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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Sat. 05/07/05 08:16:42 AM

Readworthies III

A handful of interesting, informative, and insightful articles.

News, editorials, columns, essays, et al.

Countercultures: Past, Present, and Future by Irving Kristol @ American Enterprise Institute (ht):

The counterculture that emerged in the United States in the 1960s — and pretty much simultaneously in all the Western democracies — is certainly one of the most significant events in the last half-century of Western civilization. It is reshaping our educational systems, our arts, our forms of entertainment, our sexual conventions, our moral codes. So it is important that we understand it. It is not enough for us to criticize it — to point out the fallacies and incoherence of its arguments, the absurdities of its self-righteous dogmatism, the shocking social problems it has either generated or exacerbated, the folly of its presumptions, the shallowness of its pretentious claims. The criticisms are all valid but surprisingly ineffectual. The counterculture seems quite immune to them. This suggests to me that we do not, as yet, have a grip on the phenomenon. We fail to realize that it is always more important to understand why fantastical beliefs are entertained, often by very intelligent people, than simply to refute them.
I do not find much more understanding in the other kinds of literature that have developed around the topic of the counterculture. The apologetic, self-justifying literature, of course, points to the "iniquities" of our society and our civilization, and assumes that further understanding is superfluous. The critical literature of a social-scientific bent is unhelpful since it is obvious that nothing happened to provoke this rebellion — there was no visible crisis, or even any sense of crisis, in the economies, the societies, the politics of the West. The emergence of the counterculture, for example, antedates by several years America's serious involvement in Vietnam, and in any case such a parochial explanation overlooks the international nature of the movement.
I think the place to begin with any understanding of the counterculture is with its self-designation as a "counterculture." We are dealing here with a movement that is against culture. Not a dissenting cultural movement within our culture, not an urge to reform and reshape our culture, but an avowed hostility to "culture" itself — and this on the part of intellectuals, professors, and artists. What can this possibly mean?...

My First Year with the Eucharist by Carolyn Foster @ Adoremus Bulletin (ht):

Not long ago I asked my spiritual director what the difference is between praying in front of the tabernacle and praying at home or while commuting to and from work. She responded with a simple but firm comment on the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and added that some people do like to pray, for example, while walking in nature.
The question was a bit of a formality because the Holy Spirit was already forming the answer in my mind around this time — approximately a year after my baptism into the Catholic Church.
Several times in the past year I had wondered what it would be like to live during the time of Christ. I would think about the earth with His presence on it some 2000 years ago. I imagined myself as a nameless woman in the Gospels who sees Him pass by, or even meets Him.
Recently though, while thinking in this vein, I came to pray in front of the tabernacle, something I'd done only a few times before. Suddenly, I realized that I did not have to daydream about being near Him: I was meeting Him right then and there. Jesus stayed here on earth, truly present in the Eucharist, so that I don't have to fantasize about meeting Him 2000 years ago....

The Wildlife of Planet Cornell by Sara Townsley @ The Cornell Daily Sun (ht):

From Aristotle to Linnaeus to Darwin, naturalists have been fascinated with the organisms that populate their environment. Like the Galapagos Islands, Cornell provides a sheltered habitat to a riotous array of creatures that would surely perish under harsher conditions. I've spent three years cataloging my observations of the vast biodiversity on campus, so here I report a rough taxonomy of the local fauna....
Cornell, in particular, is the most bigoted, ignorant, profligate swamp I've ever had the misfortune to call home. Corporal Hicks (Aliens) might have been speaking of Ithaca when he said: "I say we take off, nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."

When Columnists Cry "Jihad" by John McCandlish Phillips @ The Washington Post (ht):

I have been looking at myself, and millions of my brethren, fellow evangelicals along with traditional Catholics, in a ghastly arcade mirror lately — courtesy of this newspaper and the New York Times. Readers have been assured, among other dreadful things, that we are living in "a theocracy" and that this theocratic federal state has reached the dire level of — hold your breath — a "jihad."
In more than 50 years of direct engagement in and observation of the major news media I have never encountered anything remotely like the fear and loathing lavished on us by opinion mongers in these world-class newspapers in the past 40 days. If I had a $5 bill for every time the word "frightening" and its close lexicographical kin have appeared in the Times and The Post, with an accusatory finger pointed at the Christian right, I could take my stack to the stock market....

Demographics and the Culture War by Stanley Kurtz @ Policy Review (ht):

We moderns have gotten used to the slow, seemingly inexorable dissolution of traditional social forms, the family prominent among them. Yet the ever-decreasing size of the family may soon expose a fundamental contradiction in modernity itself. Fertility rates have been falling throughout the industrialized world for more than 30 years, with implications that are only just now coming into view. Growing population has driven the economy, sustained the welfare state, and shaped modern culture. A declining population could conceivably put the dynamic of modernization into doubt....

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Sat. 05/07/05 08:16:42 AM
Categorized as Readworthies.


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