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The Desecration of Man

Jan 4, 2024

The Desecration of Man by Carl R. Trueman at First Things. [W]e must not ignore the agency of the cultural elites—the legal, educational, technological, artistic, managerial, and political classes. In the past, such elites saw themselves as tasked with continuity, with the transmission of values from generation to generation and the careful cultivation of the institutions and social practices that were necessary for this task. Today, the dominant impulse of our elites is toward disruption, destruction, and discontinuity. The abolition of man is a conscious project of our culture’s officer class, not merely the outcome of impersonal social and technological forces. Read


Leave the World or Embrace it? by James Kalb at Catholic World Report. The growth in the practical power of the state and rise of totalitarianism raise further and very difficult problems. The disappearance of God in public life and rise of the technological outlook has made people want to treat society as a sort of machine to advance abstract goals such as security, prosperity, and equal choice. The attempt has its own ideal of purity, the rational purity of an efficient industrial process. The result, as the system perfects itself, is that other goals get wrung out. These include aspects of the Good, Beautiful, and True that don’t fit into a utilitarian industrial scheme—including religion, family life, and cultural community. These become optional consumer goods to be produced and regulated like others in accordance with the goals of the system. But to view them as such is to deny them as what they are. Under such conditions, the issue for Catholics becomes less about participation in designing public policy than survival as Catholics. Read


It Is Your Turn to Awaken the Sleeping Beauty by Julian Kwasniewski at Crisis Magazine. Theological, philosophical, and moral navigation is much the same. How can we presume to triangulate our position in these areas if we are not drawing on multiple data points? This is what the dialogue of faith and reason means: faith seeking understanding, seeking to confirm our location on the mountain of the Lord. That is why we must learn from God’s first book, from the sciences, from the arts, from prayer, and especially from the Church’s tradition what course to take and where to pitch camp. Read


The Church Will Always Triumph by Casey Chalk at Crisis Magazine. Yet every time the Church has appeared close to destruction, it has prevailed. The Reformation ended Christendom and cut millions of Europeans away from the Church; but only a few years later, a vision of Mary in Mexico City served as a catalyst for the baptism of millions of indigenous Americans. Totalitarian regimes crushed much of Catholicism in central and eastern Europe, yet a Polish pope who grew up under Nazi and Soviet rule survived both and inspired millions of the faithful to “put out into the deep.” Catholicism today withers away in its traditional heartlands of Spain, France, and Italy, but it thrives in Africa and Asia, a consequence (in part) of missionary efforts from those same European countries many years before. Read


The Tragic Reality that Cries for Attention by Carl R. Trueman at World. A recent report by the CDC indicates that the number of suicides in the United States increased by 2.6 percent between 2021 and 2022. That means that nearly 50,000 Americans died by their own hand last year, a record number…. Clearly, at the national level there is need for action on mental health. But the bigger problem is cultural…. It involves the cultivation of what it means to be human, how we are to understand our relationship towards each other, and how generations are to relate to and value each other. That means we need community. Real community, not the thin, faux community of the web but that of real human interaction and relationships. Read


Resurrecting Catholic Higher Education by Terence Sweeney at National Catholic Register. Catholic universities are not dead yet. When we speak of the death of Catholic higher education, we should be able to tell the difference between the good ones and the bad ones. At many of those universities, Catholic studies and humanities departments have taken up the task of living from the heart of the Church. In these thriving departments, students steep themselves in the works of St. Paul, Dante, Catherine of Siena, and Shūsaku Endō. Living in tight-knit intentional communities, they seek truth while filled with the confidence that the Truth seeks them in their seeking. Read


Higher Education Has a Men Problem by Beth Akers at American Enterprise Institute. Women are now dominant in American higher education. In the fall of 2020, women made up nearly 60% of all postsecondary enrollment. And on average, they out-achieve men by a wide margin. Men’s average undergraduate GPAs lag 15% behind women’s. Add to that that men are less likely to finish their degree once they’ve started and it all adds up to higher education having a serious problem with men. Read


Exposing DEI: Inside the Pressure Campaign That Finally Ousted Claudine Gay as Harvard’s President by Tyler O’Neil at The Daily Signal. Claudine Gay ended her tenure Tuesday as the shortest president in the history of Harvard University, yet her resignation statement didn’t acknowledge the scandals that led to her ouster—instead suggesting that racism was to blame. The incident arguably illustrates… the fecklessness of a university so rooted in diversity, equity, and inclusion that it refuses to acknowledge the ideological roots of the scandal. Read


Oklahoma Becomes Latest State to Condemn DEI on Campus by Jonathan Butcher at The Daily Signal. The latest lawmaker to prohibit the use of taxpayer spending on DEI programs that “grant preferential treatment” based on race, ethnicity, or national origin is Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican. Stitt issued an executive order prohibiting any executive agency, including public colleges, from requiring job applicants to complete a DEI statement or “loyalty oath” to diversity as a condition of applying. Such requirements have been found in job applications at schools around the country, including in Arizona and California. Read


To Err Is DeWine by The Editors at National Review. On Friday, Ohio governor Mike DeWine vetoed House Bill 68, the “SAFE Act,” which banned the regimen of puberty-blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones, and so-called “gender affirming” surgeries on minors, and the participation of athletes in school sports based on their asserted gender identity rather than their actual sex…. Ultimately, what Mike DeWine has missed… is the truth: Given that the drugs and medical procedures at issue cause irreversible physical changes to children, it is those who support allowing them who should be required to meet a heavy evidentiary burden that they are necessary…. [A] long-term Swedish study concluded that “persons with transsexualism, after sex reassignment, have considerably higher risks for mortality, suicidal behaviour, and psychiatric morbidity than the general population.” Furthermore, those who try to reverse their transitions later in life have reported grueling side effects and lasting damage such as painful urination, incontinence, infections, sterility, and loss of sexual function. Phalloplasty — a surgical procedure to make a pseudo-penis out of flesh grafted from the patient’s arm or thigh — has complication rates of up to 75 percent. Read


Throwback Thursday


Understanding and Surviving a Culture Dominated by Expressive Individualism by Carl E. Olson at Catholic World Report on November 15, 2020. In a world where the self, the ‘real me’, is intuitively understood in psychological terms, then feelings become the primary arena of oppression. Jefferson’s comment that divergent religious claims neither picked his pocket nor broke his leg and should thereby be tolerated reflects a world where the primary arenas of oppression (and of social importance) were physical: bodies and property. In our psychological world, however, feelings move to the center of our identity; then violence is reconceptualized in psychological terms. Words then become weapons. Hence the rage that we see expressed not only over the typical pejorative racial and sexual terms but even over pronouns. And now that reasonable argument and logic are even identified in some quarters with racism and white supremacy, we are faced with a cultural irrationalism allied to powerful lobby groups that is very disturbing. There is, of course, a deep irony here: radical individualism has created a situation where the state and even private corporations now aspire to police the very language of private and public lives. Read

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