The Power Of Youth, But Let’s Not Get Carried Away

The United Nations has just published its State of the World Population Report 2014, “1.8 Billion Strong: Adolescents, Youth and the Transformation of the Future.” I always enjoy a good read from the United Nations, and this does not fail to provide much fodder for discussion. Continue Reading...

The Power of the Personal and the Temptation of the Planner

In his latest column, David Brooks examines the limits of data and “objective knowledge” in guiding or directing our imaginations when it comes to solving social problems. Using teenage pregnancy as an example, he notes that although it may be of some use to get a sense on the general drivers of certain phenomena, such information is, in the end, “insufficient for anyone seeking deep understanding”: Unlike minnows, human beings don’t exist just as members of groups. Continue Reading...

Youth: Problem or Solution for New Jobs?

The front page of a recent issue of the Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano read like an Italian “Help Wanted” listing: “Lavori per Giovani Cercasi” (cf. Aug. 13 2010). Unfortunately, this eye-catching headline was not a classified ad targeting young professionals for job openings at the Holy See’s many curial and administrative offices – the prized “stable” positions that would have Roman youth queuing in lines much longer those to enter Sunday Mass at St. Continue Reading...

Less Religion Means More Government

My article from this week’s Acton News & Commentary: Soviet communism adopted Karl Marx’s teaching that religion was the “opiate of the masses” and launched a campaign of bloody religious persecution. Continue Reading...

Should Europeans Work on Sundays?

Today’s Wall Street Journal Europe carries an editorial titled “Jamais on Sunday” approving of the French government’s attempt to allow some businesses to open on Sunday: Parliament is likely today to pass a bill that would scrap the 1906 law restricting Sunday work. Continue Reading...

Youth and the Relevance of the Gospel

There’s been a spate of stories lately in various media about the difficulty that evangelical denominations are having keeping young adults interested in the life of the institutional church. Here’s one from USA Today, “Young adults aren’t sticking with church” (HT: Kruse Kronicle; Out of Ur). Continue Reading...

T.S. Eliot & Ritualistic Nihilism

Lately, I’ve heard one too many emo kids misread T.S. Eliot as being one of their own. In Russell Kirk’s words, it is easy for the “rootless and aimless” of the new generation to over-identify with Eliot, seeing him as a spokesman “for the futility and fatuity of the modern era, all whimper and no bang — a kind of Anglo-American ritualistic nihilism.” And whining, pining, Anglo-American ritualistic nihilism is the cultural trend of the day, whether you look at the musically and lyrically directionless music that tops current charts, the shapelessness and androgyny seeping into high fashion, or the melodramatic and attention-seeking ways teenagers and college students spend their social time (not the least of which takes place on the Internet, through personal blogs, Facebook, and chatting). Continue Reading...