Matthew J. Franck is not happy with Judge Richard J. Posner. He doesn't like how Posner treated attorney Matthew Kairis during oral arguments at the Seventh Circuit Court last week (which I wrote up here). Kairis represents Notre Dame in its lawsuit challenging the HHS contraception mandate. Franck writes:
In a colloquy with Matthew Kairis...Posner badgered, interrupted, and demanded yes-or-no answers to questions so badly framed that they had to be either evidence of Posner’s failure to grasp the issues in the case, or of his intention to trap counsel in a corner of some kind.
Of course, Posner has never been known for going easy on lawyers. One law blogger said this was Posner "at his cantankerous best." Others weren't so sure. But whatever you make of Posner's approach, Kairis didn't help matters by talking over the judges and failing to answer their questions directly--or without speechifying. "Any law student who has done a moot court argument in school learns that you don’t interrupt the court, talk while the court is talking, or irritate the judge by trying to sidestep a direct question," wrote lawyer and blogger Bill Wilson.
Franck's displeasure isn't limited to Posner's attitude. No, he thinks Posner has missed entirely the point of Notre Dame's complaint. Actually, it's worse than that. Franck believes he's identified "Posner's inability to perceive what's at stake in this case" (my emphasis). But judging from Franck's post, it's not clear that he has a terribly firm grasp of the issues in play.Read more
Last month, the University of Notre Dame announced that it would comply with Obamacare's contraception mandate, after the school's legal challenges failed. "Pursuant to the Affordable Care Act," a university statement explained, "our third-party administrator is required to notify plan participants of coverage provided under its contraceptives payment program." In other words, university employees would receive contraceptive coverage at no cost to them. But the statement warned that “the program may be terminated once the university's lawsuit on religious-liberty grounds...has worked its way through the courts."
That dismayed some of the university's more conservative critics. Notre Dame law professor Gerard V. Bradley, for example, argued that the university's compliance with the mandate amounted to "facilitating abortions." And Notre Dame historian Wilson Miscamble, CSC, worried that the university's heart wasn't really in the fight. But after listening to Notre Dame counsel's oral arguments last week at the 7th U.S. Court of Appeals, they may have something else to worry about.Read more
A couple of points:
1. Professor George made an authoritative pronouncement about how a hypothetical Muslim school should decide an internal personnel matter. But making those sorts of pronouncements really does require the extensive knowledge and training of a mullah—a common term for a Muslim scholar who is an expert in Islamic law and theology, just as making an authoritative pronouncement about an internal personnel matter in a Jewish day school really requires the extensive knowledge and training of a rabbi. My point was that a Catholic really can't be a mullah—or a rabbi—and shouldn't act as though he or she is. One has to wonder why George would automatically conclude that the term “mullah” is itself an insult.
2. Is there a difference between questioning Professor George and attacking him? But let’s push through the fulminations and focus on the answer to my question. He writes:
If [the teacher] were repentant, then I, as her fellow sinner, would support keeping her on. I’d even host the baby shower. The example being set for the school children in that case would be one of repentance and forgiveness—loving the sinner, even while rejecting the sin. Of course, if her intention is to flout the Church’s teachings, then it’s a different story. That’s what is going on when a teacher, say, moves in with his or her boyfriend or girlfriend or enters into a civil marriage with a person of his or her own sex—or goes into the strip club business.
So...the baby shower sounds good. (Don’t forget the gift.) But let’s think about this analysis. How would we know she’s repentant? Would she have to publicly repent? (If so, we’re getting a little too close to the Scarlet Letter here for my taste.) How would you communicate to the kids that she had sinned? Wouldn’t that disclose too much information, at least at the elementary-school level?
George writes: “If her intention is to flout...” But "flouting" generally connotes some form of open and public contempt. Can one disagree with a particular communal norm, not follow it in one’s own life, and yet still not be guilty of "flouting" that norm? Looking at the polling data on these matters, we may have a situation where a) the unmarried woman doesn't think the norm about premarital sex holds in her particular case and relationship, but b) has no intention of publicizing her view in any way at work. But she gets pregnant. She's not flouting the norm—but her body is definitely revealing a violation of it. You might say the baby is flouting the norms!
When it comes to Catholic moral teaching, I just don’t see “moves in with his or her boyfriend or girlfriend or enters into a civil marriage with a person of his or her own sex” as comparable with “goes into the strip-club business.”
In the end, I think there are four points to be considered in this controversy.Read more
Last night at 1:30 AM (that is, early this morning) a New York City garbage truck pulled up to our building. The last several snow storms have left garbage uncollected and buried not only under a mountain of snow but behind the cars encased in snow.
Amazing performance by two sanitation workers. One clambered over the mountain of snow and began throwing the black garbage bags out to the street; the other grabbed them and threw them into the maw of the garbage truck. Bundeled up, the two looked like the Goodyear tire man, stiff and imoblile. Yet they had a rhythm and a grace, yes, even in 14 degree weather, that was impressive. Bravo!!
Last week, Univision released a survey of twelve thousand Catholics in a dozen countries across five continents. The idea occurred to them after the Vatican asked the world's bishops conferences to find out what their people think about a range of social issues and report back. But, as the Univision survey's executive summary notes, "the papal questionnaire is not an opinion-gathering instrument." True, it's not exactly reader-friendly (several dioceses chose to adapt it in order to make it more intelligible to the people whose views it was designed to gather). Nor were its results easy to compile. So Univision sponsored a large-scale survey that would adhere to contemporary standards of data collection, and allow us to say with a measure of confidence: This what the world's Catholics think now.
The results won't shock you. (The German and Swiss bishops certainly weren't surprised.) They represent "an alarming trend for the Vatican," because the "majority of Catholics worldwide disagree with Catholic doctrine on divorce, abortion, and contraceptives," according to Bendixen and Amandi International--the communications firm that conducted the study. (It's been published a few ways: as an interactive feature, a slideshow, and an executive summary--which explains the survey's methodology.)
The country-by-country breakdown also holds few surprises. Generally speaking, the more developed a country is, the less likely its Catholics are to fully agree with certain church teachings. So, while a significant majority of U.S. Catholics (59 percent) say that women should be ordained priests, 81 percent of Ugandan Catholics disagree (the breakdown is similar on the question of married priests). Of course huge majorities of American Catholics (88 percent) have no problem with the use of artificial contraception. Ninety-four percent of French Catholics support the use of contraceptives--edging out Brazil's 93 percent to take the top spot in that category. And when it comes to divorce, the percentages line up similarly: 60 percent of U.S. Catholics believe that being divorced and remarried outside the church should not bar one from receiving Communion, while 72 percent of Catholics in the Democratic Republic of the Congo agree with that church teaching. On gay marriage, most Catholics agree with their bishops: about 40 percent of U.S. Catholics oppose it, compared with 99 percent of Catholic Africans.
The abortion results are more interesting.Read more
UPDATE: event to be rescheduled due to weather and campus closing on February 3.
In the past month, several major news outlets have raised the question of whether Pope Francis is having an effect on political figures in the United States. Kathleen Hennessey's A1 story in the Los Angeles Times reported on how and why President Obama, for example, had come to quote the Pope.Read more
Of all the things President Obama said in the long New Yorker profile-interview last week, I found it interesting how many people seized on his remark that he wouldn’t let his son play pro football. Syria? The ACA? Obstructionist Congressional Republicans? There were about seventeen-thousand other words to choose from, but with the two-week gap between conference championships and Super Bowl Sunday, maybe people were itching for something, anything, football-related to talk about (surely it wasn’t just another reason to criticize Obama for positing “imaginary” offspring and apologizing for America?).
The president said something similar this time last year, only then it was that he’d have to think “long and hard about it.” Of course, the twelve months between have served up still more stories of players now living with (and dying from) the effects of catastrophic brain injury tied to playing football, and still more data confirming the connection. So maybe it’s understandable that his position has solidified. And yet then came what he called his “caveat emptor,” that current NFL players “know what they’re buying into. It’s no longer a secret. It’s sort of the feeling I have about smokers, you know?”
Just how responsible are fans and viewers of football for the well-being of the people playing it?Read more
East Side Catholic, widely covered on dotCommonweal, made it big today: Front Page treatment by the NYTimes (print edition, January 23, 2013). Top people at the school have bailed. There is concern about future enrollment and current donors (though the story gives no data). The schools contradictory statements and decisions have it in a tangle. The students are in charge. Story here.
Time to close the school down?
Just for fun: the story is by Michael Paulson, once at the Boston Globe where he shut down Cardinal Law.
UPDATE: Given the direction of the discourse here and other relevant posts, perhaps I should have headlined this post: THE TOWEL WILL BE THROWN IN suggesting that the school is unlikely to survive the controversy, having nothing to do with the bishop or the church's teachings, as such, but with the conclusions, economic and political, of the parents of all the students (protestors and non-protestors as well as next year's applicants).
We've posted a few new items in recent days, including the editors on the lifting of economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for the dismantling of its high-level uranium-enrichment programs:
This diplomatic breakthrough is something to be guardedly hopeful about, not to scorn as hawks in Congress and Israeli leaders are doing. In threading this needle, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have shown both a necessary skepticism about Iran’s intentions and a sober understanding of the costs and limitations of military action....
No one thinks a permanent agreement is a foregone conclusion. President Obama gives it a fifty-fifty chance of succeeding. Those opposed to the interim deal believe that the mullahs in Tehran cannot be trusted and that regime change is the only way to ensure that Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons. But if one considers negotiations a naïve gambit, one should be even more skeptical of seeking regime change. Iran lost hundreds of thousands of men in its war with Iraq, a catastrophe that cost half a trillion dollars, yet the regime remained resolute. It has already spent perhaps $100 billion on nuclear development, and endured another $100 billion in losses from sanctions. Obviously, Iran is willing to pay a very high price to exercise its right under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes.
And, if you haven't done so already, see what E. J. Dionne Jr. has to say about the state of "hope and change" as Obama enters his sixth year in office, and take a look at Marc O. DeGirolami's piece on the language of civil benedictions and new legal challenges to legislative prayer.
“Neutrality” is a principle built into the whole idea of the Internet, an almost creed-like notion set out by the pioneers of the technology and devotedly intoned (sometimes proclaimed) by their legions of descendants worldwide. The idea that the smallest, least-followed blog or smallest local-business website should be available as quickly and easily, to any user, as are Google, Amazon, or CNN seems so basic, so true, to our understanding of how online information can be accessed and shared that it would barely dawn on us to consider it another way.
Which is maybe part of the problem. Anyone surprised by the decision Tuesday of a federal appeals court to strike down the concept of “net neutrality” – and many people are – probably thought little or nothing of the FCC’s decision in 2002 to classify the web as an “information” service and not as a telecommunications service like telephone, thus consigning it to a different regulatory category. Phone companies are obligated to place calls between parties without any roadblocks, and the same free and open flow of communications came to be an accepted characteristic of the Internet. For a while, the spirit of neutrality obtained—even to the point of “Net Neutrality” rules being enacted at the federal level in 2010. But the regulatory distinction between utilities and information services, an important one, was always clear to Internet service providers, which have long sought freedom from government limits on how they can use, and make money from, the networks they've built.
Fact is, the service providers are right, at least on the legal point – something the appeal judges were said to have noted somewhat ruefully in their decision (for this reason, the case doesn’t seem likely to go to the Supreme Court). Had the FCC simply categorized web service as a telephone-like utility back in 2002, people might not be so worried about what they woke up to today.
Which is what, exactly?Read more
Just posted to the website, our January 24 issue. Among the highlights: The first part of an exclusive excerpt from Elizabeth A. Johnson’s forthcoming book, Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God Love (subscription required). An excerpt from the excerpt:
“Ask the beasts and they will teach you,” we read in Job (12:7). My new book takes its title from that verse, placing the natural world as envisioned by Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution in conversation with Christian belief in a loving God who creates, redeems, and promises a blessed future for our world. When we ask the animals and plants about their origin and relationship with God, a picture emerges of how they are cherished by divine love prior to, and apart from, the emergence of humanity. The evolution of the human species introduces sin into the world, seen today in our destruction of habitats and the resulting extinction of species. In this context, listening to the beasts fosters a deep ecological ethic as humans aim to replace their domination over nature with mutual regard and responsible care in the community of creation. The goal of this dialogue is to discover how love of the natural world is an intrinsic part of believers’ passion for the living God—to practical and critical effect. In this essay, the first of a two-part series, I hope to make clear how Darwin’s work changed our understanding of nature and humankind’s place in creation.
Also featured in the new issue: Jo McGowan with a personal reflection on moving her aging father into assisted living, Margaret O’Brien Steinfels on the peril of letting an ally determine our foreign policy, and Nick Ripatrazone on a new book of poems from Averill Curdy.
And we’ve also posted E. J. Dionne’s latest column, on the problems New Jersey governor Chris Christie could face with conservatives in the still unfolding “Bridgegate” scandal.
Last fall on this blog I took issue with commenters making spurious cause-and-effect assumptions about a Bill de Blasio mayoralty and spiking crime in New York. (Has the return of police commissioner Bill Bratton – the original architect of the strategies so often linked to falling crime – quelled their fears?) But forget creeping lawlessness for now and consider the snowstorm said to be headed for New York. Predecessors like John Lindsay and Michael Bloomberg infamously incurred the wrath of residents in neighborhoods slow to see a plow – and a day after the new mayor’s inauguration there are numerous articles out there characterizing the storm as an early test. Fail it, the highly conventional wisdom goes, and the de Blasio era will have been defined practically before it’s begun, no matter what might be accomplished in terms of education, poverty, and homelessness.
True, in politics, support can vanish in the time it takes a street to be cleared. But if symbolism is the metric on which to base early impressions, then I’ll go back to the veritable dawn of the new mayor’s term: Wednesday’s inaugural ceremony, in which Bill Clinton and New York governor Andrew Cuomo played prominent roles. The presence and participation of the Great Triangulators (so dubbed by the New York Times) couldn’t have given hopeful progressives much comfort, the governor’s in particular: Cuomo has shown zero interest in imposing the tax increase on wealthy earners de Blasio needs to fund universal pre-K, is intent on rolling back real-estate taxes statewide, and has been a noticeable no-show on the closures of neighborhood hospitals over which the state has control -- an issue de Blasio seized on last summer to help spur his lift in the polls.
As symbolism goes, it may not be as telling (or troubling) as the questionable decisionmaking of New York’s new public advocate in bringing to the podium Dasani Coates-- subject of a recent multi-part story in the Times, which Mollie wrote about here – and hailing her as “my new BFF.” But if people are putting stock in appearances, then it’s the presence of Clinton and Cuomo on the steps of City Hall that may say more about what to expect realistically from a “progressive” de Blasio administration than his Tale of Two Cities trope or how fast he gets the plows rolling.
At one minute past midnight tonight, Bill de Blasio will be sworn in as the mayor of New York (and will be sworn in again by Bill Clinton at noon on Wednesday, at the public ceremony). Featured now on the website is a piece from Paul Moses on what a de Blasio mayoralty means not just for New York but for the nation, and on why voters -- after selecting pro-business candidates running on the Republican line for the past twenty years -- "this time chose a mayor who finds his inspiration in liberation theology—and by a 3-to-1 margin, at that."
It’s a dramatic change in direction, and “Bloomberg fatigue” is sometimes a coded way of minimizing its significance. It implies that the public’s desire for change sprang from attention deficit rather than any shortcomings on the part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. ... Please, let’s give New Yorkers some credit for recognizing what their own interests are. De Blasio won because he appealed to the many people who had come to feel alienated in their own city. Voters were given very clear choices on issues at the core of local governance—how to run the police department and schools, and whom to tax—and roundly rejected the Bloomberg approach.
The result is likely to resonate across the country. Any mayor of New York quickly becomes a national figure, and the Big Apple’s experience has been influential nationally on matters such as policing, housing, health policy, and education.
You can read the whole thing here.
In a year that saw a papal resignation (and consequent conclave) and the public embrace of the new pope, it's not surprising that among our most-read articles and blog posts of 2013 are items on these stories, such as our exclusive interview with Francis. But readers also responded to stories on same-sex marriage, public-education reform, and the relationship among work, material necessities, and "the good life." Below are the top ten stories from Commonweal and blog posts from dotCommonweal this year. As this is simply a data-generated tally, are there other stories and posts from 2013 not represented here that are nonetheless worth a mention? Any particular favorites - or further thoughts?
“The Things We Share,” Joseph Bottum
“Less Please: Capitalism & the Good Life,” Gary Gutting
“Beyond the Stalemate: Forty Years after Roe,” Peter Steinfels
“Reform of the Reform,” Jackson Lears
“Regime Change: Benedict & His Successor,” William L. Portier
“Historical Amnesia: When Catholic Leaders Misread the Past,” Nicholas Clifford
Top blog posts
“NYT’s ironic fact-check error,” Michael Peppard
“Archdiocese of Wobegon,” Grant Gallicho
“Washing feet,” Rita Ferrone
“Apostolic Nuncio to USCCB: Be pastoral, not ideological,” Grant Gallicho
“Interregnum report, March 6,” Dominic Preziosi
“The conclave bird: a distinctively Roman omen,” Michael Peppard
“When ‘allegedly prolife’ groups attack,” Grant Gallicho
“Pontifex legibus solutus?” Joseph A. Komonchak
I don't think Pope Francis will have the answer. But who knows...maybe he does.
Question: What has happened to pot holders? You know those square (sometimes rectangle), thick, easily manipulated things that sat by the stove and permitted hot pots to be moved. I have conducted a wide search for someone who asked for them for Christmas. Pot holders are now mostly silicone, wormy things that are hard to hold and to grasp a pot with. Or they are flimsey decorative pieces of cloth sewn together.
Have I missed a recall? New safety whatsies? Anyone know?
And what about the candy cane situation... None to be had! Gone the way of real jelly beans.
Two new items featured on the homepage today. First, the editors on working for less than a living wage:
Contrary to popular misconceptions nourished by some in the media, most of the low-wage workers who would benefit from a higher minimum wage are not teenagers earning a little pocket money and learning some basic job skills. More than 90 percent of them are adults and almost a third are parents. The federal government spends around $7 billion a year on public assistance just for the families of fast-food workers. If conservative lawmakers are serious about streamlining entitlement programs and promoting self-reliance, they should be lining up behind proposals to raise the minimum wage.
So why aren’t they? It isn’t for lack of public support. A large majority of voters from both parties are in favor of raising the minimum wage. Whatever their opinions about welfare, most Americans agree with Adam Smith that those who work for a living should actually make one. Opponents of a higher minimum wage say it will only hurt the poor by reducing the number of jobs: when labor costs are higher, they warn, employers will hire fewer workers. This argument has a certain intuitive force, but several recent studies suggest that modest minimum-wage increases have no significant effect on employment levels. Lobbyists for retailers and fast-food restaurants also argue that higher wages will drive up business costs, which will be passed along to consumers as higher prices. But research suggests that a $10.10 minimum wage would add only a few pennies to the price of a hamburger. The lobbyists don’t mention that the big corporations they represent could also absorb some of the higher labor costs by accepting lower profit margins.
Read the whole thing here.
Also, Cathleen Kaveny looks deeper into the ACLU's complaint against the USCCB in the case of Tamesha Means, who allegedly received medically negligent treatment in the course of her pregnancy and miscarriage at a Catholic health facility:
The alleged negligent act: promulgating the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.
According to the complaint, the USCCB is responsible because it “directed the course of care Plaintiff received.” ... According to the plaintiff, Directive 27 does not require Catholic hospitals to disclose the option of a “previability pregnancy termination,” because (she claims) the church does not see it as morally legitimate. The plaintiff also blames Directive 45, which prohibits abortion. That directive reads: “Every procedure whose sole immediate effect is the termination of pregnancy before viability is an abortion, which, in its moral context, includes the interval between conception and implantation of the embryo.” The plaintiff contends that Directive 45 prevented [the hospital] from either completing the miscarriage or referring her to a place that would do so.
But has Means identified the right defendants? Contrary to popular belief, the USCCB does not have the power to tell individual bishops—or Catholic health-care systems—what to do and what not to do.
Read the whole thing here.
There ought to be a word – something not quite the same as gratitude – for that tingling feeling inspired by a Ross Douthat column noting a tilt toward conservatism by people who by all accounts should be liberals, especially one that uses a fictional character from a novel by a New York literary darling to make its point. Because as Douthat helpfully confirms, things are more complicated for liberals than they might have thought, especially when it comes to raising daughters.
Don’t I know it! As the father of a girl and a parent whose adult social set overlaps with the un- and never-married, plus the divorced and remarried, plus the spouseless adoptive-parent, plus the same-sex unmarried with children, plus the mixed-race couple with dogs, not to mention the two-parent (one woman, one man) married, my own uncomfortable reckoning arises from contemplation of my daughter’s future happiness, and a young male – all right, a boy – named Dexter P.
This character, Dex to his friends, doesn’t technically exist; he’s a composite of several of the boys in my daughter’s fifth-grade class at her Brooklynite elementary school. But his type exists, in more or less the same form, wherever ten-year-olds congregate and socialize (in playground and lunch room) or pair off (as math and reading buddies). Not the worst kid, by any means: Dex is no bully, and he doesn’t wipe his nose on his sleeve as much as he did even last May. He’s attentive, after a fashion, and mildly artistic, judging from the cover of his report on westward expansion. But he can be a source of irritation, if not exactly misery, especially for the girls whose section of the coat closet he shares. He doesn’t mean to make them unhappy; he even seems to try to please them, in his way, which is the way of so many spirited young boys – swiping their pencils when they’re not looking, for instance, or falling out of his chair on purpose or fake-belching. Yet what he ends up doing, in spite of himself, is provoking their displeasure.
He does so by attempting to operate within an educational and cultural landscape in which biology hasn’t changed, yet expectations – and maybe even abilities? -- have been decoupled from gender. Dexter P. does what seems like the right thing: Round this number up to the nearest tenth, he might suggest to my daughter during an in-class session on decimals, even going so far as to helpfully if mistakenly erase her correct answer. Or he might snatch her saxophone case and start to haul it up the four flights to the classroom only to abandon it somewhere on the stairwell between the second and third floors because it’s too heavy for him. Indeed, these acts, well-intentioned as they are, seem to be the hidden taproots of the typical fifth-grade female’s academic and social angst, and one of the plausible explanations for her increased sullenness and a noticeable uptick in back-sass in the hours immediately after school.
One obvious solution to the Dexter P. problem is a culture that downplays the abilities of girls so that boys can continue to receive the attention and validation they want and need from them. To the extent that parents tend to see the next generation’s world through their children’s eyes, that’s an insight more immediately available through daughters than through sons – especially since girls retain the mysterious power to shape future-men. For example, must my daughter (or anyone’s) continue to outperform Dex in math? How will she ever graciously cede oversight of the household checking account – to say nothing of finding happiness in a household in the first place – if she persists in doing better on her assignments? Or, why can’t she switch to a lighter, more feminine instrument like flute or clarinet, thus giving Dexter P. the chance to realize the fruits of his chivalrous offer to carry her instrument up the stairs for her – and in the process allow him to re-establish, firmly, the behavioral norms inhering in the physical differences between male and female?
No matter what studies or Ross Douthat say about the likelihood of turning into a social conservative, now that I’ve begun to flirt with this insight—though I’ll admit a formal engagement may still be some ways off—I’ve tiptoed a little closer to a kind of moral traditionalism that dare not speak its name (cough! – male chauvinism – cough!). Next up: getting my wife and daughter out of Brooklyn, for their own good of course. Can’t wait for Douthat’s next column!
It's hard to believe that question is still being debated, isn't it? For over 100 years, the definitive answer is No. Pope after pope after pope, right up to Benedict XVI, has explained this in the most magisterial ways.
But perhaps it has taken Pope Francis's singular history, style, and gift for communication to break through the noise of American-style capitalism. Or perhaps the underbelly of globalization has finally come to light, through a combination of the explosion of financial capital, the worldwide recession, and the opportunities afforded by the Information Age for learning about the distant effects of almost-unregulated markets.
Whatever the reason, Pope Francis is getting through. He is obviously not a Marxist or socialist. But he is leveling strong critiques of the current state of global capitalism -- as it is actually being employed. And to my mind, one of the best interpreters of his message (especially for those reading from the right-wing) has been Michael Gerson.Read more
We’ve just posted the latest issue to the homepage, and here are some of the highlights:
- J. Peter Nixon writes there’s still reason to be optimistic about Obamacare – but that “to understand why, it helps to know a few details about the law.”
- David Cloutier writes on how luxury compromises Christian witness: “If many Catholics are more willing to admire someone like Dorothy Day than to follow her example, that is also partly because many of us have adapted to our country’s consumer culture—a culture in which affluence is morally innocent or even commendable.”
- John Garvey on the importance of vows – and “the difference vows can make in a culture where many expect them to be broken” [subscription].
See the full table of contents for the December 20 issue right here.
Also featured today, E. J. Dionne Jr. on the return of the working-class hero: “For the first time in a long time, working people are making their way back into the news.” Read the whole column here.
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