Self-interest vs. ideology

Is it better in the realm of politics to stand on principle or to pursue self-interest?  Most of us would probably say the former.  But Robert J. Samuelson argues that self-interest is superior, even morally, to following an ideology, which breeds conflict, governmental paralysis, and the demonization of opponents.

Mr. Samuelson shows that the left and the right are both fixated on ideology and that their rhetoric and tactics are pretty much identical to each other.  After the jump, you can see how he makes his case. [Read more…]

Keeping and remembering everything

In a discussion of memory, the internet, and our impulse to document every moment of our lives (are we really going to look back at all of the photographs on our cell phones?), novelist Dara Horn tells about a medieval synagogue that, in its refusal to throw away any mention of the Name of God, kept everything its members wrote down for 900 years. [Read more…]

“So what’s your name and preferred gender pronoun?”

According to a new code of etiquette, it’s not enough to ask someone’s name.  You also need to ask, “what’s your PGP?”  That is, your “preferred gender pronoun.”  The choices may be “he” or “she” or “they” or the newly-coined “ze.” [Read more…]

The contemporary theologian we need?

Oswald Bayer,  emeritus professor of theology at the University of Tübingen, is a widely-respected thinker who engages with contemporary thought on a very sophisticated level.  As we’ve blogged, he is sometimes associated with the Radical Orthodox movement and he is considered a rather cutting-edged theologian.  But his emphasis is the Gospel and the Word of God. [Read more…]

Birds as Bloggers

Researchers often tag birds and other animals so that their movements and activities can be traced and studied.  A website entitled Blogging Birds takes data about kites (a kind of hawk) in Scotland and applies language algorithms, translating it all into a narrative of the bird’s day. [Read more…]

The Lutheran roots of Radical Orthodoxy

Not long ago we posted about the theological and philosophical movement known as Radical Orthodoxy, asking whether Lutherans could have a seat at that table.  Well, in another context, my friend George Strieter put me on to Johann Georg Hamann, a devout Lutheran who was friends with Kant and Hegel but who critiqued their philosophies with some extremely innovative philosophy of his own.   It turns out, Hamann’s thought is said to be a major influence on ” Oswald Bayer, John Milbank and David Bentley Hart.”  The latter two are the most prominent figures in Radical Orthodoxy.  And that Oswald Bayer , perhaps the favorite contemporary German theologian at Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, is mentioned here puts him in the company of the radically orthodox. [Read more…]


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