development

American Catholics Must Stand with Hong Kong

The autonomous territory of Hong Kong is in a fight for its life. For over two months, the citizens of Hong Kong have persisted in protesting an attempt by the Hong Kong chief executive to impose an amendment to the existing extradition laws that would allow the Chinese government to take suspects from Hong Kong [...]

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 [...]

Back to the Future

I have inadvertently joined a cult.  No, that's not right.  Perhaps I should say that I have rejoined, for in the distant past I was more than an acolyte.  Here is what happened.  On an order form for review CDs, I saw a 14-disc set of recordings made in the late 1940s and early 1950s [...]

The Population Bomb, Still Fizzling

A new report was released on Monday by the UN’s high level panel on global sustainability. Unsurprising its conclusion is that the world’s current economic , environmental and demographic trajectory is wildly unsustainable.  According to the UN estimates, as reported by Reuters: As the world's population looks set to grow to nearly 9 billion by [...]

Digital natives and their brave new world

The rapid development and expansion of digital technology is unprecedented, and its full impact on peoples all across the globe has yet to be fully understood. That's in part, of course, because the expansion is ongoing, and its limits are unknown. The barest facts confronting the historian are astonishing. Facebook, for example, launched in 2004, [...]

Christopher Dawson: Christ in History

The following essay first appeared in the April 1996 edition of Crisis Magazine. It is part of today's symposium on "the bourgeois spirit" as diagnosed by Dawson. See also Dawson's essay, Catholicism and the Bourgeois Mind, and Jeffrey Tucker's reply, In Defense of Bourgeois Civilization.   Dawson wrote with two different audiences in mind. He [...]

UN Mischief from Durban to Rio

  The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, opening on Nov. 28, called COP-17, is one of a series of U.N. meetings working toward a specific goal. Advertising for this meeting features a long list of invited celebrities including Angelina Jolie, U2's Bono, Ted Turner, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Al Gore and Michael Bloomberg. [...]

The Bishops’ Immigration Obsession

The Catholic Church in America has suffered in recent decades from rapidly declining Mass attendance. Its higher education institutions have pushed Catholicism out of the curriculum and culture, with no real catechesis program for young adults. And efforts to attract more young people to the Church have looked more like a "cool" Dad trying to [...]

What ‘Developing’ Countries Can Teach the U.S.

As Barack Obama huffs and puffs about his tax plan, which is unlikely to pass in the Democratic-majority Senate much less the Republican-controlled House, Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank, has provided a much broader view of where the United States stands amid great changes in the world and some useful guidance on what [...]

Nicholas Kristof Fails Sunday School

  Nicholas Kristof doesn't appreciate the Bible being used to support conservative moral positions with which he disagrees, so it must have been an exciting moment when he unwrapped Jennifer Wright Knust's new book, Unprotected Texts: The Bible’s Surprising Contradictions about Sex and Desire. Knust, an ordained Baptist minister and assistant professor of religion at [...]

Private Charity Versus Government Welfare

Less than three years has passed since the publication of Pope Benedict XVI's third encyclical, Charity in Truth. As some readers may remember, the encyclical caused quite a stir both in secular and religious circles -- as have many of the past papal encyclicals dealing with economic questions, going back to Pope Leo XIII's groundbreaking [...]

Why doesn’t America get on board with trains?

I have a fascination with America's train system -- maybe because it stinks, and I can't figure out exactly why this country still has such an antiquated and ineffective passenger railway. Whether it's the regional trains or Amtrak, they're all bad. Amtrak's Acela trains, which carry people up and down the northeast corridor -- our [...]

Modern Individualism

On the last page of the final chapter of Democracy in America, Tocqueville summarizes the comparison he has just drawn between the new democracy and the old order as follows: "They are like two distinct humanities." This is very much the feeling experienced by the partisans as well as the opponents of the modern democratic [...]

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 [...]

The government doesn’t know how to raise kids

"You're nuts." That's what a man with 11 children, 15 grandchildren, and a successful legal practice told me after the middle sister of my two foster children was welcomed into our home on Christmas Eve. Of course, he said it in jest (I think). His comment wasn't about accepting children that weren't mine into my [...]

He’s No de Tocqueville

Whether right or wrong or a bit of both, thoughtful foreign views of the American scene have a lot to contribute to our national self-understanding. Clifford Longley, a veteran columnist for the London weekly the Tablet, a journal of “progressive” Catholic opinion, is no de Tocqueville, but he’s an intelligent man who, despite his ingrained [...]

My Security Suit

"O Prophet, tell your wives and daughters and the believing women that they should cast their outer garments over their bodies (when abroad) so that they should be known and not molested" (Koran 33:59). I have invented a new item of clothing for women of faith: a Security Suit™. This suit consists of three-quarter length [...]

A new developmental stage?

According to an article in The New York Times last week, there's a debate going on in academic circles (mainly among psychologists and sociologists) as to whether a new developmental stage should be officially acknowledged. It's called "emerging adulthood" and it covers the 18-29 age range. It could happen the same way the stage of [...]

Should kids spend so much time around their peers?

I'm reading a book I'd recommend to all parents: Hold On To Your Kids: Why Parents Need To Matter More Than Peers, by child development expert Dr. Gordon Neufeld and physician Dr. Gabor Mate.The authors' views fly in the face of many modern parenting books that focus on behavioral changes and skill-building. Neufeld and Mate [...]

Girls now hitting puberty at 7

Girls are reaching puberty faster than ever before -- by ages 7 and 8. That's what a new study just published in the journal Pediatrics shows.Other studies have found this over the past decade, but experts have been at a loss to explain why. Increased levels of obesity are definitely to blame, but doctors now believe there [...]

A Meeting with the Prime Minister of Palestine

Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and I are both graduates of the same university, the University of Texas at Austin.  When I told him this morning that the Longhorn football team was #4 in the preseason rankings, he said, "That's good, it's bad when they are too high."  Fayyad's caution about his beloved Texas Longhorns is [...]

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