Paper Clippings The Blog of The Crossroads Cultural Center
Paper Clippings, more than a classical blog, is a service providing valuable reading material in order to help readers reach a judgment about current affairs. Comments and discussion are more than welcome.
This article from London illustrates the fate of a society that is no longer able to continue itself, i.e. to educate. One should not think that this trend only affects the poor: the only difference is that among rich people it manifests itself in different ways.
This essay against multiculturalism shows well how the cultural implosion of the left led to the bitter nihilistic wave which is gripping most of the western world. And it also makes clear that this vacuum is the necessary condition for the rise of such a radically irrational and nihilistic ideology as Islamism.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Ave Maria Law School is considering moving from its Michigan location to Ave Maria Town near Naples, Florida. Some alumni are upset about the proposal because they see the role of the Law School as producing Catholic attorneys "who would engage the world and not retreat from it."
The Second International Coptic Conference convens this week in Washington. Often overlooked is the fact that Egypt's population of nearly 75 million includes the Middle East's largest Christian minority, over seven million, the vast majority of whom are members of the Coptic Orthodox Church and have in the last half-century experienced institutionalized discrimination that renders them little more than second-class citizens. From today's Wall Street Journal, an Op-Ed by Saad Eddin Ibrahim.
"How ridiculous to make evolution the enemy of God". Charles Krauthammer attacks without mercy the ID, "a phony theory".
"Intelligent design may be interesting as theology, but as science it is a fraud".
The New Yorker has a long piece on C.S. Lewis. If anything, the article exemplifies the superficial understanding of Christianity common among educated Westerners: as a religious fantasy without any present reality. To some degree, the article makes one wonder whether Lewis himself struggled with the same temptation. On the contrary the real presence of God in the world through sacramental signs is completely obvious in the works of Tolkien, but that seems to be beyond the understanding of the New Yorker's critic.
Alan Wolfe is correct that the great paradox of contemporary education is that it rejects a priori any attempt at investigating issues of meaning, and thus ends up not being education at all. His answer, however, seems inadequate because it claims once again that one can teach a "neutral" method (in his case, "passionate dispassion") in a vacuum, i.e. separate from a specific tradition. Things are just the opposite: only the honest proposal of a tradition (to be verified in the pupil's experience) can lead to the development of critical thinking. There is no escaping from the inner logic of the Enlightenment (aka "liberalism"), which is doomed to self-destruct by cutting the branch on which it sits (the specific Classic-Judeo-Christian-Germanic tradition that generated it). The problem, though, is not just going back to some dead canon (the great books); what is required is a people where a living tradition is constantly regenerated.
College students don't know who Jack Kerouac is. Big deal? Peter Zane says it is: "It's not that they don't know, it's that they don't care about what they don't know." It seems that the Renaissance ideal of the "divo" has reached it's logical endgame: "We are forced to become specialists, people who know more and more about less and less." But who is introducing young people to reality and the quest for knowledge? Do the professors who complain about the lack of curiosity convey curiosity themselves?
Google knows a lot more about you than you know about Google. For example, did you know that founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page see Google (its motto: "Don't Be Evil") as a populist force for good that empowers individuals to find information fast about anything and everything? What is their measure of evil, what is good? And what about the "Googling Your Genes" program?
Fasten your seat bealts for a trip into Google's soul...
One of the victims of last week's Al-quaeda bombing in Jordan was a Hollywood producer whose wish was "to bring the peaceful message of Islam to the Western world," according to his ex-wife. Her conclusion: "That was his point and it hasn't been well-made yet, has it?"
It seems more and more likely that the greatest threats to peace in the next few years may come from Iran. This article gives an interesting insight on the world view of the new leadership. For the situation of the Christian community, read this. The last paragraph is touching because it shows how the human quest for the truth can encounter God's mercy even in the most adverse circumstances. If you want the extreme-apocalyptic reading of the situation coming from the Iranian opposition in exile, you can always resort to faithfreedom.org (warning: take with a big pinch of salt). Spengler thinks a war is coming.