Mea Culpa (or, How I Got Pwned By Public Radio)

Last night as I was driving to an appointment, I was listening to our local NPR affiliate here in Grand Rapids, and specifically to the show Marketplace. I happened to hear a story about how the government and economists were concerned that the money given to taxpayers via the “economic stimulus package” may actually be used for purposes other than retail spending, thereby not causing the intended “stimulus.” Not the first story of this sort that I’ve heard over the last few weeks. Continue Reading...

We Need a Menaissance

This bit in this week’s Telegraph nails something I’ve been wrangling with for a while. Maybe you men out there can relate: Many men believe the world is now dominated by women and that they have lost their role in society, fuelling feelings of depression and being undervalued. Continue Reading...

“We Must Overcome Fear”

In the Catholic Church, the Easter Vigil liturgy is usually the ceremony during which catechumens (non-Christians) and candidates (non-Catholic Christians) are respectively baptized and received into the Church. In Rome this Easter there was a particularly noteworthy baptism, presided over by Pope Benedict. Continue Reading...

Political Labeling: What’s in a Name? Not much

One of the most frustrating things about politics is the use of simplistic labels to categorize political beliefs-in particular, the terms “conservative” and “liberal.” Instead of a “left-right” political spectrum, Libertarians are quick to note that people embrace various degrees of freedom (or government) in two separate realms: economic markets and personal or social behaviors. Continue Reading...

‘Hot air gods’

The title of Curtis White’s provocative but flawed essay in Harpers… As an intro to his primary topic (politics), White has some provocative things to say about the contemporary (American) understanding of our “beliefs”… The most bewildering and yet revealing gesture of a truly fundamental American theology takes place when an individual stands forth and proclaims, “This is my belief”. Continue Reading...

‘What the Democrats can learn from a dead libertarian lawyer’

The subtitle of Damon Root’s article in Reason— food for thought for Dems (and GOP’ers) and a history lesson on an important but obscure figure, Moorfield Storey… With Republicans apparently uninterested in pleasing the libertarian segments of their coalition, some liberals and libertarians—Daily Kos blogger Markos Moulitsas, former Democratic National Committee press secretary Terry Michael, and Reason contributor Matt Welch among them—have suggested an alternative: the libertarian Democrat, the sort of liberal who favors both free speech and free trade, both the right to bare pornography and the right to bear arms. Continue Reading...

Muslim Tolerance

At 93% Muslim—Orthodox churches account for most of the rest—Azerbaijan is the sort of country that tends to lack what some have called “reciprocity,” meaning that Christians enjoy the same freedom relative to the Muslim majority as Muslims do in Christian-majority nations. Continue Reading...

A Note on Social and Intellectual History

Speaking of the history of morality and moral judgments in historiography, Alister MacIntyre makes a pointed observation about a complementary distinction that arises between what might be called “intellectual” and “social” history: Abstract changes in moral concepts are always embodied in real, particular events. Continue Reading...