Tag Archive for liberty

Political Astuteness of a Frenchman

I am currently reading Alexis De Tocqueville’s Democracy in America.  At hefty 700+ pages in length, I am only at page 140, so it may take me another year to get through it at my current pace. De Tocqueville was a youthful 26 when he journeyed to America in 1831 but he was already a political veteran and had fallen out of favor in post-Revolutionary France.  During his study of the American republic over a 9 month period, he searched for clues into how and why the American experiment was so successful, and as importantly, whether this new type of

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Still Time to Write Good Things On the Sky

During a long road trip this past week, I had the opportunity to listen to an audiobook version of The Wise Men Know What Wicked Things Are Written on the Sky, a volume of eleven lectures by Russell Kirk, sponsored by the Heritage Foundation and given delivered in the 1980s. The theme of the lectures was whether, on the heels of President Reagan’s election, our country was conceivably at the beginning of an “augustan age” which would see us reclaim the ideals and virtues of our forefathers and our sense of mission in this world. These lectures were a followup to an earlier series

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Endowed by Their Creator

In yesterday’s post Artemus shared a men’s group discussion regarding the recent Supreme Court decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, of the inevitable clash between those who follow the ‘dictatorship of relativism’ and those believing in objective moral truth. This came close to home yesterday when, during a phone call, my wife had a debate, at times heated, with her sister. At the heart of this exchange was the meaning of the word “dignity.” The uproar in media was about this word as well. After all of the celebrations, parades & euphoria subsided the media set its sights on Clarence Thomas and

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St. Michael, Defend Us: On Carrying In Church

Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war; My safeguard and my fortress, my stronghold, my deliverer, My shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me. — Psalm 144:1-2 By now everyone has heard about the shootings in Charleston: nine dead after a young white man opened fire at a bible study meeting in an historically black church. In a popular video clip from The Daily Show making the rounds yesterday, John Stewart dialed back the comedy to touch on several serious issues raised by this crime, including racism, mental

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Come and Get Me

Scholar and author Brad Birzer has been sharing articles, links, and material this week on Sen. Rand Paul’s relatively lonely (it appears) opposition to the renewal of the so-called Patriot Act. Because I share Birzer’s affection for many things, including our Catholic faith, J.R.R. Tolkien, Russell Kirk, and the idea (at least) of this country, I tend to take notice of the things he is focused on, even when I am otherwise ignoring the news. This morning he shared this video from C-SPAN: … as well as this brief opinion piece from the New York Times on the necessity of Sen. Paul’s stand

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‘An Immortal Contract’
— and a Challenge?

Now a conservative is a person who sees human society as an immortal contract between God and man, and between the generations that are dead, and the generation that is living now, and the generations which are yet to be born. — Russell Kirk, 1957 The quote above is taken from a post entitled “No Conservatism Without a Religious Foundation” on The Imaginative Conservative (TIC) website. The post itself is an excerpt, but stands neatly as its own essay or column, reminding us that, “A society which denies religious truth lacks faith, charity, justice and any sanction for its acts.”

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Catholic Preppers?

Two years ago, I wrote and shared an article entitled “Universal Manhood: Integrating Manly Proficiency and Catholic Self-Sufficiency.” If I’m honest, I was not-so-subtly hinting at something I couldn’t bring myself to say out loud quite yet: I have a latent prepper streak. There is a part of me that is increasingly convinced that, if not my bride and I, certainly my children and grandchildren will experience basic deprivations of many of the comforts and freedoms we enjoy today, and will have to make do or improvise to survive. This morning, for kicks, I googled “Catholic Prepper” and was surprised

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Where Will Make Our Stand?

Last week, the most compelling thing I read was a letter from besieged Washington state florist Baronelle Stutzman, quoted in full by First Things in a post called “Stand with Baronelle Stutzman.” Stutzman refused to provide flowers for a longtime customer’s same-sex wedding, and is now facing the potential loss of her livelihood and home to a discrimination lawsuit filed by the Washington attorney general. The letter is worth reading. Stutzman clearly and courageously refuses an offer to settle the lawsuit: Washington’s constitution guarantees us “freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment.” I cannot sell that precious freedom.

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The Dignity of Dust: Humility and the Value of Inequality

“I am a deeply superficial person.” – Andy Warhol In an era of Instagram and Twitter, image and sound bites, our society is increasingly obsessed with the superficial. And although the experts will tell you that we are more aware than ever that we are being manipulated, mere awareness is not enough. If we recognize the excrement around us but continue to wallow, we are pigs, not men, and the stench becomes more intimately ours. In fact, not only are we collectively obsessed with the superficial, but we consistently overreact to it in the most absurd and conflicting ways. Consider

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Men Will Be Men? A Landmark Act In Ramsey

In my younger days, I used to be the sort of guy who would insist that I’d rather have a world that included pornography, obscenity, and the like, than live in a world of restricted expression. It sounded almost noble: I may disagree with what you’re saying, but I’ll fight to the death for your right to say it. In those days I also fell prey to the temptations of online pornography. People were free to “express themselves” directly into my computer, and I listened to the destructive siren song. My struggles to clean up my own act helped me to

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