Japan is a nation going under, demographically speaking. It is estimated that Japan will lose 10 million people in population over the next ten years. Like many nations, Japan is not having babies fast enough to keep its population stable. One reason: what the Japanese are calling “sekkusu shinai shokogun, or ‘celibacy syndrome.'” Young people don’t want to date, be intimate, get married, have sex. (more…)
Using Public Information to Protect Religious Liberty
Brian Simboli, Crisis Magazine
The government has tremendous power to obtain information about the citizenry. The latter, however, often has difficulty obtaining information about government activity.
A Map of the World’s Slave Workforce
Tim Fernholz, The Atlantic
According to a new estimate, there are 30 million forced laborers in the world. Some reports show they’re involved in making everything from iPhones to chocolate.
How Business Can Contribute to Flourishing
Brian Baugus, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics
If you’re a Christian working in business, or a young Christian interested in pursuing a career in business, what does it look like to use your God-given talents in this arena? What does it look like to serve others through business?
The Federal Takeover of Catholic Education
Anne Hendershott, Crisis Magazine
Although the Common Core was designed to address problems in the public schools, many Catholic schools have decided to adopt the Common Core standards also.
Forget Max Weber and his Protestant work ethic, says Greg Forster. We don’t need social science to know that God cares about our work:
Nothing shows the difficulty of understanding the relationship between work and faith more than our continued insistence on framing this issue as a debate over Max Weber’s long-discredited theory of the Protestant work ethic. Weber argued that Protestants value work because they think prosperity is proof that you’re saved; as anyone who knows anything about church history can tell you, this was and is slanderous nonsense. He also argued that teaching people that God values their work created an economic system that thrives on greed and materialism; as anyone who knows economic history can tell you, this is just as preposterous. Weber’s theory has been almost universally dismissed by a century of theologians, historians, and economists.
Nonetheless, Weber’s terms and categories continue to dominate popular discussions, because his approach strictly separates “facts” from “values.” This allows secularists to think about possible cultural connections between faith and work while preserving a comfortable work/spirit dualism in their own lives. That dualism is exactly what the faith and work movement seeks to challenge. As long as Weber dominates the conversation it’s difficult to get people to understand the message.
In a recent interview in the Wall Street Journal, billionaire Stan Druckenmiller discusses his recent university tour sounding the alarm on intergenerational theft. The article paraphrases his case:
[W]hile today’s 65-year-olds will receive on average net lifetime benefits of $327,400, children born now will suffer net lifetime losses of $420,600 as they struggle to pay the bills of aging Americans.
It goes on:
When the former money manager visited Stanford University, the audience included older folks as well as students. Some of the oldsters questioned why many of his dire forecasts assume that federal tax collections will stay at their traditional 18.5% of GDP. They asked why taxes should not rise to fulfill the promises already made.
Mr. Druckenmiller’s response: “Oh, so you’ve paid 18.5% for your 40 years and now you want the next generation of workers to pay 30% to finance your largess?” He added that if 18.5% was “so immoral, why don’t you give back some of your ill-gotten gains of the last 40 years?”
He has a similar argument for those on the left who say entitlements can be fixed with an eventual increase in payroll taxes. “Oh, I see,” he says. “So I get to pay a 12% payroll tax now until I’m 65 and then I don’t pay. But the next generation—instead of me paying 15% or having my benefits slightly reduced—they’re going to pay 17% in 2033. That’s why we’re waiting—so we can shift even more to the future than to now?”
No, that’s not the name of a new James Bond movie. Rather, it’s a Public Discourse post by Anthony Esolen that discusses society’s ability (and disability) to get a handle on evil actions and morality.
The cry, “You can’t legislate morality” is, of course, false. That is exactly what law does, as Esolen points out.
All laws bear some relation, however distant, to a moral evaluation of good and bad. We cannot escape making moral distinctions. One man’s theft is another man’s redistribution of income. One man’s defense of family honor is another man’s murder. Even people who reduce law to utilitarian calculations cannot evade this truth.
Earlier this month, Christian’s Library Press co-sponsored a discussion between Ken Myers, Matthew Lee Anderson, and British moral philosopher Oliver O’Donovan. Held a few blocks from the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., the conversation addressed questions and themes of political theology and was loosely centered around O’Donovan’s 1996 book The Desire of the Nations.
Click here to listen to an audio of the conversation on the website of Mars Hill Audio Journal.
There’s a fascinating profile of Jim DeMint, the new president of the Heritage Foundation, in BusinessWeek, which makes a good pairing for this NYT piece that focuses on the GOP’s “civil war” between establishment Republicans and Tea Partiers.
But one of the comments that really stuck out to me concerning DeMint’s move from the Senate to a think tank was his realization about what it would take to change the political culture in Washington. As Joshua Green writes, DeMint had previously worked to get a new brand of GOP legislator elected to Congress, including Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. But later “DeMint gave up trying to purify the party from within.”