Cultural Decline

Religious Liberty Thwarted by Canadian High Court Decision

I should apologize for more bad news from Canada (and more to come with the recent legalization of marijuana), but it comes with a tinge of hope: last Friday, Trinity Western University, a Christian university in Langley, British Columbia, was denied the right to offer law degrees by the Supreme Court of Canada, due to [...]

When the Dark Screams of Death Metal Corrode the Culture

Extreme Noise, Terror, Pungent Stench and Pestilence are all disagreeable topics of conversation for most people. They should be avoided in polite company. However, these repugnant things enjoy some favor in today’s postmodern society. The four topics are actually the names of death metal bands casually mentioned in a recent newspaper article. These names are [...]

Bare-Knuckle Religion

The recent pardon of the late world heavy weight champion Jack Johnson by our president was a gracious act long overdue. A previous motion had passed the House but died in the Senate in 2008. Johnson’s racially motivated conviction for violating the Mann Act after he had married a white woman resulted in his beginning [...]

Christianity and the Radical Transformation of Culture

Man is not a body of mass in motion with the aim of peaceable consumption as modern anthropology suggests. Man does not live on bread alone; man is, as the ancients knew, a social animal. However, the great revelation of Christian anthropology is that man is also a cultural animal. Culture, rooted in the Latin [...]

Waste Land: Britain’s Culture of Death

April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land… April 23 is St. George’s Day, the national feast day of England. On April 23, 2018 three events occurred. Ealing Council in west London became the first English Local Authority to implement a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) for the area around a [...]

Handicapping History

Christopher Dawson’s prophetic The Making of Europe (1932) ends where the Gentle Reader might expect such a book to begin. Dawson begins his history in the third century, with the Diocletian restoration and persecution, then traces the twilight of Late Antiquity, the many migratory shocks, and finally the eight century recovery under Charlemagne. It ends [...]

Questions in the Aftermath of the Las Vegas Shooting

While there is not so much mention of it in the media anymore, the American public is still reeling from the inexplicable massacre in Las Vegas, the largest mass murder in history in a country where mass murders of innocent people have become far too common. Some of the usual responses came from the usual [...]

Why Nothing is Sacred Anymore

Recently, the word sacred was in the news, when White House Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly lamented the fact that nothing is sacred anymore, especially in light of the brouhaha over the president’s phone call to a soldier’s widow. “When I was a kid growing up,” he said, “a lot of things were sacred [...]

Submission

Submission. That’s what the word “Islam” means. Muslims must submit to Allah, and the rest of the world must eventually submit to Islam. Submission does not necessarily require conversion, but it does require that one acknowledge the superiority of Islam, pay the jizya tax, and, in general, keep one’s head down. Europe is currently in [...]

An Explanation for the Bewildered

Gather round, my children. Perhaps I should have explained this before Charlottesville and Berkeley, though I never thought you would hear me. Years ago you read this poem. You said you didn’t understand it, but really you were just having too much fun in those days to pay it much attention: Turning and turning in [...]

The Day the Music Died

One day, out of curiosity, I Googled “symphony orchestras in the Muslim world.” The results were rather dismal. One site—“About Symphony Orchestras in the Arab World”—contained the following (badly translated) information: Symphony of Saudi Arabia: “Non-existent…” The Orchestra of Emirate of Qatar: “This orchestra has no clear identity…100% of foreign elements” [i.e., none of the [...]

The Power of Three Simple Words: We Want God

Modern political discourse is in a sad state today. Ideas are now crafted in sound bites, tweets and slogans to appeal to a world absorbed by the frenetic intemperance of instant messaging. Speech has become dominated by empty rhetoric and posturing. Expressing oneself is complicated by political correctness that suppresses common sense and objective truth. [...]

Sirius-XM Sexualizes and Politicizes Classical Music

One of the cherished respites in my life is the Symphony Hall channel on Sirius-XM Radio. It’s a getaway, an oasis, a safe-space from the political madness and cultural insanity ruining so much of everyday life. When I need to escape the nattering news cycles, the toxic noise, the gagging cultursmog, the Symphony Hall channel [...]

Is It Immodest to Wear Deliberately Ripped Clothes?

Perhaps one of the more sensitive personal issues you can raise with people is that of dress. How you dress has become a purely personal affair. Most are left to their own opinion as to what is appropriate. There are, of course, some limits. Most Catholics will admit in theory that there is something that [...]

Is the Benedict Option the Answer to Neo-Barbarianism?

At a recent talk, I compared our days to the times of the barbarian invasions and the fall of the Roman Empire. It is a fairly common comparison that applies to decadent societies like our own. In the end, I highlighted the need to continue to fight the Culture War and thus oppose the neo-barbarians [...]

Hope in a Time of Captivity and Persecution

In reading the latest essay by Paul Kengor in Crisis, I was taken aback in learning about James K. A. Smith’s misguided and mean-spirited attack on Rod Dreher, Anthony Esolen, and Archbishop Charles Chaput, whose recent books, among other things, offer the self-evident thesis: American culture is going to hell on a hand basket. As [...]

Can Trumpian Populism Restore the Culture?

Like all good Catholics, I hope very much that President Donald Trump follows through on his promises to pro-life Americans. It looks as though he will follow through in appointing a pro-life Supreme Court justice; obviously this is a tremendous blessing. Despite that, regular Crisis readers may recall that I have never harbored enthusiasm for [...]

Who Will Endure the Coming Persecution?

During the days when David was king (1010-970 BC), the leaders of the tribe of Issachar were lauded because they “were endowed with an understanding of the times and … knew what Israel had to do…” (I Chron. 13:33). Jesus rebuked the crowds for not understanding their present age: they knew how to predict the [...]

A Torah Scholar Helps Explain the Age Of Foolishness

Maybe it takes a Torah scholar and religious Jew to help us understand the roots of the inverted values that animate Western civilization. For over ten years, author and radio talk show host Dennis Prager taught the first five books of the Bible verse-by-verse at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. According to Prager [...]

True and False Freedom

It has been said before but it bears repeating: the progressive ethos of liberation of all, from all, is death. The progressive worldview has at its core but a single guiding principle—libertinism; that man should endure no restraints and suffer no constraints save those that upon himself he enforces. In a word, he should be [...]

The New Ignorance Far Worse than the Old

“Education,” wrote Malcolm Muggeridge fifty years ago, “the great fraud and mumbo-jumbo of the age,” had not brought to the mass of men the best that has been done and thought and said, but rather spread ignorance and folly across the land. Muggeridge understood, though he did not feel he needed to say so explicitly, [...]

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