Category Archives: Reflections

Hopeful in bad times

“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. “What we choose to emphasize in … Continue reading

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Saving Liberalism

from Foreign Affairs Friday, January 13, 2017 Why Tolerance and Equality Are Not Enough Jeff Colgan . . . the politics of 2016—from nativism in the United States to anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe, which facilitated the rise of President-elect Donald … Continue reading

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The best antidote to populism is unpopularism

(personal note: Learning from Europe) From Reuters by John Foley, 12/28/16 Like democracy and the Cold War, European populism after the financial crisis had its origins in Greece. The leftist Syriza party swept to victory in January 2015 promising to dismantle … Continue reading

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Coming to Newark Archdiocese – A Different Kind of Cardinal

from The New York Times – 12/22/16 – Sharon Otterman INDIANAPOLIS — For about a year, the guys at the gym just called him Joe. He lifted weights in the early mornings wearing a skull-printed do-rag. He worked out on … Continue reading

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Donald Trump and Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga once talked about the doubters in an interview: “They would say, ‘This is too racy, too dance-oriented, too underground. It’s not marketable.’ And I would say, ‘My name is Lady Gaga, I’ve been on the music scene for … Continue reading

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Watch out for moral certainty

Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of … Continue reading

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Political Islam and Modernity

— excerpt adapted from September/October 2016 Foreign Affairs review essay · “Mosque and State” by Malise Ruthven, author Islam in the World. ( https://www.foreignaffairs.com/reviews/review-essay/mosque-and-state ) The Islamic world could not follow only the European path toward Enlightenment and modernity by way of reformation. Even … Continue reading

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Led through snares and dangers

From the novel Jayber Crow, by Wendell Berry If you could do it, I suppose it would be a good idea to live your life in a straight line – starting, say, in the Dark Wood of Error, and proceeding … Continue reading

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The garden and the sword

Perhaps everybody has a garden of Eden, I don’t know; but they have scarcely seen their garden before they see the flaming sword. Then, perhaps, life only offers the choice of remembering the garden or forgetting it. Either, or: it … Continue reading

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What Diplomacy Needs

Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations – “US Diplomacy: Realism and Reality” – New York Review of Books 8/18/16 How is a statesman to advance his nation’s interests? For as long as states have existed, diplomats have grappled with … Continue reading

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