What if This Is the End?

By |2020-03-26T15:50:58-05:00March 26th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Coronavirus, Imagination, Morality, Senior Contributors|

Well, for the sake of argument, let’s say this is The End. It wasn’t nuclear war or an asteroid or a rogue planet or even some mystical force. But, merely—in a whimper—a cursed bug. Would it really matter? “An apocalypse is a work of literature dealing with the end of human history. For millennia [...]

Coronavirus Reveals America’s Mood

By |2020-03-28T19:25:22-05:00March 25th, 2020|Categories: Coronavirus, Culture, Gleaves Whitney, History, Morality|

As coronavirus fatalities multiply these days—as COVID-19 leaves our bodies sick and makes our spirits sick at heart—I find myself asking how similar the mood today is to that of the West during the 1889-1890 flu pandemic. One of the world’s worst plagues occurred in 1889-1890. The so-called Russian flu is of particular interest [...]

1939’s “Stagecoach”: The Reign of Justice and Redemption

By |2020-03-13T17:39:48-05:00March 13th, 2020|Categories: American West, Bradley J. Birzer, Culture, Film, Morality, Senior Contributors|

In 1939, John Ford released Stagecoach, a learned and perceptive cinematic work of art that not only introduced John Wayne as a major player in Hollywood but one that also made the western something more than a mere backdrop for pulp-ish adventure stories. Indeed, the movie shows that the western can serve as the [...]

A Balanced Position on Tariffs and Protectionism

By |2020-01-05T21:38:41-06:00January 5th, 2020|Categories: American Republic, Economics, Free Trade, Morality, Political Economy, Virtue|

The trade war has ignited debate on the merits of tariffs and the need to protect the nation’s manufacturing base. Battle lines are drawn between an exaggerated localism that stresses self-sufficiency and a bloated globalism where products transit the Earth unhindered and markets alone rule. […]

Marilyn Monroe and the Mother Goddess

By |2019-11-20T12:22:52-06:00November 22nd, 2019|Categories: Culture, Dwight Longenecker, Film, Modernity, Morality, Senior Contributors|

Marilyn Monroe was the American version of the great mother goddess—our Diana, Astarte, Ishtar, Isis. But for the pagan, the Mother Goddess stood not only for sex, but also for life, fertility, prosperity, and all things abundant. Being an American and living on the precipice of the sexual revolution, Marilyn was the icon and [...]

The Roots of American Polarization

By |2019-11-17T23:39:44-06:00November 17th, 2019|Categories: Civil Society, Morality, Relativism, Truth|

The afflictive thing about living in our polarized society is the terrifying thought that there is something permanent in our incompatibility with each other. No one desires the present unpleasantness. We sincerely wish that we could get along. However, most people want a quick fix. They want magic buttons to push that will make the [...]

Some Vagaries and Evagaries of Avarice

By |2019-11-06T22:25:47-06:00November 6th, 2019|Categories: American Republic, David Deavel, Economics, Ethics, Morality, Senior Contributors, Virtue|

Avarice brings to mind the image of a hoarder—one who simply wants things for himself. However, while wanting more of something is certainly one side of avarice, it might not be the most important side. The image that always comes to mind for me when thinking about the vice of greed, or avarice, is [...]

Sacrificial Love and Heroic Prudence

By |2019-09-15T22:05:14-05:00September 15th, 2019|Categories: American Republic, Character, David Deavel, Economics, Morality, Senior Contributors, Virtue|

Prudence takes into account a deeper wisdom about the human condition than can be gleaned from a simple cost-benefit analysis. It understands that human communities are not merely about justice and the Gross Domestic Product, but about love. And sacrificial love doesn’t hesitate to rush in even against the worst odds. Last week I [...]

Dante on Lust

By |2019-09-09T22:56:39-05:00September 9th, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Dante, Great Books, Letters From Dante Series, Louis Markos, Love, Morality, Sexuality, Virtue|

It is both seemly and right to feel love and even erotic passion, but when such feelings are taken to an improper extreme or directed toward an improper object, they grow twisted and perverse and morph into the sin of lust. We will have done significant damage to ourselves. Author’s Introduction: Imagine if Homer, [...]

Victory Over Japan: Did the End Justify the Means?

By |2019-09-01T23:50:34-05:00September 1st, 2019|Categories: American Republic, History, Morality, War, World War II|

The central moral issue regarding both the atomic bomb and fire-bombings of cities is whether or not civilians play a key role in a ‘total war.’ When an entire society is mobilized for war, who is making the war possible through production of weapons and materials? What’s the line between combatant and non-combatant? One of [...]

The Challenge of Goodness in George MacDonald’s “Sir Gibbie”

By |2019-08-29T11:20:52-05:00August 29th, 2019|Categories: Books, Charity, Christine Norvell, Fiction, Literature, Morality, Senior Contributors, Virtue|

In “Sir Gibbie,” George MacDonald shows us how goodness is not in action only, but also in the doer first. The virtuous person sees truly, judges rightly, and acts. It is the love of God within Gibbie that prompts him to do so. Sometimes you read a book that causes you to marvel at [...]

Moral Education From Birmingham Jail

By |2020-04-04T00:26:14-05:00August 27th, 2019|Categories: Conservatism, Martin Luther King Jr., Modernity, Morality, Worldview|

In an age of moral confusion, Martin Luther King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" offers welcome clarity. Its rhetoric still has power today, with memorable phrases like "justice too long delayed is justice denied" and "Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability." But the heart of his argument, that man-made laws are just [...]

Consequentialism & the Atomic Bomb in World War II

By |2019-08-05T21:23:26-05:00August 5th, 2019|Categories: American Republic, Foreign Affairs, History, Morality, Politics, War|

Consequentialism falls short because it blurs the distinction between murder and killing in war, the latter of which—while not always adhering to Gospel truth—is a grim necessity in the defense of the state. The misapplication of consequentialism to the atomic missions does a severe disservice to history. I. One need not be an aficionado [...]

Reason in the Making: Artistic Vision in Albert Camus’ “The Guest”

By |2019-08-08T12:54:16-05:00August 1st, 2019|Categories: Culture, Literature, Morality, Philosophy|

Albert Camus was a gifted writer, and though he approaches the edge of beauty, he fails to make the leap. In doing so, he condemns his stories, ironically, to the role of featureless individuals, accidents of energies. Artistic vision, Flannery O’Connor insists, takes place in a space where, “The writer’s moral sense must coincide [...]