Winthrop (and Christianity) v. Rand (and the Worship of the Self)

In contrast to Ayn Rand's refusal to recognize even relatives as having any claim upon her, as I mentioned earlier today, John Winthrop in his "A Modell of Christian Charity," preached onboard a ship to the new world in 1630. Christians are governed by the "double law" of nature and of grace, or the moral law and the law of the gospel, he says. By the first of these laws man as he was enabled so withal is commanded to love his neighbor as himself. Upon this ground stands all the precepts of the … [Read more...]

Ayn Rand’s Onion

"I cannot like you or want to help you without reason," Ayn Rand wrote her niece, who had asked to borrow money for a graduation dress. Rand sets out the conditions on which she will loan her niece the money and explains that she is testing her and trying to teach her something about life.So there is, in Rand's harsh response, apparent altruism and even kindness. To pay one's debts is an important lesson to learn, if one doesn't know it already. One hopes this and similar acts might have … [Read more...]

The Corporatist & the Nihilist Extremes (aka Republicans v. Democrats)

"They are not besotted with the Pope as the Vicar of Christ. They are interested in him and his every little word because he has power, and power is what they are all about," writes Rebecca Hamilton in her latest weblog item, "Pope Francis is Writing an Encyclical on the Environment, and Both Sides of the Political Spectrum are Sharpening their Knives."Hamilton, who just retired after eighteen years as state representative in Oklahoma, is an old-fashioned Democrat, concerned with the poor … [Read more...]

She Doesn’t Have to Be a Macho Girl

The movie was, if anything, an advertisement for virginity. The Smokers, an indy production I saw years ago and recently saw sitting on the shelf of a videostore, told the story of three young women at a boarding school and what happened when they tried to be like the boys. The movie was wiser than that representative of elite enlightened opinion, the New York Times, as I wrote in this week's column for Aleteia, Macho Girls: A few days after I first saw it, The New York Times published an a … [Read more...]

Still Trying For That Girl, No?

A friend writes on Facebook with a similar story that those I told in my last column for Aleteia: Nurse: "Three boys, huh? So I suppose you guys will want to keep trying for that girl, no?" Me: "Yeah, totally. We are SUPER disappointed in this beautiful boy. And we are only really into this parenting thing to fulfill our own desires. So, yeah, we'll keep trying until we get what we want." Okay, I didn't actually say something that crabby. I just thought it. But, seriously, who thinks like … [Read more...]

Speak Well, Says St. Francis de Sales

St. Francis de Sales is the patron of writers and journalists, and said a great many wise things writers and journalists should hear. These are a few passages from his classic work, Introduction to the Devout Life, relevant for the craft and calling of writing. In them he warns rather than instructs and doesn’t really speak directly to what writers and journalists should do, except in the sense that the whole book is about vocation and holiness. In other words, journalists and writers ought to r … [Read more...]

Rod Dreher Ashamed

Speak of others as you would have them speak of you is the rule for speech, I think, as I wrote in last week's column for Aleteia, When Men Speak of All That Is Evil Against You. Anyone with any verbal gifts can easily hurt people badly, and even those without any verbal gifts can hurt with the simplest insults and abuse, and in either case to no good end. I said that I had done that many times, which I now much regret. When looking for something else, I came across a short weblog item by Rod Dr … [Read more...]