November 25, 2015

CathCon Weekly - 11/25/2015

As I do not plan to post on Friday, given my "holiday" status, I decided to post this today, as it is lengthy and full of good reads. Enjoy, and Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!

In Populous City Pent - Andrew Klavan, City Journal
I don’t like cities much and yet, for my sins, I’ve spent a lot of my lifetime in them. A year in San Francisco, ten years in Manhattan off and on, a year in Boston, seven years in London—and now, after 15 sweet summers in a suburban Southern California paradise, I’ve moved to Los Angeles. Again, for my sins...
The Productivity Obsession - Melissa Gregg, The Atlantic
The mutually reinforcing appeal of productivity in HR and IT departments is that fewer resources are required for a job. If workers can be encouraged to demonstrate their own efficiency, to see this as a badge of honor, this weakens collective demands for more colleagues to share the load.
The End of All Our Efficiency - Gracy Olmstead, American Conservatives
I think of this when I pull up the GPS on my phone, and find myself obsessively checking the “ETA” throughout my drive. If I’m using Google Maps, it’ll quickly alert me when a faster route becomes available. I speed even when I’m not in a hurry, just to see the minutes disappear on my ETA—to see that I’ve saved precious time. The very idea that I’ve “saved time” can give a sensation of pleasure and satisfaction.
Love the Process... - Emily Carde, Humane Pursuits
So throughout my life I have sought to cultivate a love of looking. And I firmly believe  it has helped me see the value and meaning in the journey itself.
Pornography: Our Greatest Ongoing Spiritual Threat - Fr. C. John McCloskey, The Catholic Thing
One of the issues that they chose to address this year concerns what is perhaps the greatest ongoing threat to the spiritual and physical health of the Catholics in United States. It breaks up marriages, kills the state of grace, and in many cases destroys the possibility of vocations to the priesthood and to the religious life. It is a plague and its name is: pornography.
Time to Stop Laughing at the Gold Standard -  Norbert Michel, Daily Signal
The other policy that’s under attack—and it’s hardly the first time—is the gold standard. Several candidates suggested that the gold standard was a good system, and they’re all getting flak for talking about gold.
Mercy in a World Gone Mad - William Doino, Jr., First Things
Terrorists certainly tempt us to abandon our moral beliefs, and every sensible person knows something more needs to be done to fight ISIS and the growing danger of global jihadism. Even the Pope and his diplomats, quite reluctant to condone military action of any kind, have acknowledged the necessity of using force to defend and protect innocent lives. 
Why Spike Lee Is Wrong About Gentrification - Kay S. Hymowitz, City Journal
Yet by the time Glass was observing her new neighbors arranging their bookshelves, seismic changes were already setting the stage for the middle class’s urban return. One was deindustrialization.
It’s Time for a New Moynihan Moment - Ben Peterson, Public Discourse
The American Dream is about equality of opportunity. It includes the belief that a person can rise from any station in life to success and the idea that artificial barriers tied to race, class, or gender need not—must not—stand in the way of climbing the commercial, social, or political ladder.
Thanksgiving with Tocqueville - Corbin & Parks, Liberty Law Blog
For the few and the proud who can look forward to a civil discussion of today’s news in addition to a delicious meal, this year’s political menu includes the ongoing craziness on college campuses, the collapse of twelve of the twenty-three Obamacare state co-ops, and the twists and turns of the presidential race, not to mention the deadly seriousness of another horrific terrorist attack.
Why Horror Films Are Good for the Soul - Dwight Longenecker, Imaginative Conservative
However, a horror film which portrays a hero engaging the darkness in battle reminds the audience of the reality of the spiritual battle. When the film is resolved justly, and with appropriate subtlety, the result is satisfactory. When the hero eventually overcomes the darkness through spiritual and moral strength, and ultimate self-sacrifice, the film keeps alive in a godless culture not only the importance of the battle between good and evil, but also the power and possibility of redemption.
Why the Bill of Rights Is a Failure - Bruce Frohnen, Imaginative Conservative
I have often thought that Americans believe the Framers of their Constitution actually bequeathed to them a bill of rights, with a frame of government attached as an appendix, in the form of a few general suggestions.
A Rape Survivor Speaks Out About Transgender Bathrooms - Kaeley Triller, The Federalist
Why would people knowingly invite further exploitation by creating policies with no safeguards in place to protect them from injury? With zero screening options to ensure that biological males who enter locker rooms actually identify as female, how could a woman be sure the person staring at her wasn’t exploiting her? Why is it okay to make her wonder?
Resettle Refugees In Their Own Lands - Luma Simms, The Federalist
I was born in Baghdad to Christian parents who emigrated the old-fashioned way—legally—and for an old-fashioned reason: The treatment of Christians, like my family, by Muslims in the surrounding culture.
The Joy of ISIS - Ross Douthat, NYT
If you don’t recognize that for at least some of the Islamic State’s young volunteers there is a feeling of joy and celebration involved in joining up, then you’re a very long way from understanding the caliphate’s remarkable appeal.
The Downside of Diversity - Michael Jonas,
IT HAS BECOME increasingly popular to speak of racial and ethnic diversity as a civic strength. From multicultural festivals to pronouncements from political leaders, the message is the same: our differences make us stronger.
More Thoughts About Immigration—and Some Suggestions - James Kalb, Crisis
As I noted last month, the basic function of government, like the basic function of authority in the family, is to look after the common good of the community being governed. For that reason, policymakers should take very seriously the effect of immigration on their own countries, and commentators should discuss those effects fully and honestly.
The Dangers of Egalitarianism in a Democracy - Louis Markos, Imaginative Conservative
Most Americans take for granted that democracy is an absolute good. If it can be said of an idea or a program that it promotes equality, Americans, whatever their political affiliations, will be loath to speak ill of the idea or to protest the program. “Of course,” they will think to themselves, “anything that fosters fairness and equal treatment must be good for society. Should we not strive to treat everyone the same?  Is that not what America is all about?”
The English Way of Humanism - Bradley J. Birzer, Imaginative Conservative
John Fisher, Father David Mathews argues, carried with him a certain innocence and holy naivete throughout his life, despite the company he kept of royalty and humanists. “The piety and old-fashioned scholarship, the careful fine calligraphy, the controlled appreciation of good letters, would all seem to have marked out Dr. Fisher for a life of learning and quiet pastoral care; the stole, the doctor’s cap; hardly the mitre.”
Ben Shapiro Crashes Mizzou Protesters’ Safe Space - Leah Jessen, Daily Signal
To the apparent consternation of students demonstrating for racial justice at the University of Missouri, conservative commentator Ben Shapiro crashed their so-called “safe space.” 
“Welcome to America, where people get to say what they want,” Shapiro said during a Thursday night speech at Mizzou.
Religious Faith of the Campus Social-Justice Warrior - David French, NRO
The campus culture war is a religious war, a so-far largely peaceful counterpart to the violent purges and revolutions of jihad. One faith has been expunged, relegated to the margins of the academy, and now another fills the vacuum. Out with the Christianity that spawned American higher education, in with a ferocious new faith — a social-justice progressivism unrestrained by humility and consumed with righteous zeal.
Gnostic, Elitist, Self-Destructive Will-to-Power - Roberta Green Ahmanson, Public Discourse
Planned Parenthood executives bargain to sell aborted body parts, Bruce Jenner strikes a pose across the cover of Vanity Fair, Justice Anthony Kennedy spews purple prose in Obergefell, and California Governor Jerry Brown signs a law allowing doctors to kill.
The Yale Problem Begins in High School - Jonathan Haidt, Public Discourse
A month before the Yale Halloween meltdown, I had a bizarre and illuminating experience at an elite private high school on the West Coast. I’ll call it Centerville High. I gave a version of a talk that you can see here, on Coddle U. vs. Strengthen U. (In an amazing coincidence, I first gave that talk at Yale a few weeks earlier). The entire student body — around 450 students, from grades 9-12 — were in the auditorium. There was plenty of laughter at all the right spots, and a lot of applause at the end, so I thought the talk was well received.
Captain America: Brother Against Brother - Matthew Bowman, Catholic Geeks
The United States Civil War is often described as being a conflict wherein brother fought brother. It’s a poetic description, but as accurate as only poetry can be. It is both literally and metaphorically true.
Millennial Country Music Bodes Ill for Civic Virtue - Mark Pulliam, Liberty Law Blog
As John McGinnis explained in his recent series of posts regarding the Constitution’s design for creating civic virtue (here, here, and here), a free society depends on a responsible citizenry, strong families, and thriving civic associations that foster social cohesion.

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