Aeschylus on Justice

By |2019-03-12T21:34:52-05:00February 26th, 2019|

Justice is that which breaks us out of the cycle of vengeance. It achieves a higher vision that considers motives (and not just actions), causes (and not just effects), purposes (and not just naked facts). The triumph of justice does not signify the total defeat of vengeance, but its transformation into something beneficent. Author’s Introduction: [...]

Death to the Death Penalty? René Girard’s Challenge to Thomas Aquinas

By |2018-11-23T23:38:59-05:00November 19th, 2018|

Is acceptance of the death penalty contrary to the modern understanding of the dignity of the human person? The anthropology of René Girard allows for a rereading of Thomas Aquinas’ defense of capital punishment... The Catholic Church’s recent definitive revocation of the death penalty[1] suggests that something in the zeitgeist demands a rethinking of one [...]

The Supreme Court: “Never to the Right, Forever to the Left”

By |2018-11-25T22:10:54-05:00October 15th, 2018|

Despite all the unfounded fear on the left and all the equally unfounded euphoria on the right, there will be no wholesale revamping by the Supreme Court of the liberal social order that is now deeply rooted in our culture and among our people. The conservative justices' ethos of evolution over revolution will forestall any [...]

Brett Kavanaugh and Originalism

By |2018-10-09T15:53:15-05:00October 9th, 2018|

Even before the spectacle of Christine Balsey Ford's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the hearing for President Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, was characterized not by political acumen, wit, cunning, or prudence, but by partisan obstruction, lawlessness, tantrums, hysteria, ignorance, frenzy, and anger. Protestors screamed vulgarities and trite slogans, proving [...]

Was Aristotle the Father of Radical Individualism?

By |2019-04-04T13:06:37-05:00June 18th, 2018|

A recent essay proposes Aristotle to have “opened a path” to today’s radical individualism and relativism. In order to evaluate this thesis, we must turn to the Great Tradition of the “perennial philosophy” and ask what the great philosophers taught about virtue, justice, friendship, and the nature of man… There is a story about [...]

Criminal Character and Mercy

By |2019-03-19T10:21:42-05:00March 4th, 2018|Tags: |

Is it not refined cruelty to keep alive, in self-loathing, a man who is a grave danger to the innocent and a grisly horror to himself? And to do such a thing in countries long admired for the justice of their laws?… To perceive truth, we require images. As G.K. Chesterton put it, all [...]

Why Not Wife-Swapping?

By |2018-02-25T21:17:28-05:00February 25th, 2018|

In December, the Supreme Court decided not to hear a case that proposed to extend the Court’s sexual freedom cases to wife-swapping. In Coker v. Whittington, two sheriff’s deputies in Bossier Parish, Louisiana, and their wives agreed to swap spouses, and each deputy began living with the opposite deputy’s wife. Invoking his office’s code [...]

Wounded Beauty

By |2018-02-20T15:20:12-05:00February 20th, 2018|

Why should the sins of the guilty cause suffering to the guiltless? If God could prevent such suffering of the innocent victims of sin but refrains from doing so, isn’t he also to blame? Isn’t he in some way an accessory to the sin? In other words, how can a good God permit bad [...]

How Reform Laws Backfire

By |2019-03-11T14:25:38-05:00February 20th, 2018|

If a reform produces unintended consequences of a troubling sort, succeeding generations of reformers will make use of those consequences not to undo the original reform, but rather to call for new action that requires an ever-larger federal government… All reforms are notorious for their unintended consequences; liberal reforms are noteworthy for something that [...]

Russell Kirk’s Unfinished Justice

By |2019-03-19T15:55:37-05:00February 11th, 2018|

Russell Kirk thought that because justice is rooted in nature and because in its perfection transcends all time and space, one can innately observe virtue in the actions of wise women and men. Such observation of our heroes and those we admire might be the best teacher in our current day, serving as reminders [...]

Socrates Rises With Christ

By |2018-11-19T20:36:11-05:00July 29th, 2017|

The completion of Plato lies in the resurrection, in the reality that sees not just the immortality of the soul but the acting person as the source of all reason… Is there any way to bring political philosophy and revelation, Athens and Jerusalem, into a coherent, non-contradictory relation to each other without undermining the [...]

A Miscarriage of Justice? The Trial of Mary Surratt

By |2017-07-06T20:11:59-05:00July 6th, 2017|

Whether or not Mary Surratt participated in the conspiracy to kill Abraham Lincoln will never be known with certainty. But we can judge definitively the manner in which federal authorities obtained her conviction, and ultimately her execution… “Passion governs, and she never governs wisely,” wrote Benjamin Franklin to Joseph Galloway in 1775.[1] Wise words [...]

Tragic Hatred and the Magic of Mercy

By |2017-05-08T22:31:42-05:00May 8th, 2017|

What right do I have to be walking in His Love and not reaping the miserable harvest of the hateful seeds I had sown? I have no right. It’s not about rights, but about Love and the mercy which is its fruit… In C.S. Lewis’s magical tale, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, [...]

The Natural Law Jurisprudence of Russell Hittinger

By |2019-02-19T16:49:54-05:00March 24th, 2017|

Natural law jurisprudence seems to be our only salvation—the only way to re-establish the proper hierarchy of laws, the only way to put the prudence back in American jurisprudence… The First Grace: Rediscovering the Natural Law in a Post-Christian World, by Russell Hittinger (ISI Books, 2002) As a professor of political science, I am [...]