Arimathea | Philosophy
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Thursday, April 10, A.D. 2014
Desiccated Intellectual Life

Here are some links to posts about our sorry academic and general intellectual situation:

“College Students Demand Respect” on The Thinking Housewife with a guest article by Richard Cocks

“The Academy Then and Now” by Paul Gottfried at the the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy site (courtesy of Thomas F. Bertonneau)

“Arguing Over Argument in the Internet Age” by James Kalb in Crisis Magazine

If that was not enough doom and gloom for you, check out this enthusiastic support for constructivism: “Constructivist Learning and Teaching.”

Sigh. I stand by my belief that nominalism has been the chief specific cause of the West’s decay.

Rend your clothes and toss dust.

Posted by Joseph on Thursday, April 10, Anno Domini 2014
Wednesday, April 9, A.D. 2014
Abortion Celebration

A few weeks ago in “Worse than the Matrix,” I linked to a story about hospitals’ using fetal remains in energy saving furnaces. Last week, Drudge shared an article in The College Fix that covers a celebration of abortion at the University of Michigan: “University of Michigan Exhibit Celebrates Abortion as ‘Life-Sustaining Act.’” Read the post and look at the provided posters.

For commentary, I refer you to my post from two years ago: “Abortion as a Sacrament.” Aside from my attempt to understand “the culture of death” therein, I admit that the wicked have become more brazen and unhinged in all sorts of frightening but fascinating ways. For instance, college students have come to decorate university grounds with hanging plastic vaginae to celebrate their alternative to Saint Valentine’s Day. Homosexual activists parade with sacrilegious depictions of sacred persons and symbols. Naked women with body paint have invaded Christian temples and danced upon altars—a disturbing image of the West’s own abomination of desolation. It all seems rather demonic—as if our civilization has openly invited Satan and his minions to possess it. And it has.

Posted by Joseph on Wednesday, April 9, Anno Domini 2014
Wednesday, April 2, A.D. 2014
Kalb on Subsidiarity

A few months ago, James Kalb published a short essay on The Catholic World Report about subsidiarity’s place in the modern world: “How Do We Advance Subsidiarity?” A selection:

. . . A basic problem is the difficulty of limiting the modern state and modern economic life. The state doesn’t want to be limited, because people who like to run things believe they know best. And technology has multiplied our ability to buy and sell whatever we need, and seems to hold out the prospect of absolute freedom through unlimited wealth.

For that reason money and the state pervade more and more aspects of social life today: fast food, day care, social welfare schemes, and electronic entertainment all substitute for family life, for example. The result is a political and social system based ever more totally on government bureaucracies and the market, with their relative power determined by relative institutional advantages and by shifting popular sentiment that both powers try to mold and manipulate with the aid of their allies and hangers-on.

The two working together are unlimited in their ambitions and demands, and they have no interest in subsidiarity. They believe they can do anything, and the growing exclusion of religious faith from public life means that the secular utilitarian ways of thinking that guide them function as a substitute religion. The result is that they feel called on to remake all human life in their own image, turning it into a system of maximum equal preference satisfaction consistent with the efficiency, coherence, and security of the social machine.

The only constituents ultimately taken seriously in that machine are the state and the individual. Church and family dissolve as independent institutions with their own principles of legitimacy. . . .

Such a system is at odds with subsidiarity, since the latter won’t exist unless non-state institutions have their own principles of legitimacy, and the system insists on extirpating such principles for the sake of its own coherence and dominance. . . .

Kalb has some thoughtful practical suggestions in the piece for those of us who find the contemporary situation repellant.

Posted by Joseph on Wednesday, April 2, Anno Domini 2014
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