearly 20 years ago, most of the young women I knew took birth control pills for medical reasons as instructed by their gynecologists. Now that I am in my 30s, I am encountering women who are only just discovering that they never really needed to be on the Pill in [...]

Second-guessing the sexual revolution

Over at the Wall Street Journal, Jennifer Moses writes on the worrisome trend for younger and younger girls to dress and act provocatively. Of course, that's been the constant lament of parents for generations -- but in Moses' case, she recognizes that her own generation was the first to come of age in the sexual [...]

It’s Time to Get Rid of the Drinking Age

I had my first taste of alcohol on vacation with my parents when I was eight years old. We had just sat down to dinner at a restaurant in Rome, and the waiter came as usual to pour wine for my parents. To my surprise, he didn't pass over my glass. As I looked at [...]

Benign Neglect or Calculated Malignity?

Why, I wonder, do boys these days get no love? What have they done to deserve their treatment at our hands? Recently, a boy competing for his high school in the Iowa state wrestling tournament chose to forfeit his initial match rather than wrestle against a girl. He spoke about his decision with an admirable [...]

Defining “Broke”

In a Chicago Sun-Times opinion piece this morning, Reason magazine's Jacob Sullum says the Democrats aren't serious about the national debt. Nothing surprising about that, but he concludes with this beauty: Picking up the president’s investment theme, The New York Times says it’s “obfuscating nonsense” to declare that “we’re broke,” as House Speaker John Boehner [...]

The Best Years of My Life?

Shortly after entering the Utopia of all-you-can-eat dining halls and come-as-you-please elective courses, I found myself singled out as "the girl who hates college." My peers concluded that this distaste for paradise stemmed from my apparently deficient education at a small, intimate Catholic high school. Maybe I was too sheltered, naïve, homesick, close-minded, and judgmental [...]

Giving Gifts, Counting Costs

Rumors are flying. Is she or isn't she? Will she or won't she? The subject is celebrity mom Katie Holmes, naturally, and the second child she is rumored to be currently gestating or planning to conceive with her husband, Tom Cruise. Let the talking and stalking begin! I don't usually pay much attention to tabloid [...]

Explaining the Philosophy Major

For someone who doesn't feel very comfortable with small talk, college has been a great help. By the time eleventh grade rolled around, conversations with strangers were easy. Why? Because I didn't have to start them. "What schools are you looking at?" "Have you applied?" "Have you gotten in?" Once I entered college, the questions [...]

Long Live Absurdity

Everywhere except in the field of jurisprudence, the reductio ad absurdum is accepted as a logical argument. The reductio always takes this form: If you can show that a certain premise leads to an absurd conclusion, then there is something radically wrong with the premise, and you then either have to reject the premise or at least [...]

‘Just Come Casual’

"Just come casual," the hostess instructed. "It will be an informal evening, so just come casual." Though I knew the familiar ungrammatical direction was a considerate gesture meant to put guests at their ease, I had my usual reaction: "What in the world will I wear?" Had my hostess simply said, "Come for dinner," I [...]

Catholicism and Distance Education: A Conversation with Mark Giszczak

With the rapid advance of technology, education is in the midst of a transition between the traditional classroom model and newer, online-based methods. InsideCatholic editor Brian Saint-Paul spoke with Mark Giszczak of the Augustine Institute about Catholicism, distance learning, and the future of theological instruction. Is the age of the university nearing its end? ♦ [...]

Stitching in Limbo

Last night our college celebrated the vigil of the Immaculate Conception in the exact same way as every other Catholic school in America -- with mulled cider, makeshift medieval costumes, the performance of two Mystery plays depicting the Fall of Man and the Dream of St. Joseph, and chanted vespers. The usual. I'm sure that [...]

On Being “Divisive”

Every group has its code words. These words serve an im­portant social function -- they enable the members of the group to deliver a harsh judgment on others with­out accountability. In the Catholic world, when someone is called "divisive," it means he is too conservative to be trusted. Those who are "divisive" threaten the "unity [...]