Vocation and Commencement Addresses

Mollie Hemingway has a great piece in the Federalist about vocation as a theme in commencement addresses.  So many of them miss the point of what vocation actually is.  But she corrects that, discussing three high-profile commencement speeches in light of the doctrine of vocation.  She even quotes yours truly. [Read more…]

Confessing the intolerance of progressives

Nicholas Kristof, himself a progressive, castigates the intolerance of his fellow progressives when it comes to conservatives and their ideas.

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University students on identity

An interviewer asked University of Washington students about whether they agree that one’s identity is anything one chooses it to be.  At first he asked about the issues in the news, gender and bathroom questions, getting the standard approved answers.  But then he kept pushing it to see how far the students’ relativism would go.  He found that it had no limits!  See the video after the jump. [Read more…]

4 year-olds asked to choose their gender

A city in England has sent a letter to parents of children just starting school asking the four-year-olds to “choose” their gender.   Parents were then instructed to “Please support your child to choose the gender they most identify with.” [Read more…]

Institute of Advanced Study vs. the Battle of Princeton

The Battle of Princeton was arguably the turning point of the Revolutionary War, the first time George Washington beat Cornwallis, thanks to Washington’s personal bravery that from that time forward inspired the continental troops.

But now preservation of  the battlefield is threatened.  Not by a strip mall.  Not by a theme park.  But by the Institute of Advanced Study, a graduate research institution (close to, but independent of Princeton University) which wants to build faculty housing on the site for its Institute of Advanced Study. [Read more…]

The varieties of irrationalism

In September 2006, Pope Benedict XVI gave a speech at the University of Regensburg, which earned him much criticism for dissing Islam.  But what the speech was about was the importance of a proper use of reason to Christianity and the West, something missing in Islam.

Samuel Gregg writes about the address and the issue in a provocative post for the Catholic World Report.   He and the former pope observe that the Logos, from which the word “logic” comes, is essential to Christianity as the ordering principle of the universe, as well as the Son of God (John 1).  Without this order principle, we get irrational violence AND the irrationalities of the postmodern universities, with their “safe spaces,” political correctness, and rejection of truth.  We are also getting the kind of irrationalism that reduces reason to empiricism alone, without considering larger truths, meaning that reason is no longer of much help in addressing moral issues.

Benedict recognizes the problems of scholasticism that subjected Scriptural revelation to Aristotelian philosophy, an imbalance that Luther and the other Reformers castigated in their critiques of reason alone.  What is needed is a proper use of reason.  The address also gives ammunition for classical education, as Benedict argues for the necessity of preserving the “hellenic” heritage of the West. [Read more…]