More on the Future of Liberalism

My last couple of pieces at Crisis Magazine, The Darkness Gathers and How Long Will Secular Liberalism Endure?, continue the discussion. Basically I say it has a strong internal logic with strong institutional support, and it’s  well-defended against external criticism. On the other hand, those strengths mean that it refuses to deal with reality, and that problem gets worse as it progresses, so it also has some basic weaknesses. Conclusion: it’s a kind of bubble. Bubbles last much longer than you think they’re going to, but not forever. (What does?) We don’t have a crystal ball, so we can’t know just how or when it will end, but in the meantime we should maintain life, live as well as we can, build as much as we can, and preach the word in and out of season.

On other fronts, I reviewed Garry Wills’ book on why there shouldn’t be any priests a few months ago.

Out of the Antiworld

I have an essay in the current issue of Modern Age that’s available online through the Intercollegiate Review website. It gives an architectonic account of the various major political positions in present-day America that is intended to explain the necessity and awkward status of social conservatism. The piece started out as a lecture I gave a couple of years ago at a conference and then shortened and made a bit less specifically Catholic to fit into an officially non-Catholic publication. An excerpt:

Our current public order claims to separate politics from religion, but that understates its ambition. It aspires to free public life—and eventually, since man is social, human life in general—not only from religion but also from nature and history. The intended result is an increase in freedom as man becomes his own creator. The effect, though, is that human life becomes what those in power say it is.

Against Inclusiveness

book coverMy new book, Against Inclusiveness: How the Diversity Regime is Flattening America and the West and What to Do About It, is now out. It treats inclusiveness as an expression of scientism, rationalized methods of social organization, and the interests and habitual outlook of our ruling classes. I say that at bottom it’s an attempt to do away with forms of social organization other than global markets and transnational expert bureaucracies. I also discuss what to do about it. You might want to give it a try!

UPDATE: My first review, from Orthosphere promoter Bruce Charlton.

Why not a Catholic Society Instead of a Liberal Theocracy?

I claim that’s what Catholics should be going for in my most recent column at Catholic World Report. There’s some to-and-fro in the comments with Mark Brumley, the CEO of the outfit that publishes CWR, who seems to believe in American pluralism more than I do.

At bottom, I think the issue is that he starts his analysis with the current interpretation of Dignitatis Humanae, the Vatican II pronouncement on religious freedom, while I start mine with the normal relation between a political society and the goods those who take part in the society want to further and protect. If the influence of Catholicism on public life grew it seems the two would begin to point in different directions. As I suggest in the discussion, though, it seems to me the interpretation of DH would likely (and legitimately) shift in response to such a change. That’s the function of the expressions like “due limits” and “public morality” that are found in the document.

The Beat Goes On

I’ve followed up my piece at Crisis Magazine  about the New Dunciad that was linked here with suggestions for how to smarten up. Like the first piece, it was inspired by discussions at the New York Orthosphere meetup group. Basically, I say we need more of a sense of authority and the transcendent, and also a stronger element of learning through apprenticeship.

I’ve also supplemented my handwringing at Catholic World Report about What Are Catholics to Do? with part II and part III on the same topic.

The new Dunciad

I’ve published an analysis of the growing stupidity of Western public life at Crisis Magazine. The topic was the theme of a recent meeting of the New York meetup group.

Basically, I say the problem is the technological attitude toward human life. If thought is reduced to pure formal expertise and made a sort of industrial process it stops being thought. The more impressively it’s organized, the less like thought it becomes.