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The Weekly Bell: May 23, 2014

Don Devine, at Liberty Law Blog, reflects on “The Real John Locke”

George Leef, at The Pope Center’s Clarion Call, asks us to rethink the drive to graduate more students in STEM.  [My favorite line:  “So, perhaps we don’t need any educational central planning.”]

 Justin Paulette, currently residing in Korea, has an article–Are There Male & Female Virtues?–in the New Oxford Review (behind very kind paywall that accepts micropayments).

Tracy Mehan, Wouldn’t You Rather Be in Philadelphia? — takes a look at the new Barnes museum.


Matthew Rarey: Spiritual Insights Into a Holy War

Matthew Rarey offers us a lovely review essay of Fr. George Rutler’s book, Principalities and Powers: Spiritual Combat 1942-1943


The inspiration for Principalities and Powers came from a disintegrating pile of newspapers, journals, and radio transcripts from World War II, including German and Italian sources, both Nazi and Fascist as well as ecclesiastical. They were left to Fr. Rutler by a friend and historian, Monsignor Florian Cohalan. The resulting book focuses on those pivotal two years upon which the war turned, and, as the title suggests, is concerned not with military battles but the spiritual moorings of the war—specifically the demonic forces that animated the conflict. They did not unconditionally surrender in 1945, but make our own time a playground in which devils make merry through the perversion of human personhood. Euthanasia, abortion, the sex revolution, the state-manipulation of marriage and the family, eviction of Christianity from the public square—all were in play seven decades ago, and, ironically, viciously plague the victor nations of the “Good War,” prompting one to ask who really won. As Fr. Rutler writes in the preface:

[T]he Second World War can rightly be understood and probably only appreciated as a holy war fought for multiple and mixed motives, but in its deepest meaning as a campaign against evil by defenders, consciously or obliviously, of the good. If anything is to be learned from reading old journals, it is how the same moral dilemmas of an old war, in their display of human dignity and the anatomy of cruelty, are background for the same realities in our own day. If a war covers the whole earth, its stratagems are the measureless size of each human soul.


Read more at Catholic World Report


Bill Campbell: Dispatches from Retirement

As a historian, I’m strongly in favor of the promotion of institutional memory, so when Bill Campbell helps us remember where we’ve been, I’ll try to pass along some of his “Dispatches from Retirement.”  ;-))
May 20, 2014
I read a fascinating piece by Katherine Kersten in the Wall Street Journal today about Minneapolis:  “Turning the Twin Cities Into Sim City: The Metropolitan Council’s plans include making sure there is a proper mix of races and incomes in each suburb.”

If you want to get to the bottom of it, read the fascinating book by Stanley Kurtz, Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities”.  


 He spoke precisely on this topic at the Philadelphia Society meeting, October 2012; worth reminding our member to listen to again:

Hiketty Piketty 3: John Horvat

Writing at The American Thinker, John Horvat adds to the drumbeat of rejection of Piketty’s logic with a more Tocquevillean approach:

Moreover, these institutions [the natural regulating institutions of family, community and Church] distribute wealth much more efficiently and effectively than government programs. More importantly, they create personal bonds of affection that unite society. A moral tie is formed when benefactors take personal interest in those receiving aid and recipients express gratitude for help given. This differs from the cold bureaucratic arm of government aid which is polarizing the nation by creating resentment among those forced to pay for programs, and ingratitude by recipients who now consider such benefits as entitlements.


Hiketty Piketty 2: George Leef

Writing at Forbes, George Leef steers us beyond mere technical critiques of Thomas Picketty’s methodology and suggests we need to delve more into his philosophy: 

Those responses to Piketty, accurate though they are, do little to blunt his message that the rich are already too rich and will keep getting richer unless government steps in to impose substantially higher taxes on them. Arguing against Piketty on the grounds that inequality isn’t as great as he says is futile. It’s like trying to file down the tip on your dueling opponent’s sword – the darned thing will still be lethal.

Rather than going after Piketty’s numbers, we need to go after his philosophy.

John Willson: Forever Young: Kent State, “Ohio”

John Willson reflects at The Imaginative Conservative on the turmoil of the 60s and 70s:

Kent State was in fact a complicated event, ugly as chaos is always ugly, the chaos brought on by the separation of generations in a manner and with a speed that had perhaps never happened before in all of human history. One can witness in less than a decade a culture moving from civil rights to the savaging of cities; from students graduating from college never having heard the word marijuana (like me, 1962) to the celebration of drugs in everything from Peter, Paul and Mary songs to the altars at Woodstock; from colleges being places of relatively peaceful studies and parties to politicized battle grounds where thugs and ideologues could bring down administrations and buildings seemingly at will. It would have been impossible for anyone at Kent State in 1960, a second-rate branch state university growing under the liberal demands for universal education, to have imagined what would happen there in 1970. It is up to us, however, to remember it, not as martyrology but as anamnesis.

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The Weekly Bell: 5-16-2014

Making “A Conservative’s Case for Moderation” at Real Clear Politics on May 15, Peter Berkowitz makes mention of The Philadelphia Society. 

 PhillySoc President Joe Johnston points us to a video overview of “social justice” by Jonah Goldberg.   Joe continues to contribute to the analysis of this invasive and problematic concept with his letter to the editor of Commentary (May 2014) in response to Arthur Brooks’ article, “Be Open-handed to Your Brothers” (Feb 2014).

John Zmirak offers an eye-opener into the continuing degradation of campus culture with The Devil in Harvard Yard.

George Leef:  “What is the Worst Agency in Washington, D.C., Today?”

John Goodman:  Why Did Health Spending Slow Down Before it Sped Up?



David Keene: Ukraine repeating a perilous history

Writing on developments in the Ukraine at The Washington Times, David Keene observes:

Russian President Vladimir Putin was about a hundred times more committed to preventing Ukraine from moving west as the EU was to promoting it. First, he tried to protect Russia’s historic interests with petrodollars. When that failed, he exploited the inbred Russian nationalism of Russian minorities within Crimea and eastern Ukraine to take to the streets in support of his own forces.


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