First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

This journal focuses on a religiously informed public philosophy.

Articles from October

A Famous Victory
SIX DAYS OF WAR: JUNE 1967 AND MAKING OF THE MODERN MIDDLE EAST. By MICHAEL B. OREN. Oxford University Press. 446 pp. $30. THE MODERN Middle East emerged out of three great earthquakes that rocked the region over a period of a half century: the...
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A History of Their Own. (the Public Square: A Continuing Survey of Religion and Public Life)
At the suggestion of a friend, I took with me for reading on the flight to Ukraine the popular new novel Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer (Houghton Mifflin). It is a clever--at times overly clever--entertainment, and a remarkable...
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Being after Rousseau: Philosophy and Culture in Question
By RICHARD L. VELKLEY. University of Chicago Press. 192 pp. $18 paper. It has been said that modern philosophy began with Rene Descartes' declaration of intellectual autonomy and came to an end with Martin Heidegger's project of "deconstructing"...
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How to Think about Globalization
Soon after the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon last September, the Economist published an editorial examining "the roots of hatred" underlying it. Many reasons for why people might hate the United States were considered: the missile...
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Lincoln's Prudence
LINCOLN'S VIRTUES: AN ETHICAL BIOGRAPHY. By WILLIAM LEE MILLER. Knopf. 515 pp. $30. WHILE DESCRIBING the Rawlsian-liberal idea of "the unencumbered self" and "the procedural republic" in Democracy's Discontents (1994), political theorist Michael...
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Meat-and-Potato Catholics. (the Public Square: A Continuing Survey of Religion and Public Life)
(The following report is submitted by our ubiquitous correspondent George Weigel.) Outraged commentary quickly followed Bishop Timothy M. Dolan's June 25 remark that his first priority, as the tenth Archbishop of Milwaukee would be to talk with...
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Morality and the Human Goods: An Introduction to Natural Law Ethics
By ALFONSO GOMEZ-LOBO. Georgetown University Press. 142 pp. $17.95 paper. Alfonso Gomez-Lobo addresses this book "primarily to students and readers not formally trained in philosophy who feel the need for a reliable conceptual structure for their...
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Political Blasphemy. (the Public Square: A Continuing Survey of Religion and Public Life)
It lasted but a moment, but while it lasted it was political theater to be relished. The wondrously eccentric U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit--more precisely, two members of a three-member panel thereof--discovered that the phrase "under...
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Real Ethics: Rethinking the Foundations of Morality
By JOHN RIST. Cambridge University Press. 295 pp. $23 paper. John Rist's punchy title suggests that it is possible for an ethical theory to be less than fully engaged with reality. It also hints at the author's vigorous defense of moral realism,...
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Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr. (the Public Square: A Continuing Survey of Religion and Public Life)
I know it is a fact, but it is nonetheless hard to picture: had he lived, Martin Luther King, Jr. would now be seventy-three years old. Everybody of a certain age has memories, if only of television images; many were there when he spoke, others...
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Russians and Catholics. (Opinion)
To feel the full historical weight of Russian attitudes toward the Roman Catholic Church one should see the 1938 film Aleksandr Nevski--the Stalinist take on medieval Russia's triumph over the Teutonic Knights. The film demonizes Roman Catholicism...
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Seeking a Better Way. (the Public Square: A Continuing Survey of Religion and Public Life)
We may not have seen anything quite like this since Europe in the eighteenth century. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, there is the by now familiar circumstance where a bishop is charged with mishandling the case of a priest charged with the sexual abuse of...
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Smart Thinking
UPHEAVALS OF THOUGHT: THE INTELLIGENCE OF EMOTIONS. By MARTHA C. NUSSBAUM. Cambridge University Press. 751 pp. $39.50. MARTHA C. NUSSBAUM is a universalist feminist, which makes her something of an anomaly in the academy today. As she has pointed...
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The Abolition of Man?
OUR POSTHUMAN FUTURE: CONSEQUENCES OF THE BIOTECHNOLOGICAL REVOLUTION. By FRANCIS FUKUYAMA. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 272 pp. $25. AS MUSTAPHA MOND put it in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, whether human nature is fixed or fundamentally changeable...
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The Last Respectable Prejudice. (Opinion)
Does anti-Catholicism exist? Yes it does. Can we define it? Yes we can. It's repugnance for things Catholic, both real and imagined. It's the sort of thing Catholics and non-Catholics alike recognize when they see it. Is anti-Catholicism, historically,...
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The Meanings of Marriage
"The apt and cheerful conversation of man with woman is the chief and noblest purpose of marriage," wrote John Milton. "Where loving [conversation] cannot be, there can be left of wedlock nothing but the empty husk of an outside matrimony"--dry,...
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Truth, Beauty & the American Way. (This Time)
Ever since the World Trade Center was destroyed, the question of what to do with the site has been at the forefront of New Yorkers minds. The Twin Towers once stood proudly over the city; their remains--sixteen acres of ruins, a hole six stories...
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Was Reinhold Niebuhr a Christian? (Opinion)
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971), dubbed "America's theologian" by the mid-twentieth-century media, had a host of critics during his lifetime. Many attacked him for his political realism. Others found his "neoorthodoxy" wanting. A few went much further,...
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Whatever Happened to Sociology? (Opinion)
The title question has been asked frequently in recent years, both within and outside the field. I think that it can be answered rather easily: sociology has fallen victim to two severe deformations. The first began in the 1950s; I would label it...
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What Is Left of Socialism
Karl Marx--a powerful mind, a very learned man, and a good German writer--died 119 years ago. He lived in the age of steam; never in his life did he see a car, a telephone, or an electric light, to say nothing of later technological devices. His...
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While We're at It. (the Public Square: A Continuing Survey of Religion and Public Life)
* There will of course be more in these pages on the Zelman v. Simmons-Harris decision handed down by the Supreme Court this term. As is not infrequently the case, it was a close vote (5-4) but that in no way diminishes its potential, and indeed...
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