Of Many Things
October 10, 2016
The recent grand opening of the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C., was a much-needed moment of national unity and self-reflection. In the highly partisan capital of an increasingly polarized nation, Americans of every race, creed and party paused to acknowledge and celebrate a part of our history that, in the words of President Obama, “has at times been overlooked.” That will be much harder to do now given the fittingly...
October 3, 2016
I was dining with a friend in Manhattan last week when the bomb went off. We were several blocks north of the explosion, so we didn’t physically experience the impact. Our first indication that something was wrong was when the AP bulletins started to light up and buzz cellphones throughout the restaurant. First a few customers, then nearly everyone knew what had happened and we started fielding calls and texts from worried relatives and friends who wanted to know...
September 26, 2016
Deconstructionists, those intellectuals who make it their job to ask critical questions about our long-cherished collective stories, like to ask, among other things, who or what cause is best served by a given narrative. They might ask, for example, whose interests are served by a story that tells of the triumph of capitalism over the broken promises of collectivism? Answer: the capitalists’ interests, of course. In this way, the deconstructionists see...
September 19, 2016
In every election cycle some politician tells voters that “this is the most important election in a generation.” Yet it’s rarely true. Most elections are not that dramatically consequential. More often than not, our national elections do not produce lasting political realignments or tectonic shifts in the nation’s strategic priorities. There are exceptions, of course: 1932 and 1980 come to mind.
This year could also...
September 12, 2016
I can virtually guarantee you that if you attend Mass on Sunday morning in any parish in the United States, you will find yourself sitting in a pew near someone who disagrees with you about what the public policy should be on abortion. Or same-sex marriage. Or the death penalty. While the teaching of the church on the moral dimensions of these issues is clear and consistent, there is today, as there has always been, a spirited debate about how to apply those...
August 29-September 6, 2016
More than halfway through the general election, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is imploding. The Republican flagship resembles Jonah’s boat to Tarshish: the tempest-tossed and panic-stricken passengers are looking for someone to blame, someone they can sacrifice to their angry god.
Mr. Trump’s favorite scapegoat these days is the national media. "If the disgusting and corrupt media covered me honestly and didn't...
August 15-22, 2016
A little over seven years ago I went to an early evening Mass in the chapel upstairs that serves the 20 or so Jesuits who live above the offices of America Media here in Manhattan. By Communion time, I felt a strange sensation in my left ear, like when you get water lodged in your ear after a swim. By the end of Mass, the sensation had become a loud, painful, pinging sound. By the end of dinner, I had lost all my hearing in that ear....
August 1-8, 2016
With this issue we are pleased to welcome to these pages the Right Hon. David Miliband , former British foreign secretary and current president of the International Rescue Committee. Mr. Miliband’s essay on the global refugee crisis is the second article we have published this year by a senior international diplomat about innovative approaches to seemingly intractable...
July 18-25, 2016
The late Justice Louis Brandeis was famously suspicious of bigness. As his biographer Jeffrey Rosen recently observed, for Justice Brandeis a truly democratic government “was only possible on a human scale.” Big, impersonal government bureaucracies, said Brandeis, tend to serve themselves rather than the people who are their titular sovereign and can be just as dangerous as the antitrust monopolies Brandeis battled in the business world....
July 4-11, 2016
If you are familiar with the spirituality of St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, then you will likely know his famous “Rules for Discernment” or, to put it simply, his method of decision-making. James Martin, S.J., once described this method in our pages: “Discernment for St. Ignatius means being aware that God wants us to make good decisions, that God will help us make good decisions—but that we are often moved by competing forces: ones...