The website has moved to http://www.theordealofconsciousness.com/
Please come and join me there.
A very interesting debate has appeared at Public Discourse following the publication of Hadley Arkes’s essay, Recasting Religious Freedom (subscription required) in the June issue of First Things, between Arkes and Robert T. Miller. The central issue involves a dispute over the best defense of religious freedom in an age shadowed by secularism. Arkes believes the best defense here, given the modern tendency to assume the beliefs of religionists are intrinsically irrational, rests upon a positive account of the reasonableness of the views held by religionists (or non-religionists) rather than upon the sincerity with which they are held. Miller, however, argues that the views of religionists are a special case, and that we should avoid the requirement of judges inquiring into their reasonableness unless absolutely necessary.
The order of the debate is as follows:
I will provide an update if Arkes responds to the rejoinder.
Decades later, St. Benedict’s is still there, and its recent history is a remarkable story of educational success under extraordinarily challenging circumstances. The Rule, a documentary by Marylou and Jerome Bongiorno opening this Friday in New York and next week in Los Angeles, recounts the improbable tale of priests and brothers living under a nearly 1,500-year-old monastic code, and the Newark kids whose lives they have transformed.
The monks shape the whole learner by not only inculcating them with a great intellectual inheritance but also situating them within a community bound by obligations, to themselves, other students, teachers, and, in turn, their family:
“How do I measure success?” he asks. “You’re able to graduate St. Benedict’s, have a mortgage, deal with your marriage, deal with your family, stick it out. How do I measure success? I got a father working with his son, in his son’s life.”
Indeed. The Rule opens this Friday, September 5, at Quad Cinemas, Manhattan, on September 12th at the Laemmle Encino, Los Angeles, and airs nationally on PBS starting September 25.
h/t: Ellen of Tasmania
Anyone familiar with conservatism as an intellectual disposition should be familiar with the work of Edmund Burke. He has come to us, arguably, as the paradigmatic figure of an intellectual movement that arose in defense, not of the status quo, but of a manner of living that was both appreciated and enjoyed that had become threatened by the revolutionary political and social movements of modernity. It is then a welcome occasion that David Bromwich should have written The Intellectual Life of Edmund Burke: From the Sublime and Beautiful to American Independence, reviewed by David Womersley, William Byrne, and Daniel McCarthy in order to help us recollect the man and his thought anew.
Some long-overdue linkage:
Roger Scruton, Why Iraq is a Write-Off
Robert Royal, It’s So Enlightenment
Christopher Dawson, Catholicism and the Bourgeois Mind
Longenecker on Brideshead Revisited: The Villain of the Piece
Bill Vallicella, The Gardener’s Racism?
Peter Leithart, Tradition and the Individual Theologian
Film Review, The Scandal of Calvary
In Memoriam. h/t: CL
Linkage to fine reading and listening has been long overdue. Here is a selection collected over the last few weeks:
Feser – Where’s God?
Rachel Lu – Why I don’t use Contraception
Karen Swallow Prior – What we talk about when we talk about ‘Birth Control’
A. G. Gancarski – James Garner: Anti-Authoritarian Everyman
The OFloinn – In Psearch of Pschye: Some Groundwork (This is a great introduction to Aristotelian-Thomistic metaphysics).
Robert Stacy McCain – Sex Trouble: Radical Feminism and the Long Shadow of the ‘Lavender Menace’
Daniel McCarthy – Why Liberalism means Empire
Charles E. Stokes, Amber Lapp, and David Lapp – A Bit of Religion Can be Bad for Marriage
Peter Wehner – The Nobility of Politics
Podcasts: Eric Cohen, Yuval Levin, and Meir Soloveichik discuss Burkean Zionism
Film Review: Eve Tushnet reviews Polanski’s new film, Venus in Fur.