Having a loving family as an unfair advantage

The evidence is overwhelming that growing up in an intact, two-parent  loving family confers huge advantages on children as they grow up.  The normal response has been to encourage strong families among those who lack those advantages.  But, looked at another way, through the usual leftist prism that sees all inequality as oppression, it can be argued that loving families need to be abolished.

British philosopher is not quite saying that–despite how his argument is being taken in some circles–but in asserting that reading bedtime stories to one’s children contributes to social inequality, he comes close. [Read more...]

Christians as enemies of the human race

Michael Avramovich observes that “In the ancient Roman world, Christians were referred to as ‘hostis humani generis’ (enemies of the human race). This was a legal term of art and signified that Christians were undeserving of any legal protection.”

He sees this mindset returning.  He then quotes from Wallace Henley, who says that “prophetic voices” tend to be silenced in the following sequence:  “marginalization, caricaturization, vilification, criminalization, elimination.”  Right now, he says, we are at “vilification,” and that we need to get ready to be the Church of 1st century Rome.

[Read more...]

When children played

Did you know there was a time when children on their own played games, sang songs, collected things, and had fun outside?

The Intercollegiate Review has posted an excerpt from the estimable Anthony Esolen’s book on child-raising (and how not to do it), Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child. [Read more...]

Does capitalism undermine traditional values?

The left is always saying that big business really runs this country.  There may be some truth to this claim.  The irony is that big business is supporting the left, at least on social and moral issues.  When corporations from Apple to Walmart turned against Indiana’s religious freedom act to support the gay agenda, notice how Republican politicians fell in line.

Charles Lane says that the Indiana controversy may be the Gettysburg of the Culture Wars, the turning point, after which social conservatives will start retreating until they lose their political clout completely.  He says that modern conservatism has depended on an alliance between pro-business free market advocates and social conservatives.  But this alliance is unstable.  He quotes a scholar who refers to “the cultural contradictions of capitalism,” saying that free market economics ultimately destroys traditional values.

There was arguably a time when capitalism and moral traditionalism went together, when capitalism depended on the values of self-control, restraint, and deferred gratification, as may still apply to small business today.  But today’s consumer capitalism depends on instant gratification, the satisfaction of all desires, and constant change.  Our financial system won’t even pay interest on a savings account, but rather depends on having everything now and going in debt.  This creates a cultural climate, so the argument goes, that will undermine traditional moral values.  But is this correct?  Would any other economic system be any better? [Read more...]

The Benedict Option

The outrage from big business (even Walmart!), the media, and the culture at large over Indiana’s Religious Freedom bill has many Christians thinking that America is a lost cause.  The dominant culture is so fixated on gay marriage and sexual permissiveness that it will not tolerate dissenters.  Even religious liberty, in the court of public opinion and likely legal opinion, will have to give way, and conservative believers will increasingly be demonized and punished.

Whether we are actually at that point or not, a number of thinkers–mostly of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox persuasion–are raising the possibility of what they call  The Benedict Option.

After Rome fell to moral chaos and then to the barbarians, St. Benedict formed distinct Christian communities where believers could practice their faith separated from the world.  Similarly, mainstream American culture may become so hostile to Christianity, so the reasoning goes, that Christians must form alternative communities, carrying on an alternative culture, until, as with Benedict, the barbarians are converted.

Rick Strickert posted some powerful quotations on this subject on Lutheran Forum, which I give after the jump.  And then I want to pose a question:  Can there be a Lutheran version of the Benedict Option, and, if so, how would it be different from the Roman Catholic and Fundamentalist versions? [Read more...]

The American history wars

Back in 1994, Lynne Cheney, former head of the National Endowment for the Humanities, published a piece in the Wall Street Journal entitled The End of History, criticizing educational standards for American History.  Now she has published The End of History, Part II, about the new Advance Placement American History exam.  See excerpts after the jump and consider the points I raise. [Read more...]


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