My biggest regret isn’t that I didn’t learn Fortran, but that I didn’t study Dante

Quote of the Day for Saturday, January 7th, 2012. Virginia Postrel, posting at Bloomberg yesterday in a piece called How Art History Majors Power the U.S. Economy, on the misguided but largely unexamined tendency of many critics of higher education to apply a supposed realpolitik of utility to the evaluation of programs and curricula, becoming in the process shadows of the smug, short-sighted central planners they typically scorn: The students who come out of school without jobs aren’t, for the most part, starry-eyed liberal arts majors but rather peopl...

It is only human to be exhilarated if one thinks one is riding on the crest of the future.

Quote of the Day for Saturday, January 22nd, 2011: Sociologist Peter L. Berger, concluding his 1970 book, A Rumor of Angels: Modern Society and the Rediscovery of the Supernatural: I would like to emphasize once more that anyone who approaches religion with an interest in its possible truth, rather than in this or that aspect of its social manifestations, would do well to cultivate a measure of indifference in the matter of empirical prognoses. History brings out certain questions of truth, makes certain answers more or less accessible, constructs and ...

Only If Liberty Is Beautiful… Can It Really Be Worth the Courageous Risk of Life

Quote of the Day for Monday, December 6th, 2010: With the Thanksgiving holiday still lingering in the air, I found this excellent article on the continuing value of America’s Puritan forebears over at the always worthwhile First Principles Journal site. Written by Peter Augustine Lawler, it is entitled: Praising the Puritans: Because the Puritan conception of political freedom wasn’t based on the apolitical, selfish, rights-obsessed, and duty negligent Lockean individual, it both not only demanded virtuous civic participation but also connected politica...

A Vicious Conception of the Whole Purpose of Education

Quote of the Day for Tuesday, Nov 23, 2010: An encore: J. Gresham Machen, this time writing in The Presbyterian, February 7, 1918, on the waning of Greek & Hebrew knowledge within the (protestant) ministry of his day (quoted from Dr. Rod Decker’s NT Resources Blog): “The real trouble with the modern exaltation of practical studies at the expense of the humanities is that it is based upon a vicious conception of the whole purpose of education. The modern conception of the purpose of education is that education is merely intended to enable a ma...

Body/Soul Dualism, the Commodification of Man, and the Contradiction of Death

As a rule, I like Jeff Jacoby’s columns, and even agree with him as often as not, but every now and then he comes out with something I find downright unconscionable. His July 5th Boston Globe op-ed promoting the marketing of human organs is an unfortunate example of the latter. With the recent liver transplant of celebrity tech guru Steve Jobs having again roiled the waters of the debate over the “fairness” of our current organ donation system, Jacoby has added his voice to the rising tide of liberal, utilitarian opinion promising free market “solutions”...

Religious Coping Superstitions

A couple weeks ago, I came across an article on Boston.com that really struck me as being foreign to the world I live in. "Patients with strong faith more likely to get aggressive end-of-life care" looked at a Journal of the American Medical Association article that explored the influence of religious faith on end-of-life medical decisions by terminal patients. What startles me in the writing is the apparent assumption that religiosity among these men and women was not something constitutive of them as persons, but a selected process of "c...