November 1, 2019

Previously in Calvin’s Ghost – Tobias / Letter 1 Harry Hamish hung like a bat from the ceiling in his office. He unwound this way every afternoon. The idea was to go limp, empty his mind and let each muscle in his body slacken. He liked the anti-gravity boots. But try as he might to clear his head of (and, truth be told, he wasted little energy in the effort) prurient thoughts, like supple and insistent night creatures, crept back… Read more

November 1, 2019

Previously in Calvin’s Ghost – 12 / Hell Night August 28, 1991 Dear Eli, I assume you are settling in and preparing for your first classes. A few words of advice from your old man. I’ve made no secret of my distaste for your decision to accept employment at Tillamook State. The school is a backwater, a stagnant pool in a God-forsaken part of the country. You deserve better. Still, perhaps you can engage in a bit of reclamation work… Read more

October 31, 2019

Previously in Calvin’s Ghost – 11 / Good Night My Rabbit Eli turned into his own driveway shortly after 1:00. He switched off the engine and sat motionless in the car, drifting gently back to earth, illuminated and cosseted by a honeyed happiness he’d not before experienced. Heavy footfalls hurrying up the steps to his house finally claimed his attention, Eli suddenly cognizant nearly every room in his house was alive with light and movement, now also aware of the… Read more

October 30, 2019

This article originally appeared on the Ploughshares Fund website. For nearly 40 years, Ploughshares Fund has supported the most effective people and organizations in the world to reduce and eventually eliminate the dangers posed by nuclear weapons. Since 1981, Ploughshares Fund has distributed nearly $100 million in grants to organization such as the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the William Perry Project. Please consider donating to the Ploughshares Fund. When Kennette Benedict joined the board… Read more

October 18, 2019

As we can see from the hardening religious impulse in our current authoritarian, autocratic moment, the traditionalist defense of “civilization” ultimately rests upon the complicated, combined influence of the major Abrahamic revealed religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). The Abrahamic faiths – based as they are on divine revelation, sacred texts and prophetic moments – require a creator-centric moral order that exists outside of time and space. In the last millennium, Thomist natural law – the philosophical thread of law and… Read more

October 13, 2019

This (thank God) is my final essay on Princeton professor Robby George and natural law moral philosophy. Other essays I’ve written about natural law (see below) have emphasized its political uses for an influential cohort of Catholic conservatives closely connected to Donald Trump and the Republican Party. In this essay, I explore the relationship between the politics of abortion and adoption to surface irreconcilable contradictions at the heart of Catholic natural law. I argue that conservative Catholicism’s most significant political… Read more

September 23, 2019

As I’ve previously written, in the spirit of Yeats’s Second Coming poem, the axis of conflict in the coming decades will be a civilizational battle between two irreconcilable, non-liberal regimes and worldviews – backward-looking, Creator-centered Catholic natural law and forward-looking Creation-centered complexity science. As I’ve also previously written, Steve Bannon, who welcomes this Armageddon, discloses the raw political truth beneath the verbally seductive natural law truisms on which the Republican Party in the United States has propped itself up in… Read more

September 22, 2019

Previously in Calvin’s Ghost – 10 / Jasper Stripped played a concert at Dillon Gym late October of Eli’s senior year. He’d slipped Cecilia a note in class a few days before the event. He’d been sliding toward the back of the classroom, eying the seat open between Bobby Princess and Shiree, but Cecilia swiveled her hip into the aisle, timing her move to ensure he brushed against her. Eli stopped, his heart a snare drum. “Hey,” Cecilia said. She… Read more

September 22, 2019

Previously in Calvin’s Ghost – 9 / Ripped Balloon Tobias and Martha delivered Lawrence to Boy Scout camp in New Mexico for a month that summer after Eli’s junior year. When Lawrence returned early, his aluminum pack frame mysteriously bent obliquely (like your retarded leg, he spat, after Eli queried the circumstances), and half his gear missing, they shuttled him off to an August photography camp at Marquand Park, desperate to find something, anything, that would stick, cementing both his… Read more

September 18, 2019

Previously: Steve Bannon’s Second Coming Bannon at the Vatican In the summer of 2014, Steve Bannon delivered closing remarks to a small conference on “alleviating global poverty” hosted by the Dignitatis Humanae Institute (DHI) in a small marble palace tucked deep within the Vatican. Bannon spoke via Skype from Los Angeles. This address came to the attention of the world in the days following the 2016 presidential election in a now-famous Buzzfeed article entitled This is How Steve Bannon Sees the Entire World (you… Read more

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