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On Pragmatism and Democracy, Via A.J. Muste

Courtesy of Andrew Hartman, I’m reading Leilah Danielson’s American Gandhi. I’ll be contributing to a #USIH round table on the book in September. But I have a few preliminary observations: Read more…

MacIntyre, Dreher, and *After Virtue*

After many years of delay, I think I’m ready to read Alasdair MacIntyre’s *After Virtue*.

The only other work I’ve read by him is *Marxism and Christianity*. I found it interesting but somewhat underwhelming—not the kind of synthesis I craved. As an aside, I might be getting more of that synthesis in Leilah Danielson’s *American Gandhi*.

Returning to *After Virtue*, what sealed its addition to my the reading list was a review of Rod Dreher’s *The Benedict Option*. Read more…

Shabby Opportunism by the Archdiocese of Chicago

The Archdiocese of Chicago has inserted its voice into political discussions about education funding in Illinois. Cardinal Cupich has met with Gov. Bruce Rauner to discuss a new tax scholarship scheme that could support Archdiocesan schools (along with other religious schools). This helps Rauner in that it promotes “school choice”—a ploy, and play on words, used nearly everywhere to diminish public schools.

This is shabby opportunism and crisis exploitation by the Archdiocese. Read more…

Capitalism Doesn’t Care

Capitalism doesn’t care about your morals, ethics, elections, history, laws, culture, conspiracy, collusion, or your Constitution. All of that is a mere “soap opera” to the system’s managers. That system cares only about extraction of material and labor resources for the growth of its companies. On the last, in these times, it means funneling profits upwards to executives. Today capitalism means feeding the desires of the one percent. Everything else is window dressing. – TL

On Trump’s Partisan, Inappropriate Speech at the BSA National Jamboree

Speaking as an Eagle Scout and former scouting enthusiast, and as a dad with a son in Cub Scouts, these responses to parts of Trump’s speech at the BSA National Jamboree are despicable. If Donald Trump is now a role model for some segment of Scout leaders today, then it’s no longer the organization that helped me, as a youth, find better moral paths. Read more…

Reflections on the La Civiltà Cattolica Essay

This La Civiltà Cattolica essay is an important denunciation and refutation of American-style Evangelical Catholicism. I have three thoughts, or reactions, that I’m sorting out: Read more…

No, Don’t Leave Historical Analogies to the Pundits

The main thrust of this piece, exemplified in its title, is just wrong. Irresponsible, in fact. It’s entirely counterproductive in relation to a great deal of new historical work that has radically increased awareness of recent history. If historians are not going to *be* pundits, they should engage them constantly.

The article’s title derives from this line (by Moshik Temkin): “…the most important thing historians can do is to leave the analogies to the pundits…”. The author adds a bit more nuance, saying that historians can and should provide complexity and a sense change over time when possible.

But trading in analogies and complexity need not be mutually exclusive. Read more…