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.

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