December 24, 2015

CathCon Weekly - 12/24/2015

For Balaam laid before us precisely
the meaning of the words he spoke in prophecy,
when he said that a Star would dawn,
a Star that quenches all prophecies and auguries;
a Star that resolves the parables of the wise,
and their sayings and their riddles,
a Star far more brilliant than the star
which has appeared, for he is the maker of all the stars,
of whom it was written of old, ‘From Jacob, there dawns
 a little Child, God before the ages.’
-Kontakion on The Nativity of Christ, St. Romanos

The Busybody Left - Thomas Sowell, Human Events
Nowhere in the Constitution does it grant the federal government the power to dictate such things. But places that do not mix and match people the way Washington wants them to can lose all sorts of federal money they currently receive under numerous programs.
On “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” - William E. Graddy, Touchstone
It seems that every other store or coffee shop I visited three years ago this December was playing either “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” or “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” The sock-hoppish cheerfulness of the one was even more glaringly out of key with our national mood that winter than the twilight wistfulness of the other, but the continuing popularity of “I’ll Be Home” remains the greater puzzle to me nonetheless.
The Functional Anthropologist, Roger Scruton - Peter Augustine Lawler, Liberty Law Blog
Roger Scruton is the greatest living conservative thinker. Well, that’s controversial, you might say. The other great thinkers around these days are more ambivalent about being conservative. Some libertarians, after all, think of themselves as liberals opposing themselves to conservatives. And the French philosopher Pierre Manent, like most American followers of Leo Strauss, thinks of himself as a conservative liberal. But the Buckinghamshire-born Scruton defines himself as a conservative, as opposed to a liberal, although he admits that it might be impossible to be conservative all the time.
Reclaiming the Common Good - Benjamin Smith, Imaginative Conservative
The problem of political unity is a perennial question of political philosophy because it is always timely. How do the many become and remain one body politic? In other words, how can a plurality of individuals, all with their own immediate concerns, aptitudes, and interests, cohere as a single people or nation?
T.S. Eliot’s “Christianity and Culture” - Bruce Frohnen, Imaginative Conservative
Eliot clearly is engaged in an intellectual pursuit, explaining and defining key terms in our public discourse. But this puts him no less, and perhaps more, at odds with contemporary standards of intellectual life than if he were merely seeking converts.
 Triggering Decline - Arthur Milikh, City Journal
This summer, some Columbia University students demanded a ban on Greek and Roman poetry at the Ivy League school. In November, an undercover reporter showed the willingness of Yale, Cornell, and Vassar College administrators literally to shred the U.S. Constitution if students complained that it “triggered” them. Disguising derision as idealism, the postmodern campus aggrievement industry aims to introduce a new standard of wisdom: judging the highest achievements of human knowledge by the unreasoned, spontaneous feelings of uncultivated minds.
Most Senior Citizens Haven’t Fully Paid for Their Medicare - Robert Moffit, Daily Signal
Have senior citizens really “paid for” the Medicare and Social Security benefits they enjoy in retirement?  Many believe so. But for the vast majority, the answer is – unequivocally- No.
Russell Kirk: Peacenik Prophet - Bradley J. Birzer, Imaginative Conservative
While very few modern conservatives—especially those who sell conservatism as a consumer product—even remember the movement’s founder, Russell Kirk, those who do remember him often do so by envisioning him as an antiquated relic, having passed from this world long after he had contributed much to it.
Pride, Solace, and Self-Delusion - Bruce Frohnen, Nomocracy in Politics
In 1978, as the last round of campus insanity was settling down into generalized myopia, Norman Jacobson of the University of California at Berkeley published Pride and Solace: The Functions and Limits of Political Theory. It is not a good book. But its intellectual conceit—that all thinking people must choose between a life of pride and one consumed by the pursuit of solace—well sums up the progressive mindset of the last 150 years.
Why America is Moving Left - Peter Beinart, The Atlantic
Understanding why requires understanding why the Democratic Party—and more important, the country at large—is becoming more liberal.
Is America Really Moving Left? -  American Interest
In the current issue of the Atlantic, Peter Beinart makes an effort to revive a version of the “emerging Democratic majority” thesis, arguing that demographic change and the rise of Millennial generation is pushing the country to the left, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Jingle Hell -  Andrew Ferguson, Weekly Standard
In the city where I live, one of the pop music radio stations shifts to an all-Christmas music format beginning in .  .  . oh, I don't know, late August?
We Must Revive the Virtue of Gratitude - V.D. Hanson, NRO
The Roman philosopher and statesman Cicero insisted that gratitude was “the parent of all the other virtues.” Cicero did not define gratitude as Mafia-like loyalty or mutual back-scratching. He was not referring to a pop socialism where all supposedly owe their successes to the government.
Should Musicians Be Social Activists? - Andrew Balio, Imaginative Conservative
It’s hard not to sympathize with the plight of the young musician who, despite or perhaps rather because of his passion, is destined to scrape together his living in “the real world” outside the towering ivory walls of our traditional institutions of classical music. We sense that his is the lot of the disenfranchised—which, we might suspect, in some ways we too share.

December 18, 2015

CathCon Weekly - 12/18/2015

Did Inequality Cause ISIS? - Benjamin Weingarten, City Journal
That Piketty would come to such an ill-conceived conclusion that jihadism is attributable to “inequality” may be a mere reflection of his myopia—indeed anyone heavily invested in a particular area of study may imagine linkages in other areas. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that a socialist interprets the jihad according to first materialist principles. But it should disturb us that many in the Western elite—including President Obama—either share such sentiments or are willing to mislead us for political purposes.
The Closing of Barack Obama’s Mind - Peter Wehner, Commentary
If you want to witness an adamantine mind at work, you could do a whole lot worse that observe the 44th president of the United States. Barack Obama is the most rigidly ideological president of my lifetime, a man who has a nearly blind adherence to a particular ideology (progressivism). It’s a disturbing, if at times a psychologically fascinating, thing to witness.
Can GOP Fatten Up Around the Middle? - Joel Kotkin, City Journal
Although some donors care about other issues, including Israel and, sometimes, social issues, the big money in the party is focused on reducing tax burdens. After all, if you are an investment bank, pharmaceutical firm or oil company, your concerns involve finding ways to avoid, or at least slow down, the taxman.
Bringing America Home - George W. Carey, Imaginative Conservative
The subtitle, “How America Lost Her Way and How We Can Find Our Way Back,” indicates the general organization of the book—that is, it consists of two main parts: the first detailing how and in what ways we have wandered off course; the second with how we can recover our proper bearings. Now, in claiming that America has lost its way, Pauken means, in effect, that we have abandoned conservatism, the more traditional conservatism associated with Goldwater and Reagan.
Shutting Down Conversations About Rape - Jeannie Suk, The New Yorker
Winston’s attorneys have put public documents related to his case on a dedicated Web site so that people who see the film can evaluate the facts of the case for themselves. I won’t belabor the merits of the case or the accuracy of the film here, but, as Emily Yoffe noted on Slate, “what the evidence (including Willingham’s own testimony) shows is often dramatically at odds with the account presented in the film.”
Our Great Sexual Adventure: Where Does It End? - Jeremy Neill, Public Discourse
All signs suggest that further and more exotic sexual explorations will soon be gaining our collective approval. But I disagree with them on another point: I think that even in the absence of a near-term turnaround, a medium- or long-term victory for traditional sexual ethics is all but certain.
How to Fix College Admissions - Samuel Goldman, American Conservative
The problem with this strategy is not that it lets in vast numbers of unqualified students. It is that universities’ commitment to maintaining a specific demographic balance without applying quotas encourages opacity, and even downright dishonesty, in the admissions process.
The Contemporary Denial of Reality - Anthony Esolen, Crisis
Prudence, writes Josef Pieper in The Christian View of Man, is the root of all the natural virtues, and there is an obvious reason why. It is the virtue of seeing reality as it is. There can be no true virtue without it, because the virtues are to be exercised among imperfect human beings, not among angels or demons or brutes, and in the world before us, not in a never-land of the fantasies or nightmares of ideology.
Tolkien’s Mythology Before World War I - Bradley Birzer, Imaginative Conservative
In a letter written to the Wheaton College literary professor and early scholar of the Inklings, Clyde Kilby, Tolkien added at the end as a footnote: “I hope that this may reach you at or about Christmas. Lux fulgebat super nos.* Eala EƤrendil engla beorhtast ofer middangeard monnum sended (Rapturous words from which ultimately sprang the whole of my mythology). 
The Establishment Radicals of the Modern University - Matthew Franck, First Things
Next autumn will mark forty years since I arrived on a college campus as a freshman. I’ve never left the academy since then. I have been student or teacher at many types of institutions: the small liberal-arts college, the “Research I” state university that completely dominates a small town, the ambitious urban Jesuit university “in the Catholic tradition,” the middling-quality “comprehensive” state university educating many first-generation college students, the great self-confident Ivy League institution, even a very fine university in an Asian capital city.
These Two Sisters Couldn’t Be Closer - Megan Daum, Vogue
For the first eight years of her life, Kristina Schake fell asleep listening to the sound of her older sister, Kori’s, voice. When the girls got their own rooms, Kristina refused to spend nights in hers, sleeping instead next to Kori’s bed. From there, Kori would tell Kristina stories from Greek mythology, read her Jane Austen, or regale her with tales of high school social intrigue. 
How Political Correctness Corrupted the Colleges -  Daphne Patai, Minding the Campus
How can it be that, in the face of daily news of murders, grotesque punishments, and open oppression by radicals abroad, here at home American college students, who have grown up with degrees of freedom and autonomy virtually unknown in most times and places, agitate for restrictions on their own campuses, demand rules, regulations, and censorship in the name of their versions of justice?
What is the Actual US Divorce Rate and Risk? - Glenn Stanton, Public Discourse
There’s a great deal of fog today about what the actual divorce rate is in the United States. Some say it’s around 50 percent, others—including some notable authors—say it’s nowhere close to that. Some incorrectly believe that the 50 percent number comes from a simple comparison of the number of weddings and divorces in a given year, yet no serious scholar or demographer has ever measured divorce rates that way.
The Challenge of Self-Governance - Alexander Salter, Imaginative Conservative
There is no such thing as a finished constitution. As a foundational feature of political organization, constitutions are constantly being renewed or altered, but rarely are they static, and never for long. 
Critical Race Theory and Law’s Future - Bruce Frohnen, Nomocracy in Politics
In it Mr. Hinderaker details the demands of a group of radical students aiming to change the character of the law school. The list emphasizes “student input,” changes in various symbols to erase the school’s “racist” patrimony, yet another layer of coddling in the form of a “diversity committee,” and the hiring of yet more leftists, this time of a specific type, called “Critical Race Theorists.” In sum, the demands are a predictably self-indulgent adolescent power grab.
The ‘Isolationist’ Smear - David Harsanyi, The Federalist
The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin writes that Ted Cruz “outdid himself last night in his courting of the Trumpkin base,” sinking “further into the far-right brew of isolationism and xenophobia.” And to prove this contention, Rubin grabs hold of two words Cruz used, “America” and “first,” to claim that the Texas senator is signaling support for 1930s/40s-style isolationism.
Europe, Multiculturalism, and Nihilism - Luca Volonte, Public Discourse
Many interesting and ridiculous things have been said and written about the terrible ISIS attack on innocents in Paris. Yet, because of the manipulation of mass media, our memory is anesthetized. If we are not now, we will soon be ready to forget the tragedy in Paris, as we have already forgotten the tragedy of the Russian airplane in Sinai, the killing of Israeli citizens, and Boko Haram’s massacres in Nigeria, Egypt, and Tunisia. This is just the latest slaughter, which we will soon forget.
The Secret of Trump’s Success - Ross Douthat, NYT
My sense of things, last night and in the cold light of morning, is that yesterday evening’s Republican debate mostly maintained the primary race’s status quo — Trump on top, Rubio and Cruz jockeying beneath, and room for maybe one more candidate to work their way into the not-Trump mix.
The Future of European Civilization: Lessons for America - Roger Scruton, Heritage
In a gloomy but strangely enthralling book published at the end of the First World War, the historian and polymath Oswald Spengler wrote of the decline of the West, arguing that Europe was moving inevitably to its end according to a pattern that can be observed among civilizations from the beginning of recorded history.
What “Social Justice” Really Means - James V. Schall, S.J., Crisis
For much of my academic life, I considered the terms, “values,” “rights,” and “social justice,” to have equivocal meanings. When these terms were used without clarification, they disrupted any fair social order. Each of the phrases had two or more meanings that usually meant the direct opposite of each other.
Making Sense of the Progressive Mind - James Kalb, Crisis
People who reject secular progressivism, especially in its more highly developed forms, are often puzzled by its proponents. Do they really believe what they say they believe, for example, that diversity is always strength, or traditional religion and morality are dangerous and irrational bigotries, or there are no significant differences between men and women?
Diagnosing Our American Illness - Justin Dyer, Public Discourse
Obama’s claims that evening were grandiose, even by the standards of the 2008 campaign. On a stage in St. Paul, Minnesota, the first-term Illinois senator positioned himself as a visionary leader ushering in a new era of American politics, shedding past partisan divisions and uniting a generation around the promises of hope and change.

December 15, 2015

Students with NSU Syndrome

It is an illness which I hear complained of often from professor friends of mine, and which I have (on occasion) experienced myself. The problem in this instance is not student lack of learning, or lack of intelligence; rather, the disease seems to infect the frontal lobe, manifesting in lack of desire or will. The hope is that this blog post will help professors to sympathize with those afflicted and learn, thereby, to increase the satisfaction for all involved.

I speak here of the various symptoms encompassed by the diagnosis: "not showing up" or NSU.

NSU makes its appearance in several ways.

First, students afflicted with NSU cannot, under any circumstance, turn in an assignment on time. If told at the beginning of the Fall semester that, "Friday, December 18, 2015 at 5:30 PM is the absolute deadline," then such students will be seen at 6:30, attempting to slide the paper under the professor's door. Often, students afflicted with NSU offer no excuses, while others offer feeble ones relating to car trouble or animal consumption of homework. If asked why the student did not then email the paper with an explanation, there is no answer. If given a "break" early in the semester, and permitted a late paper with a warning, then the next paper will be late as well, with concomitant lack of, or weak, excuse. These students seem rather blindsided by the idea that anyone would hold them to a standard of behavior and classroom performance.

Second, the more serious affliction of NSU results in high absences from class and complete lack of assignment completion. This is usually combined with stunned looks or slackjaw (not related to lockjaw, but producing similar effects) upon being informed that they have been administratively withdrawn from the class, or have failed for lack of attendance and / or lack of completion. For the slightly more motivated, angry letters, emails, or phone calls from the students or (as likely) the students' parents may ensue.

However, that NSU is a disease, and nearly uncurable, cannot be doubted. Many of these students are of more than capable intelligence, and not all come from disadvantaged backgrounds, but cannot function with NSU despite those advantages. Professors must encourage other professors to be aware of this disease, and to pass such students along without demanding much of them, preferably making the student believe that the student has somehow "passed" the class despite lack of any real work or learning. This has the added advantage of saving the professor a great deal of useless attempts at meeting student learning outcomes, giving the professor quite a high classroom ranking, and preventing the need to collect and grade (or even distribute) classroom work or homework.

Should the professor feel the need to do something in class to justify a salary, s/he may engage in superficial discussion of social justice issues, preferably leaning leftward, for which the professor will find a ready and willing sponge in the NSU-ite, eager to parrot the professor. If any student dissents, the professor should take that student aside and encourage the student to similarly tread lightly around the poor NSU-afflicted, creating an atmosphere of comradeship that will buoy all student satisfaction and maintain an environment encouraging for all to participate and experience emotional fulfillment.

December 11, 2015

CathCon Weekly - 12/11/2015

The Best Way Forward For the Church - James Kalb, Crisis
Things look bad in the Church and Western world just now. The Church, humanly speaking, seems to be destroying herself through unresisted absorption in a secular world with which she has ever less in common. What was once her real though imperfect reflection, the civilization of the West, is also destroying itself through willful rejection of moral and cultural tradition reinforced by demographic suicide.
Obama’s Less Orwellian Terrorism Speech - Ken Masugi, Liberty Law Blog
On the day before the Pearl Harbor anniversary (which he did not reference), President Obama admitted that “Our nation has been at war with terrorists since Al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 Americans on 9/11,” including horrors that his Administration previously dismissed as workplace violence. While much of what he said seemed to deny the reality of war, the last fourth of the speech raises the key question of what Muslims owe the rest of the world in this time of war.
Understanding and Countering the Liberal Wringer - Scott Yenor, Public Discourse
According to the modern idea, marriage is merely a consenting relationship between adults, for whatever purposes those adults define. This idea has given us same-sex marriage. As many have pointed out, plural marriage is the next logical step. Why should a marriage so understood be limited to two people?
Liberalism’s Gun Problem - Ross Douthat, NYT
Despite their occasional sympathies for Gallic socialism, I don’t think American liberals necessarily want to “get to France” in this illiberal sense.
But to be persuasive, rather than just self-righteous, a case for gun control needs to explain why that isn’t where we would end up.
The Times are Out of Joint - Robert Royal, The Catholic Thing
Italian has a word (coined from Shakespeare’s Hamlet) – “amletico” – for the kind of narcissist who indulges in eloquent, self-regarding, moral soliloquies, but doesn’t ever really do anything.
Is Barack Obama Qualified To Identify True Islam? - Rachel Lu, The Federalist
Most of us realized this quite some time ago. It’s ironic that this admission, coming from the White House and a Democratic president, really does count as breaking news. Can we finally talk openly about the real dimensions of this problem? Is it time, at least, to stop pretending this is really just about “workplace violence” or the availability of guns?
Wilson, Jefferson, & the Will to Ignorance - Bruce Frohnen, Imaginative Conservative
The crybullies currently raging through American campuses collecting scalps (oops! microaggression) have set their sights on dead villains as well as live ones. The motivation is the same, of course, to harness the resentment they have learned in school as a tool of self-aggrandizement in power, influence, and cheap pride. 
A Champion of Inherited Culture - William McCann, University Bookman
H. L. Mencken once said that the college professor, “menaced by the timid dogmatism of the plutocracy above him and the incurable suspiciousness of the mob, beneath him, is almost invariably inclined to seek his own security in a mellifluous inanity.”
On What Is Not Found in English Departments - James V. Schall, S.J., University Bookman
In A Literary Education and Other Essays is found Joseph Epstein’s 2011 review, “English as It’s Taught” in The Cambridge History of the American Novel. This hefty tome has seventy-one chapters with some twelve hundred pages brilliantly written, to Epstein’s amusement, so that no one else but professors teaching in English department could or would read them, and he is not sure about them either. English departments, as I have long suspected, are the last bastions of Marxism in the Western world.
How I Didn't Become a Conservative - Thomas Storck, Distributist Review
What unites those who attend this meeting? Obviously it could be hostility toward those who call themselves liberals. After all, are not liberals those who favor abortion, same-sex unions, a government that grows annually bigger like a cancer?
Krampus - Edmund Waldstein, OP, Sancrucensis
My first encounter with Krampus — St Nicholas’s demon slave who punishes the naughty children who say their prayers, while St Nicholas rewards the good children — was also my most memorable encounter with that spirit.
In Search of American Fascism - Ross Douthat, NYT
Certainly during the great “Liberal Fascism” contretemps this was one of the assumptions held by a number of Jonah Goldberg’s critics, and one of the major claims lodged against his thesis — that some kind of traditionalism is essential to fascism and therefore fascism is definitionally an ideology of the right, and so even if you can find fascistic tendencies (a cult of action, a fervent nationalism, an embrace of race science, a constant quest for the moral equivalent of war) in American progressivism’s past or present, you need a different label for what you’re actually describing than the f-word.
Why Do They Come Here? - V.D. Hanson, NRO
Why would Ms. Tashfeen Malik, who was born in Pakistan but lived most of her life in Saudi Arabia, want to come to the United States?
Liberal Nihilism in a Nutshell - V.D. Hanson, PJ Media
He opposed gay marriage. He warned that he could not use presidential fiats to grant amnesty, close down Guantanamo, or remake the EPA in his own image. He borrowed as never before, in vain hopes of kicking-starting a natural recovery that he would soon abort through his own anti-business jawboning, more regulations, growth in government, and tax increases.
Welfare Isn’t Dead - Thomas Main, City Journal
Welfare reform destroyed the social safety net—that’s the thesis of Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer’s $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America. “Welfare is dead,” as the title of the first chapter has it. This phrase turns out to mean not that there literally is no federal welfare program—there is; it’s called Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF)—but that the nearly 60 percent decline in the welfare rolls has caused the number of families with a daily cash income of $2 or less per person to more than double, to about 1.5 million households by 2011.
Same-Sex Marriage, Religious Schools, and Parental Rights - Nathan Swanson, Public Discourse
The “inversion of the original meaning of liberty” in Obergefell v. Hodges, observed Justice Clarence Thomas in dissent, “will likely cause collateral damage to other aspects of our constitutional order that protect liberty . . . It appears all but inevitable that [civil and religious marriage] will come into conflict.”
Keynes Was No Keynesian - Allen H. Meltzer, Hoover
The United States and much of the developed world have been subjected to many decades of so-called Keynesian policy. These policies have left many of the countries, ours especially, with heavy debts and continuing budget deficits. Our current slow recovery has come on the heels of the Obama administration’s 2009 Keynesian “stimulus” of nearly one trillion dollars, which was followed by additional deficit spending. 
Is Gun Control Even Possible in the U.S.? - Rachel Lu, Crisis
Catholics have no clear, dogmatic position on guns. The American bishops have occasionally indicated that they are favorable to gun control, although this has never been a major point of emphasis for them. The Catechism of the Catholic Church mentions that it is permissible to do injury to others in self-defense, or in defense of the lives of innocents. Clearly, a great deal of prudential calculation is needed to form an informed policy position from such limited data points.
Corporations are People, Too - Carson Holloway, Public Discourse
A few weeks ago, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell. The Little Sisters, an order of Catholic nuns, seek relief from mandates issued by the Obama administration that require them to provide health insurance that includes artificial contraception. The Little Sisters contend that the mandates require them to provide coverage contrary to their religious beliefs, in violation of their rights under the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The Problem with the Ancient Greeks - Bruce Frohnen, Nomocracy in Politics
Too many public intellectuals, and especially teachers of political science, continue to present ancient Greek political thought as providing a kind of model for contemporary conduct and regime analysis. This statement may seem odd coming from a self-identified conservative.
Imagining a World Without Time - Eva Brann, Imaginative Conservative
Here is a theory of time. It is neither new to me nor new in the world. I formulated it for publication in 1999 and had it formulated for me, so I could make it my own, sixteen hundred years ago by Augustine in 399 C.E. and some three quarters of a millennium before that by Aristotle, post-335 B.C.E.*
Then and Now in Academia - Paul Gottfried, Unz Review
Recent troubles at Yale, Missouri, and other campuses have made me think about how the academic culture has changed – much for the worse I believe. But a former colleague (who recently passed) used to tell me how much better the academic world seemed to him now than when he was a graduate student circa 1970.
A Response to David Bentley Hart - Samuel Gregg, Public Discourse
Hart adds that he “simply cannot find an assertion anywhere in its pages that strikes me as anything other than either a plain statement of fact or a reasonable statement of Christian principle.” Such comments are audacious but untenable. Close examination of some of Laudato Si’s arguments does raise questions about their coherence.
Congress’s Diminishing Power of the Purse - Randal John Meyer, First Things
One of the most important aspects of the separation of powers is the commitment of the power of the purse to the legislative branch. It constrains the executive and the judiciary from engaging in unilateral action without congressional approval. If there’s no approval, there will be no money to pay for the executive action, as the rule would have it. Unsurprisingly, with the advent of the administrative state and an aggressive executive, this power has been significantly diminished in modern times
The Growing Threat of Historical Presentism - Paul Bartow, AEI
The outrage began with the calls for removal of the Confederate Flag and exploded to assaults on John Calhoun, Woodrow Wilson, and most recently on Thomas Jefferson. 
Do People, Or Do People Not, Respond to Welfare Payments? - Don Boudreaux, Cafe Hayek
Yesterday in the Copenhagen airport, awaiting a flight back to the U.S., I had a pleasant if brief conversation with a Danish-American woman.  A fair summary of her views about government-provided welfare is the following...
The Devolution of the American Presidency - Clyde Wilson, Imaginative Conservative
The American President began as Cincinnatus, a patriot called to the temporary service of his country (a republican confederation). The President ends as Caesar, a despot of almost unlimited power, presiding over a global empire.

December 4, 2015

CathCon Weekly - 12/4/2015

Black Tape at Harvard Law - Randall Kennedy, NYT
Cambridge, Mass. — IN a grand corridor of Harvard Law School, framed professors’ photographs hang on a wall. A week ago, someone put slivers of black tape over the faces of most of the African-American professors. I am one of those whose photograph was marked.
Liberal Education Makes You Free - Christopher Nelson, Imaginative Conservative
The aim of liberal education is to help people become free. It tries to educate people who are free to search out knowledge on their own, people who are not dependent on others to tell them what they need to know, and ultimately, people who are the best judges of their own needs. It tries to help people master the abilities needed for self-directed learning.
This is Not a Day Care. It's a University - Everett Piper, OkU
This past week, I actually had a student come forward after a university chapel service and complain because he felt “victimized” by a sermon on the topic of 1 Corinthians 13. It appears that this young scholar felt offended because a homily on love made him feel bad for not showing love! In his mind, the speaker was wrong for making him, and his peers, feel uncomfortable.
Christopher Dawson, Education, and the Transcendent - Leo Ward, Imaginative Conservative
Dawson wanted to know what, given our situation, could be done about a liberal education and about an effective acquaintance with transcendent purpose in and through education. Is either a liberal education or an education in divine transcendent things now possible?
A Monastic Response to Islam - Dwight Longenecker, Imaginative Conservative
“What can man do against such reckless hate?” asks the trapped and helpless Theoden King in Peter Jackson’s The Two Towers.
The Coming of Advent - Fr. Gerald E. Murray, The Catholic Thing
The pagan notion of time, and thus history, is an endless, circular repetition of events – similar to the annual cycle of the seasons. Yet this repetitive way of interpreting reality imprisons man in a pointless round. Where are we heading if there is no end point to time, just a constant replay involving a changing cast of characters who come and go?
Congress vs. The Administrative State - George Will, NRO
In four opinions in 112 days between March 9 and June 29, Thomas indicted the increasing incoherence of the Court’s separation-of-powers jurisprudence. This subject is central to today’s argument between constitutionalists and progressives...
A Plea Regarding "Liberal" - Daniel Klein, Modern Age
Here I make a plea, addressed to conservatives and libertarians, regarding the word liberal: please do not describe leftists, progressives, social democrats, or Democrats as “liberal.” I do not ask that you describe yourself as “liberal.” Continue to call yourself “conservative” or “libertarian.” I propose only a single step: don’t call leftists “liberal.” By this single step, we can make great strides.
Examples of Media Hypocrisy on Gun Violence - Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist
And yes, that was Planned Parenthood approvingly linking to an article decrying dehumanizing others as a means to legitimizing violent action against them. You cannot make this stuff up.
Schopenhauer and Postmodern Ethical Affectation - Pedro Blas Gonzalez, University Bookman
Postmodern ethics is the illicit child of the argumentum ad populum rejection of gravitas—the destruction of what Unamuno calls a “sense for life.” In effect, we have successfully transformed ethics into a cottage industry.
Has Christianity Become a Coward’s Religion? - Bruce Frohnen, Imaginative Conservative
It is up to each one of us to see to it that we face the much lesser though more insidious temptations of cowardice in the face of mere, empty secularism to kill our faith.
Did the Constitution Kill the Common Good? - Thaddeus Kozinski, Imaginative Conservative
Michael Hannon and Robert George are both orthodox Catholic thinkers who subscribe to a personalist anthropology and Aristotelian/Thomistic social philosophy, one that interprets the character of the modern, autonomous individual as an evil fiction, one that recognizes the existence and priority of intrinsic, common goods, and one that posits the indispensability of social communities ordered by and to such common goods and the virtues for human flourishing.
Reforms...Save An Average Household $4,440 a Year - Salim Furth, Daily Signal
Just 12 economic policy reforms would save the average household $4,440 a year. Opening up markets to more competition, treating outsiders and insiders equally, and squeezing out bureaucratic delays could push prices down enough to give American families some budgetary breathing room.
Moms, Like College Students, Can’t Handle Criticism - Bethany Mandel, The Federalist
No longer are college students demanding “trigger warnings”—they’re out for blood from anyone who dares to not bend to politically correct whims of the week. 
Master of None - John V. Fleming, Gladly Lerne, Gladly Teche
From 1969 until 1972, then again for an eight-year period after the universal college system was instituted at Princeton, I served as the Master of Wilson College.  I poured my heart into a job to which I devoted a full quarter of my teaching career. 
On Corporations and LGBTQ Political Correctness - D.B. Holiday, Public Discourse
Foreshadowing current controversies, in late October South Park created a music video entitled “Safe Space.” The short clip featured its various characters celebrating their “bully proof windows” and “troll safe doors” while thwarting the attempts of the villainous “reality” to puncture their carefully constructed comfort zones.
Does Mens Rea Reform “Provide Cover” for Executives? - Jonathan Keim, NRO
In other words, basic justice is at stake. Saying that mens rea reform provides cover for defendants is like saying that the Commerce Clause provides cover for drug dealers.
On Human Sexuality, Conservative Victory is Inevitable - Jeremy Neill, Public Discourse
Human history is a story of sexual restrictions. Across the world and down through the centuries, humans have strictly controlled their sexual activity. There are no exceptions: in all cultures a freewheeling primal instinct has been seen as too great a threat to human emotional and physical flourishing to leave unchecked.
Why the Pro-Life Movement Opposes Violence - Ross Douthat, NYT
In the wake of the Robert Dear shootings at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado, the tendency from pro-choice writers has been to get the pro-life movement coming and going — on the one hand accusing pro-lifers of at least semi-deliberately fomenting violence, on the other accusing them of being inconsistent for abjuring the violence that their own premises seem (to pro-choice eyes) to inevitably justify.
Censors on the Flagship - Wendell Berry, Lexington Herald
Though I willingly would do so if it were possible, I cannot understand the University of Kentucky’s decision to hide Ann Rice O’Hanlon’s fresco in Memorial Hall. The reason given is only that it shows people doing what they actually did. Black people did work in tobacco fields. Black musicians did play for white dancers. Indians did seriously threaten the settlers at Bryan’s Station.
Public Schools Force Kids Into Transgender Wars - Walt Heyer, The Federalist
Recent high-profile demands that schools let boys shower and pee right next to girls are having ripple effects in schools across the country as the transgender wars more militantly encompass young children.
Left Prays After...Shooting, To Its God Of Government - Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist
Many in the media at first focused, as they tend to do during mass shootings, on their anger with the National Rifle Association, a large gun rights and gun safety organization. Some focused on the fact that the shooting took place about a 25-minute walk from a Planned Parenthood facility. Really.
Prayer Shaming After a Mass Shooting in San Bernardino - Emma Green, The Atlantic
Directly after a mass shooting, in the minutes or hours or days between the first trickle of news and when police find a suspect or make arrests, it is very difficult to know what to do. Some people demand political action, like greater gun control; others call for prayer. In the aftermath of a violent shooting spree in San Bernardino, California, on Wednesday, in which at least 14 victims are reported to have died, people with those differing reactions quickly turned against one another.
Kennedy, Thoreau, and the Children of Gays and Lesbians - Roberto Oscar Lopez, Public Discourse
In Kennedy’s rhetorical world, Henry David Thoreau is impossible. Yet same-sex marriage, and indeed Obergefell, would be impossible without Henry David Thoreau. Without Thoreau, there would have been no Martin Luther King Jr. (Thoreau’s influence on King is well documented), no nonviolent civil rights movement, no Stonewall, and no crescendo of the Supreme Court redefining marriage complete with a fluorescent rainbow illuminating the White House.
No Room for Sanity at the Inn - Anthony Esolen, Public Discourse
When I was a junior in college and looking for a summer job to defray the next year's tuition, I answered an ambiguous ad in a newspaper and found myself selling high-quality pots and pans, china, and cutlery to unmarried working girls. It actually was a good job for a good company. I ended up selling $20,000 of merchandise in eleven weeks.
A Dangerous Chemical Combination - Dave Carlin, The Catholic Thing
One of Bentham’s golden nuggets is this – his contention that there is no rule of conduct, no matter how good, that will not produce harmful effects. Any rule will produce good and bad effects. Society should not aim at choosing rules that have no bad effects, for there are no such rules. We should choose those rules whose good effects greatly outweigh its bad.
Have the Courage to Say, “Jazz is Not a Girl” - Austin Ruse, Crisis
Jennings has become a breakout star in the transsexual firmament. Starting with self-made YouTube videos that drew an immediate audience. When he was seven-years-old his parents actually let him appear on a Barbara Walters show announcing his transsexualism. “Jazz” now has a reality show on TLC.
Centerville Students Debate Coddle U - Jonathan Haidt, Heterodox Academy
Last week I wrote a post titled The Yale Problem Begins in High School. I talked about an odd experience I had giving a talk at a private high school which I called “Centerville High.” The school was very progressive, very concerned with issues of diversity and inclusion. Yet I found in discussions that conservatives and boys felt silenced, and that most students felt that they were “walking on eggshells” and afraid to speak up on some issues.