But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

Wednesday, 03 June 2020 16:00

Obsessions

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I mentioned in a previous post that some people think we ought to practice social distancing not just while the epidemic runs its course, but from now on.

In a world in which more people than ever before think that when you die, you’re nothing but worm food, it’s hard to resist the...

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Saturday, 30 May 2020 16:00

Boutique Rioting

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Now I’ve seen everything:  Boutique rioting.

A crowd floating down Austin’s famous Sixth Street.  Young men holding hands with their girl friends, strolling along and looking.  Every third person taking a video or selfie.

And in the background, a store being looted.

The...

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Wednesday, 27 May 2020 16:00

Following the Science

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I have nothing to say against real science.  But isn’t it interesting that the people who talk most about “following the science” usually don’t know much about the science?

Today we have a vaccine for chickenpox, which is much safer than the disease.  Get your...

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Sunday, 24 May 2020 16:00

The Spectrum of Journalistic Bias

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Surveys consistently show that overwhelmingly majorities of journalists identify themselves as liberal or progressive (pretty much like university professors).  In theory, journalists could be liberal and still treat conservatives fairly.  Conservatives say that they...

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Wednesday, 20 May 2020 16:00

Covid-19 and Goo Goo-12

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Yes, the epidemic is real.  However, the rate of coronavirus infection, Covid-19, is dwarfed by the rate of infection with the less publicized seehowworriediam virus, Goo Goo-12.  Like others in the Goo Goo family, the pathogen is spread by listening to conventional and electronic...

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Thursday, 07 May 2020 16:00

When Is It Tyranny? When Do We Say No?

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Query:

As I’m sure you are aware, the governor of Illinois has stated that church services cannot begin until there is a Covid-19 vaccine or effective therapy.  Yesterday the governor of Michigan outlined her own draconian plan.

Waiting until there is a vaccine or effective therapy...

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Sunday, 03 May 2020 16:00

Will MAD Come Back?

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I see in the news that the government is clamping restrictions on the use of electronic parts supplied from abroad for use in our electrical power grid.  The purpose, of course, is national security.  One would not want the grid to be hacked by a hostile foreign power.

This raises an...

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Sunday, 26 April 2020 16:00

The Bare Minimum

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image"So, J., what do you think is the bare minimum a person must believe for salvation?"

Thus my new friend began our first serious conversation, the moment he passed through my door.  That was a quarter of a century ago.  We were both Protestants.  He still is.

I didn’t mind...

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Wednesday, 22 April 2020 16:00

Constitutional CYA

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CYA, short for Covering Your Anatomy, is the strategy of choosing one’s course of action in such a way that if it goes wrong, someone else gets the blame.  Dealing with the problem at hand may take second place.

We all know that CYA can affect governmental policy.  What’s...

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Sunday, 19 April 2020 16:00

Fear and Forbearance

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At the beginning, it was said that since it was impossible to prevent all infections, we had to “flatten the curve” of the coronavirus so that the caseload stretched out and hospitals would not be overwhelmed.  Now that the curve has flattened, we hear in some quarters that...

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Wednesday, 15 April 2020 16:00

Now Is the Time to Be Bold

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In view of the efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, I had thought of writing a post about how pastors, priests, and bishops should be imaginative instead of supine, finding ways to administer the sacraments withouthaving to pack large numbers of people into small enclosed spaces.

Rea...

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Sunday, 12 April 2020 16:00

Conversation with a Six Year Old

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One of my natural law students told me this week of a conversation with his six-year-old sister.

He had been learning that according to Thomas Aquinas, a command, in order to be a genuine law rather than an act of violence, must be reasonable, for the common good, made by competent public...

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Saturday, 11 April 2020 16:00

Justin Martyr on the Resurrection

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The utterances of truth we judge by no separate test, giving full credit to itself.  And God, the Father of the universe, who is the perfect intelligence, is the truth.  And the Word, being His Son, came to us, having put on flesh, revealing both Himself and the Father, giving to us...

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I cannot realistically choose not to be ruled by an elite.  At this point in history I probably cannot even choose not to be ruled by a technocratic elite.  But I do prefer to be ruled by the portion of the elite which is allied with a majority of the population.  That ought to...

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A great many people are asking how the coronavirus will change us, but that is not the right question.  The only way the virus can change us is to make us sick, God forbid.  Any other changes will come about not because of the virus itself but because of our response to it. ...

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Sunday, 29 March 2020 16:00

Living and Dead Constitutions

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Though I disagreed with the late Justice Scalia about a variety of things, I have always liked his quip that he didn’t believe in a “living” Constitution, but in a dead one.

Let’s tweak that a little.  What people mean by a living Constitution is a Constitution...

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imageAs its name suggests, progressivism wants to make progress.  This would seem to mean that it wants to achieve new things that are good, and leave behind old things that are bad.  Who wouldn’t be for that?

But to know whether you are making progress or not, you need an objective...

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Sunday, 15 March 2020 14:02

Bad Reasoning about Hard Choices

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imageQuery:

A fireman races into a burning medical clinic.  He finds there a flask of frozen embryos, but also a five-year-old child.  He can’t carry them both.  Who should he save?  Most people – including most pro-life people -- would say “the...

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Thursday, 12 March 2020 16:00

Sickism

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CNN has reported that the president declared that he was not worried after meeting with a Brazilian official who was reported (falsely, as it turned out) to have tested positive for the coronavirus.  However, CNN now has now released the surprising news that the president does not...

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Sunday, 08 March 2020 16:00

Knowledge, Power, and Obsession

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imageI have been reading a famous speech of Robert A. Oppenheimer, given in 1945 to the Association of Los Alamos Scientists.  Oppenheimer had played a central role in the development of nuclear weapons.  His speech is one of the most tortuously reasoned documents of its kind that I have...

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Sunday, 01 March 2020 15:00

Free Stuff and Aspirational Rights

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Section 11 of John XXIII’s 1963 encyclical Pacem in Terris declares “We must speak of man's rights.   Man has the right to live.  He has the right to bodily integrity and to the means necessary for the proper development of life, particularly food, clothing,...

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Sunday, 23 February 2020 15:00

Beauty and Prose Style

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Some of the boldest and most entertaining writers are also some of the most dangerously careless, misleading, or even wicked:  Bacon, Machiavelli, and Nietzsche, for example.  Perhaps this is why St. Paul resolves to forgo the use of “lofty words” or rhetorical tricks...

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Sunday, 16 February 2020 09:25

Whither Populism?

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Although we speak of rule by the people, the people cannot rule by themselves.  At most, rule by the people means rule by that faction of the elite that enjoys the support of the majority of the people.

True, elites cannot rule without some compliance on the part of the people.  On...

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Sunday, 09 February 2020 15:00

What Obergefell Isn’t

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Whether you think the Supreme Court's decision in the so-called gay marriage case Obergefell v. Hodges was right or wrong, it could not be what it is said to be.

Marriage concerns the association in which children are conceived in the stable, loving union of their parents.  This is a...

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Sunday, 02 February 2020 15:00

Happiness and Blue Cups

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 I am glad to announce the publication of my new book by Cambridge University Press:  Commentary on Thomas Aquinas’s Treatise on Happiness and Ultimate PurposeThe details of the book on the Books page of this website tell a little about the book, quote the endorsements, and...

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