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Feb 21, 2024
The Theft of Education
In this episode of New Discourses Bullets, host James Lindsay shares Jennifer McWilliams’s example of how a simple subtraction lesson can be turned into any number of political conversations about poverty, race, sex, gender, sexuality, family, parental authority or climate change...by a manipulative teacher-activist using the Freirean generative themes approach.
"The Theft of Education" by James Lindsay at New Discourses
Feb 14, 2024
Raising Catholic Kids: New Study Suggests What Successful Parents Have in Common
Data cited by the researchers show that the number of people who remain practicing Catholics after being raised Catholic in the United States has been steadily declining for decades. In the 1970s, an average of 36 percent of those who were raised Catholic remained Catholic as adults and attended Mass weekly, peaking at 40 percent in 1977. By the 2010s, that figure was just 15 percent…Among those raised Catholic who leave the faith, about half become religiously unaffiliated and the other half adopts a new religious affiliation. The median age at which these former Catholics said they made the decision to leave the faith was 13, the researchers said.
"Raising Catholic Kids: New Study Suggests What Successful Parents Have in Common" by Jonah McKeown at The Arlington Catholic Herald
Feb 8, 2024
A Phony Education
Far from making us better members of our clan, the smartphone makes us serfs to surfing, bound more surely—in our case, to algorithmic feeds—than those Indo-European prisoners of war who were the opposite of *priHós so many thousands of years ago. Jon Haidt’s Substack After Babel has presented extensively researched articles on the effects of social media on the most recent generations, especially those now college-aged. The results are not good. Essentially, mental health declines in a direct proportion to how early in life someone starts using a phone and how much time they spend on it. The freedom of communication, of being able to “look up” anything at any time, or “link up” with anyone for any reason, is not freedom.
"A Phony Education" by Julian Kwasniewski at Crisis Magazine
Jan 25, 2024
The Truth of Things
Hard as it may be for normal people to grasp, the notion that there is only “my truth” and “your truth,” but nothing properly describable as the truth, is virtually axiomatic in the humanities departments of American “elite” universities, and has been for some time. Now, following the Orwellian script in Animal Farm, the woke plague has created a situation in which some of those personal “truths” are deemed more equal than others’ “truths”—the superior truths being the “truths” of political correctness.
"Claudine Gay, Jimmy Lai, and the Truth of Things" by George Weigel at First Things
Jan 18, 2024
Faith, Rights, and Choice in Education
Is education for persons, i.e., students and their parents, or is it for schools, i.e., the institutions where students go? Some readers may laugh at the question. Of course, education is for kids, not schools! But, if that’s so, then why are educational dollars – one of the things that makes education possible – for schools rather than kids? .... So shouldn’t the question be answered on the basis of what a person is due? On Catholic grounds, the answer would be “yes.” A person has a right and duty to know things, including above all, God. A person has a right to education. Persons (in the case of children those primarily charged with their interests, i.e., parents) have a right to choose the appropriate education for that child. All this also stems, in the end, from the love due to a person, including his integral development as a child of God, endowed with intellect and freedom of choice.
"Faith, Rights, and Choice in Education" by John M. Grondelski at The Catholic Thing
Jan 11, 2024
The Best and Brightest?
[I]t would probably be better if we told young people—and by this, I mean especially young people given the privilege of a college education—that they are not “the best and brightest.” That honor is something they will have to earn out in the world, by caring for others, doing things of value, and serving God and neighbor. Right now, they are just big balls of potential. Whether they’ll ever amount to much depends on whether they learn anything of value; master any important skills and virtues, including mastering their own passions and appetites; understand themselves and their fellow citizens better; and gain the experience they need out in the world, including the experience of recovering from mistakes and failure.
"The Best and Brightest?" by Randall Smith at The Catholic Thing
Jan 4, 2024
The Desecration of Man
[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.
"The Desecration of Man" by Carl R. Trueman at First Things
Dec 21, 2023
The New Paganism
This modern paganism is far worse than the one of old. The ancient pagans were required to be humble; to submit to a force larger than themselves. The modern pagans say in chorus with Lucifer: “I will not serve.” They will not serve God, men, the laws of nature, or the dictates of reason. Gender ideology especially is imbued with a mystical and amorphous character, such that rational attempts to combat its rhetoric quickly reach a dead end. Its advocates operate on the premise that they are sovereign gods over themselves; to what higher power, then, can we appeal to show them the truth?
"The New Paganism" by Nathaniel Lamansky at Crisis Magazine
Dec 14, 2023
Ivy League Presidents and the Collapse of Moral Reasoning
Rep. [Elise] Stefanik was asking the ultimate softball question: Do you think that inciting people to genocide, the wanton and indiscriminate killing of an entire race of people, is wrong? To be met with the answer, “Well, it depends upon the context” signaled to her, quite correctly, that her interlocutors had moved into complete and dangerous moral incoherence…. That appalling Congressional testimony served to blow the lid off of an increasingly dysfunctional culture on the campuses of our universities, which have become, sadly, not places where truth is sought, but hotbeds of woke ideology. Donors, parents, alumni—wake up. Do we want to be sending our kids to schools whose presidents cannot muster the intestinal fortitude to resist calls for genocide?
"Ivy League Presidents and the Collapse of Moral Reasoning" by Bishop Robert Barron at Word on Fire
Nov 30, 2023
Children Lose Their Faith Far Earlier than Parents Realize
[The] falling away [of young people] from Christianity…. [is] the result of young people cultivating shallowness, superficiality, and solipsism as a philosophy of life—and from a very early age. A recent, fascinating report from Lyman Stone at the Institute for Family Studies shows that the recent sharp drop in religious affiliation in the United States comes not from adults losing their faith but from children losing their faith far earlier than parents realize. The risk is less that a young person will lose his faith in college than that he lost his faith before he was fifteen, when he accepted that social media, online computer games, pop culture, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe constituted all the philosophy he needed; religion was irrelevant.
"The Secret to Evangelizing the Nones" by H.W. Crocker III at Crisis Magazine
Nov 23, 2023
Christianity and Progress
As soon as we reject the reality of Original Sin, we begin to believe that man is immaculate in his nature, spotless at birth, and that it is only his environment that corrupts him. If this is the case, we can make people perfect by making their environment perfect. Furthermore, if the “constructs” of human civilization, such as religion and the traditional family, are considered to be the cause of human corruption, we only need to destroy religion and the traditional family in order to rid human society of corruption. This was the philosophical error which animated Rousseau’s “noble savage” as it is the philosophical error which animates modern “progressives.”
"Christianity and Progress" by Joseph Pearce at The Imaginative Conservative
Nov 16, 2023
Recovering Catholic Identity and Education
There have been some attempts to argue for the Christian faith purely on the basis of philosophical reflection. ‘That’s mad,’ Prof [John] Haldane says. What matters for Catholicism is not just the content of the faith, what it is we believe—given the sheer number of Church councils defining various articles of faith, that obviously matters very much—but also the ‘source’ of truth…. ‘For the Christian, faith and joy do not depend on human estimations of how things are going, but are religious responses of trust in God, and joy at the prospect of salvation. It is these that must be brought into the work of meeting the challenges and seeking the opportunities surrounding Catholic education.’
"Recovering Catholic Identity and Education" by Christian Bergmann at Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne
Nov 9, 2023
Broken Homes Need Church Fathers
Almost a quarter of children in the United States live with only one parent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s the world’s highest rate. It’s heart-wrenching; for single-parent homes are connected with higher rates of substance abuse, criminality, suicide, and poverty…. There is no quick fix for the broken homes that have become too normal, but the crisis has assuredly increased the obligation of the Church. She needs to be the voice of reason and decency in this time of disorder, pointing people away from the slavery of vice and toward the true liberty and happiness of the Faith.
"Broken Homes Need Church Fathers" by Sarah Cain at Crisis Magazine
Nov 2, 2023
Dealing with Anti-Catholicism
Since May 2020, nearly 300 incidents of violence against Catholic Churches occurred in 43 states, including cases of arson, beheaded statues, gravestones defaced with swastikas, smashed windows, pro-abortion graffiti, theft and desecration of the Blessed Sacrament. Anti-Catholic hate crimes have risen noticeably in this country in recent years…. There is nothing true, good, or beautiful, which does not find resonance and support in the heart of the Church.
How do we convince our fellow Americans of this truth? By becoming saints! The Catholic faith is most attractive when her children are vibrantly alive with holiness, reflecting God’s love to all they encounter. We might think of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, who dedicated her life to serving and evangelizing children, the poor, the sick, and countless immigrants by creating orphanages, schools, and hospitals.
"Dealing with Anti-Catholicism" by Bishop Donald Hying at What We Need Now
Oct 26, 2023
Giving Students Something Better to Love
[L]ook around and notice all of the schools focused on just math and reading or boasting of acronyms and buzzwords or talking about acceptance rates and scholarship money. Those things are fine and good, but is that why we open our doors each morning? Plato says that the end or purpose of education is the cultivation of virtue to form a good person. We could easily add on the capacity to know and love the truth, to act in freedom, to reason, to discipline, to train healthy desires. To develop our memory and our attention. By developing what is most human, we surrender our will to His. Or as St. Bernadette of Soubirous said, “I must become a saint. My Jesus expects it.”
Giving Students Something Better to Love by Daniel Flynn at the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education
Oct 19, 2023
Who Are We? Where Are We Going?
When we are clear about who we are and where we are going, we can foster that civilization of love. Because the very same Voice that called us also imparts to us a love that is beyond our own capacity. It is a love that is radically faithful, self-sacrificing, creative, patient, permanent, generous, forgiving. It is a demanding love that asks us to lay down our lives for friend and enemy, to pick up the wounded stranger who tumbles onto our path. It is a love that answers consistently expressed human needs. It is a love of the kind and quality human beings were made to receive. And (by the way) teaching our children about this love is the greatest gift we can give to future generations and the greatest expression of our love for them.
"Who Are We? Where Are We Going?" by Msgr. James P. Shea at What We Need Now
Oct 12, 2023
Distraction and the Plague of Low Expectations
I think two of the biggest challenges facing the formation of young people today are distraction and the plague of low expectations. On the distraction side of things, college students today have never known a world without smartphones. Many of them are used to being perpetually on call to friends and family, their data constantly monitored by tracking, and they are unceasingly scrolling through the internet…. But on top of the reductionism and distraction that pervades their lives, young people today are…. told that they are fragile, that they deserve special treatment, that the world is too harsh, unfair, and dangerous.
"Education as a Spiritual Work of Mercy: An Interview with Professor Kyle Washut" by Julian Kwasniewski at The Catholic World Report
Oct 5, 2023
Rejecting the World to Improve the World
In recent centuries a new kind of worldview has emerged that is quite the opposite of world-rejection-ism. It is a purely secular worldview. When it is most consistent, it is an atheistic worldview. Sometimes it manifests itself in a moderate form; for example, Benthamism (Utilitarianism). Sometimes in a more radical form; for instance, Marxism-Leninism. In America today, this atheistic worldview manifests itself in what I like to call (when I talk to myself) neo-Benthamism. By its adherents, it’s usually called Progressivism. The benevolent aim of the progressives is to – gradually but steadily – improve the world (“make the world a better place” is the way they like to put it) until all the inhabitants of this planet live in peace and security and prosperity and personal freedom and happiness. This secular worldview has invaded American Christianity and deeply corrupted it, persuading tens of millions of American Protestants and Catholics that theirs is a purely world-improving religion, not at all a world-rejecting religion. In other words, it is a religion of neo-Benthamism clothed (disguised) in the rhetoric of Christianity. I have no crystal ball, but it is my personal belief that Catholicism will not return to its true nature until it recovers its world-rejection element.
"Rejecting the World to Improve the World" by David Carlin at The Catholic Thing
Sep 28, 2023
Is the Era of the Traditional Family Over in America?
Most Americans don’t place a high priority on marriage and children compared with their careers and friends, a new Pew Research Center survey says, and a large minority of Americans are pessimistic about the future of marriage and family. Patrick T. Brown, a family policy expert and fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, told CNA that the increasing number of people uninterested in having children or getting married “should help us recognize that we are entering a new era.”
"Is the Era of the Traditional Family Over in America? Survey Suggests Yes" by Kevin J. Jones at National Catholic Register
Sep 21, 2023
What Does It Mean for a School to Have a ‘Catholic Identity’?
[W]hat is “Catholic identity”? Here we have to go back a bit in history. In 1990, Pope St. John Paul II published his apostolic constitution on higher education, Ex Corde Ecclesiae (From the Heart of the Church), in which he laid out essential elements for the renewal of Catholic identity for universities. The core vision of the document: “Catholic teaching and discipline are to influence all university activities, while the freedom of conscience of each person is to be fully respected. Any official action or commitment of the university is to be in accord with its Catholic identity.”
"What Does It Mean for a School to Have a ‘Catholic Identity’?" by The Editors at National Catholic Register