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Category: Civil Society

A Syllabus of System Failures

This article appeared at Aleteia Several years ago, I stood in line at a Hertz rental counter and pondered the breakdown of complex systems. I had just flown into an airport that serves a large, southeastern American city. It was midday, and the line at Hertz wasn’t particularly long; when I got there I was [...]

Lead Us Not Into Default … Or Austerity

This was first published at Aleteia The partial government shutdown that kicked off on October 1 has been dominating the news lately, but an even greater crisis looms beginning October 17. That’s the date on which the federal government is expected to reach what’s known as the debt ceiling – the upper limit of what [...]

Whither Obamacare? A Catholic Take on the Affordable Care Act

This appeared at Aleteia Recent national polls suggest that the American people continue to be deeply divided over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as “Obamacare,” which will pass a significant milestone this week with the opening of state-based health care insurance exchanges. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted in [...]

Zimmerman: The Right Legal Verdict, But Was Justice Served?

This piece appeared at Aleteia What are we to make of the trial of George Zimmerman, accused and declared not guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin early last year? In the aftermath of the jury’s verdict, two camps seem to have formed. One views the acquittal as an [...]

Why Liberal Arts Education is Dying (or Already Dead)

This originally appeared at Aleteia Here’s something to ponder: If you put one hundred American high school seniors together in a room, how many do you suppose could tell you who Pericles was? How about Cicero? Which of those students could describe the Pythagorean theorem or even fix the branch of mathematics to which it [...]

‘Permaterns’ And the Waning of Civil Society

This piece originally appeared at Aleteia While the United States continues to struggle toward economic recovery, the impact of the sluggish job market on recent college graduates is especially troubling. Last year, the Associated Press estimated that more than half of college graduates aged 25 and under were either unemployed or underemployed, and that many [...]

Christopher Dorner: When Pride Consumes the Soul

This piece originally appeared at Aleteia. Christopher Dorner’s reign of terror came to a fiery end last evening in Big Bear, Calif., east of Los Angeles. For two weeks, Dorner, a 33 year-old former Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer, had conducted a private war against his erstwhile colleagues, killing four people and attracting national [...]

Boxed In

This piece originally appeared at Solidarity Hall. A few years ago, my wife and I were assigned a case through our local conference of the Society of St. Vincent DePaul. It involved a family – Dave, his girlfriend Ellen and their three small children* – who had fallen behind on their rent and electricity bill. [...]

Between State and Market: Robert Nisbet’s “Quest”

 This piece originally appeared at Solidarity Hall. 2013 marks the 60th anniversary of the publication of Robert Nisbet’s landmark book, The Quest for Community: A Study in the Ethics of Order and Freedom. Over the years, Nisbet has sometimes been cited as a father of postwar American conservatism, and The Quest for Community hailed as [...]

Are American Taxpayers Underwriting Israeli Abortions?

This piece is from Aleteia On December 30, the State of Israel announced that beginning in 2014, the government would pay for pay for all abortions performed on women between the ages of 20 and 33, without exception and without regard to reason. The Israeli government already provides widespread abortion subsidies to women under 20 and [...]