John Schwenkler

John Schwenkler is an assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy at Florida State University.

By this author

Economic Policy Is Social Policy

Via Rod Dreher, here is a terrific column by First Things editor Rusty Reno, taking on a staff editorial from the Wall Street Journal that criticized Rick Santorum's proposal to expand the tax credit for children as "social policy masquerading as economics".

"Buying the Body of Christ"

Here is an absolutely fascinating, and for me very saddening, article on the economics of the production of altar bread. At stake is the struggle taking place between a Rhode Island company that produces 80% of the communion wafers consumed in the U.S., and a dwindling number of religious communities that still attempt to compete with them. An excerpt:

Michael Dummett, 1925-2011

I have been traveling for the past few days, and am sorry to be slow in noting the death of Michael Dummett, Wykeham Professor of Logic at Oxford from 1979-1992 and undeniably one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century. Dummett was also a faithful Catholic, something I noted back in 2009 when I quoted an excerpt from his conversion story.

Hitchens on Religion: "Somehow if I could drive it out of the world, I wouldn't."

Matthew Boudway points me to a clip from the documentary film Collision, where Christopher Hitchens debates the Presbyterian pastor Douglas Wilson. In it, Hitchens acknowledges the difficulty of the so-called "fine-tuning argument" from the atheist perspective, and then notes an important point of disagreement between himself and Richard Dawkins: if Hitchens were able to rid the world of belief in God entirely, he says, he wouldn't want to do it. He can't really say why, though.

Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011

The public square has a gaping hole this morning, as the brilliant Christopher Hitchens has died.

"Military Metaphysics"

Today is (was?) the 50th anniversary of Dwight D. Eisenhower's Presidential farewell address, in which he coined the famous phrase "military-industrial complex" in warning of the "economic, political, even spiritual" consequences of the "total influence" of America's rapidly growing military establishment and arms industry.

Failing America

Writes Joe Klein, on today's news concerning the black-white achievement gap in reading, where 12% of black fourth-grade boys and 38% of white fourth-grade boys are designated as proficient:

Oh, my - ctd.

I called attention the other day to a couple of startlingly - though by no means atypically - offensive posts by the conservative blogger Jim Hoft, whose blog "Gateway Pundit" has been hosted at First Things for quite some time now. Now comes this comment from Joe Carter, FT's Web editor, explaining that Hoft's blog is about to leave FT's Web site.

Oh, my

The big, bloggy news today concerns a supporter of Rand Paul, the Republican candidate for Kentucky's Senate seat, who reacted badly when a female volunteer went in for a harmless prank. (For the record, I too am a Paul supporter.) Writes the Louisville Courier-Journal (boldface emphasis mine):