Deschooling RED: Beyond the Fear of Failure

In 1840, Horace Mann, the first Secretary of Education in the State of New Hampshire (and anywhere else in the United States), wrote these words in an article for the third volume of the newly-founded Common School Journal, on his beloved and controversial Whig project, The Common School Movement: Let the common school be expanded to its capabilities, let it be worked to the efficiency of which it is susceptible, and nine-tenths of the crimes in the penal code would become obsolete; the long … [Read more...]

Deschooling Religious Education, in Six Claims

1. Compulsory schooling came to the United States in the 18th century, during the Whig "common school movement," built on the Prussian model that was founded after the advent of the Prussian research university. The first compulsory schooling laws were passed in the late 1850's, in New Hampshire and New York. A lot of that movement was motivated by a defensive belief that parents could not be trusted to raise their children. This is where the legal concept of in loco parentis came from.2. … [Read more...]

Deschooling Religious Ed

The ideological assumption that 'schooling' and 'education' are synonyms, that they both describe the same exact thing, has sunk so deeply into our collective consciousness, that it is at this point ubiquitous. Common sense has gone insane.Homeschooling, for the most part, is nothing more than schooling in a home. The kitchen table replaces the desk, but the textbook and the formulaic curricula remain.So much of the dreary  institutionalization that measures-out time into Mondays, … [Read more...]

Reality and the Virtual: Relativity is not Relativism

My previous post on relativism has been mostly well received, to my great surprise. It has also been critiqued in some very useful and important ways, in comments and elsewhere. I am not going to try and write a direct response here; the comment box was actually quite useful and I don't care to add the complexity of rejoinders to what was already a long and tedious post.The most unexpected non-reply was from the great fighters of relativism, the culture warriors, who probably didn't have … [Read more...]

The Splenda of Truth: Remarks on Relativism

Those who are greatly upset by, and concerned about, relativism usually say that they are principally concerned about the truth. If this is the case — if indeed the ultimate aim is to defend the truth — then it would make sense to be upfront and honest about the truth of what relativism is and is not. Otherwise, there is something amiss and asymmetrical about the whole situation.Sadly, this messy lack of symmetry is where I see things today in discussions amongst anti-relativists. In fact, on … [Read more...]

Accessible Augustine: Beauty Ancient and New

I apologize for my infrequent blogging this month. Between travels, the flu, and some other work, I've been unable to write. In the meantime, here is the video of a talk I gave at St. William Catholic Church in Round Rock, Texas, on December 14th, 2013. The talk is a general introduction to Augustine's Confessions.  … [Read more...]

Something Remarkable in Steubenville

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I attended Franciscan University of Steubenville from 2001 to 2005; I used to play music most Thursday nights in the back room of the The Spot Bar, to a group of students. The "townies" stayed at the front end of the bar, segregated by class, custom, and self-importance. We shared the gross bathrooms. A stinky solidarity.I played two benefit concerts for The Harmonium Project this past October and, in the process, I got to know the core group of young visionaries working there. I saw their … [Read more...]

GUEST POST: How David Bentley Hart Censored My Review of His New Book at First Things

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NOTE: One thing I've always admired about First Things is its longstanding commitment to publishing the give-and-take between its writers and its readership (and many times these categories are mutually inclusive). It was shocking, then, to find out that Stephen Webb's recent review of David Bentley Hart's most recent book was edited, post-publication, to satisfy Hart's sensitive constitution. Factual corrections are one thing, but sentimental corrections are quite different. This i … [Read more...]

On Rigor

(The late David Foster Wallace's 2005 "This Is Water" Kenyon College commencement speech drones in my headphones and Rebel Without a Cause plays on mute in the corner; it is chilling to listen to DFW speak descriptively about suicide and I am arrogant to enough to find it all quite underwhelming, in a very comforting, soothing, and self-assuring way.)A young professor from Fordham showed up late to my talk in New York a month ago. He asked me a very serious question though, one of those … [Read more...]

Thoughts on Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty

I like to watch TV, which is why I don't own one. Plus, I watch plenty of television shows online, so having a television would at this point interfere with my television watching. Needless to say, I've never watched a full Duck Dynasty episode, although some snippets here and there, a quick Google search, and not living under a rock give me a decent general impression.I started watching Survivor this past year and really like it. I also like Project Runway, although I was recently put off … [Read more...]


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