martes, 20 de junio de 2017

If Moscow is not bluffing, we could be headed for real trouble in Syria.

Is American Childhood Creating an Authoritarian Society?

By Pratik Chougule

Overprotective parenting is a threat to democracy.

Troops Now, Strategy Later?

By Christopher Layne

The U.S. has exhausted its strategic options in Afghanistan.

After the ISIS War, a US-Russia Collision?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

If Moscow is not bluffing, we could be headed for real trouble in Syria.

How a British Minority Government Can Unite Three Kingdoms

By Crawford Gribben

The social values of multiple political cultures in the UK are increasingly incompatible.

lunes, 19 de junio de 2017

A reflection on Solzhenitsyn and what was thought to be the post Marxist world

The World We Think In and the Drama of Existence

by Fr. James V. Schall, S.J.

"This is why we are engaged in a drama of which we are not the source, and we sense the importance of responding rightly to the pull of Being. What is at stake far transcends any immanent good. It is nothing less than the loss of our participation in Being. The soul of man is, as Dostoevsky noted, a battlefield in which God and the devil are contending. Our decisions are of surpassing significance because they carry a dimension that endures beyond the universe itself. This is the drama of existence that is glimpsed by the Greek discovery of Being, but that reaches its full transparence only in Christ." -- David Walsh, The Third Millennium [1]

"Indeed, there is hardly a 'world' or an 'age' at all when we see that each individual exists within an eternal scale of measurement that utterly outweighs any finite calculation." -- David Walsh, The Modern Philosophical Revolution [2]


David Walsh's brilliant new book, The Modern Philosophical Revolution, is the third part of a trilogy of deeply reflective books on the very nature of philosophy and its too often unrecognized and delicate relation to revelation. The first two books were After Ideology: Recovering the Spiritual Foundations[3] and The Growth of the Liberal Soul. [4]

The first book was basically a reflection on Solzhenitsyn and what was thought to be the post Marxist world. It may not be as "post" as at first we thought it was. The book's thesis was simply that the modern intellectual fascination with ideology could only be seen for the aberration it was when someone actually suffered its lies. It was Solzhenitsyn's imprisonment under its total power than made him realize the emptiness of the ideology and its animosity to human life itself.

The second volume on liberalism sought to determine whether there was left any of the initial liberal concern with human dignity that was found in early modernism, itself reminiscent of the great medieval understanding of the scope of human nature. Though modern liberalism has fallen far away from its original concern with what is right everywhere, Walsh found that some glimmer of the tradition was left of a notion of right or rightness. This sense of what is right went back to a standard and not just to a will that could be otherwise. Even though modern liberalism has in most ways become a voluntarism without norms, still its rhetoric reflects a tradition of abiding standards of human good.

Walsh has long been a student of the German philosopher Eric Voegelin. In one sense, though he does not directly address himself to Voegelin in this book, Walsh's trilogy is a completion of and—in some ways—a corrective of Voegelin's project of "order and history." Voegelin's project itself often seemed to drift off into an anti-dogmatic universalism, even though Christian revelation had a key place in Voegelin's thought. With Leo Strauss, Voegelin was largely responsible for re-introducing genuine political philosophy back into academic discourse. Voegelin did think that Christians confused "doctrine" about God with the reality of God. The effort to make true statements of God, however, was never intended to identify God with the statements. But the human being does seek to state what he does know of God without identifying God with the statement.

Walsh's trilogy, I think, is much more obviously sympathetic to the orthodox position. At the same time, Walsh reminds us that we are ourselves within Being. None of us stands outside it in some ideological thought-world. The thinking being already participates in what is. Walsh reminds the reader constantly that he, the reader, is within being as it goes on. He is himself not outside of being, nor is his thought apart from the reality about which it thinks or knows. Knowing is itself a form of being. Walsh does not allow the thinker to assume that he is somehow superior to the being he finds himself already involved in because he already exists. The search for the "ground" of being is in every soul. It arises from within its own experience. It is not apart from what keeps being in being in the first place. If we already are, we do not need to look further for what is.


Walsh is a professor in the Department of Politics at the Catholic University of America. He is an Irishman by birth. Walsh has been a good friend over the years. He is a man whose work I have admired, but it is only with this last work on the "luminosity of existence" that I have fully realized what he has been up to. It proves that we do not always know our friends even when we know them. His project, if I dare use that word, is nothing short of reconfiguring the modern mind towards the existence from which it has, on first glance, so much departed. The mind itself exists in the being that exists. Its activity itself is an activity of being. To know is to be. Indeed in the case of human beings, it is to be more than the bare existence it begins with.

We have long been accustomed to divide intellectual history into classical, medieval, and modern periods, each with its own intelligibility. Modernity was conceived to be a cutting off of all Christian roots within philosophy. And modern philosophy separated itself from existing things. Being was replaced by a consciousness that had, so it thought, no external object. Man replaced God as the object and source of human happiness. This was the "modern project." Man was also the provider of intelligibility to himself and to the cosmos, now conceived to be empty of any internal or transcendent meaning.

Modern man was freed from the legacy of Greek metaphysics and Christian revelation, neither of which had placed man in the position of the cause of things. Walsh has taken another look at modern thought. He has concluded, after much careful and detailed study of the authors, that, in spite of its apparent breaking away from its intellectual past, what modern thought, at its best, was really about is a continued search for the meaning of our existence. This search appeared within the presence of, as he calls it in a happy phrase, the "luminosity of being." This light has its source as a reflection of the divine Being.

Modern thought, both in its socialist and liberal varieties, when translated into the political arena, logically lead to tyranny and totalitarianism. Shrewd modern political ideologues, politicians, and tyrants, most of whom were trained in this very philosophy, thought they were curing the well-known ills of mankind. The first step in this "curing" was to reject virtue and grace and replace them by the universal ideology either forced or elected into political existence. The arena of modern politics has been at bottom eschatological, not political. It was not concerned with man's temporal life but with the ultimate status of his being, a new way to achieve happiness.

Essentially, Walsh argues that this totalitarian turn, whether Marxist or liberal, was an enormous misreading of modern thought, though an understandable one. In one sense, as he traces the lines of argument from Kant on, Walsh considers that these thinkers themselves did not know where their thought led. But they all in the core of their arguments were searching for being, its meaning and reality. Walsh does not much deal with the pre-Kantians in this volume. By beginning with Kant, however, he starts with a philosopher/theologian who recognizes the seriousness of the loss of being and seeks a way to return to it. Kant's noumenon and phenomenon could not be kept separated. Reality had at least to be postulated if it could not be met in any other way.

As I have pointed out before on Ignatius Insight, one of the most important philosophy books of our time was also recently published by Cambridge University Press by a professor at the Catholic University of America. This book was Msgr. Robert Sokolowski's The Phenomenology of the Human Person. Sokolowski's book is simply the best book on what it is to philosophize about reality and its meaning.

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In one volume, a rich and representative selection of Solzhenitsyn's voluminous works

The Solzhenitsyn Reader: New and Essential Writings
, 1947-2005 

by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Author), Edward E. Ericson Jr. (Editor), Daniel J. Mahoney (Editor)

This reader, compiled by renowned Solzhenitsyn scholars Edward E. Ericson, Jr., and Daniel J. Mahoney in collaboration with the Solzhenitsyn family, provides in one volume a rich and representative selection of Solzhenitsyn's voluminous works. 

Reproduced in their entirety are early poems, early and late short stories, early and late "miniatures" (or prose poems), and many of Solzhenitsyn’s famous—and not-so-famous—essays and speeches. 

The volume also includes excerpts from Solzhenitsyn's great novels, memoirs, books of political analysis and historical scholarship, and the literary and historical masterpieces The Gulag Archipelago andThe Red Wheel. 

More than one-quarter of the material has never before appeared in English (the author’s sons prepared many of the new translations themselves).

The Solzhenitsyn Reader reveals a writer of genius, an intransigent opponent of ideological tyranny and moral relativism, and a thinker and moral witness who is acutely sensitive to the great drama of good and evil that takes place within every human soul. It will be for many years the definitive Solzhenitsyn collection.

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Good news: The Red Wheel -Solzhenitsyn’s magnum opus about the Russian Revolution- published in english

March 1917

The Red Wheel, Node III, Book 1

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Translated by Marian Schwartz


To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, the University of Notre Dame Press is proud to publish Nobel Prize–winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s epic work March 1917, Node III, Book 1, of The Red Wheel.
The Red Wheel is Solzhenitsyn’s magnum opus about the Russian Revolution. Solzhenitsyn tells this story in the form of a meticulously researched historical novel, supplemented by newspaper headlines of the day, fragments of street action, cinematic screenplay, and historical overview. The first two nodes— August 1914 and November 1916—focus on Russia’s crises and recovery, on revolutionary terrorism and its suppression, on the missed opportunity of Pyotr Stolypin’s reforms, and how the surge of patriotism in August 1914 soured as Russia bled in World War I.
March 1917—the third node—tells the story of the Russian Revolution itself, during which not only does the Imperial government melt in the face of the mob, but the leaders of the opposition prove utterly incapable of controlling the course of events. The action of book 1 (of four) of March 1917 is set during March 8–12. The absorbing narrative tells the stories of more than fifty characters during the days when the Russian Empire begins to crumble. Bread riots in the capital, Petrograd, go unchecked at first, and the police are beaten and killed by mobs. Efforts to put down the violence using the army trigger a mutiny in the numerous reserve regiments housed in the city, who kill their officers and rampage. The anti-Tsarist bourgeois opposition, horrified by the violence, scrambles to declare that it is provisionally taking power, while socialists immediately create a Soviet alternative to undermine it. Meanwhile, Emperor Nikolai II is away at military headquarters and his wife Aleksandra is isolated outside Petrograd, caring for their sick children. Suddenly, the viability of the Russian state itself is called into question.
The Red Wheel has been compared to Tolstoy’s War and Peace, for each work aims to narrate the story of an era in a way that elevates its universal significance. In much the same way as Homer’s Iliad became the representative account of the Greek world and therefore the basis for Greek civilization, these historical epics perform a parallel role for our modern world.
“As the great Solzhenitsyn scholar Georges Nivat has written, Solzhenitsyn is the author of two great ‘literary cathedrals,’ The Gulag Archipelago and The Red Wheel. The first is the definitive exposé of ideological despotism and all of its murderous works. The Red Wheel is the definitive account of how the forces of revolutionary nihilism came to triumph in the first place. It is a sprawling and fascinating mix of philosophical and moral discernment, literary inventiveness, and historical insight that sometimes strains the novelistic form, but is also one of the great works of moral and political instruction of the twentieth century.” — Daniel J. Mahoney, co-editor of The Solzhenitsyn Reader: New and Essential Writings
The Red Wheel, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s epic of World War I and the Russian revolution, belongs to the Russian tradition of vast, densely plotted novels of love and war set during a time of social upheaval. An extended act of author-to-nation communication, this multivolume saga poses the question, ‘Where did we go wrong?’ and answers it in human and political terms, but with a mystical twist that is unlike anything else in Solzhenitsyn. This translation beautifully conveys the distinctive flavor of Solzhenitsyn’s prose, with its preternatural concreteness of description, moments of surreal estrangement, and meticulous detailing of the nuances of human relationships in the shadow of encroaching chaos. The novel’s reliable, unreliable, and even mendacious character voices, its streams-of-consciousness, and its experimental flourishes possess the same vividness and freshness as they do in Russian. ThinkAnna Karenina and Doctor Zhivago, with Dostoevsky’s Demons thrown in for good measure.” — Richard Tempest, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
“There is no doubt that The Red Wheel is one of the masterpieces of world literature, made all the more precious by its relevance to the tragic era through which contemporary history has passed. Moreover, the impulse of revolutionary and apocalyptic violence associated with the age of ideology has still not ebbed. We remain confronted by the fragility of historical existence, in which it is possible for whole societies to choose death rather than life. To have the University of Notre Dame Press become the publisher of the greatest historical-literary analysis of the revolutionary upheaval is a signal development.” — David Walsh, Catholic University of America
“In his ambitious multivolume work The Red Wheel (Krasnoe Koleso), Solzhenitsyn strove to give a partly historical and partly literary picture of the revolutionary year 1917. Several of these volumes have been translated into English, but the present volume appears in English for the first time. The translation is very well done and ought to give the reader a better understanding of the highly complex events that shook Russia exactly a century ago.”Richard Pipes, emeritus, Harvard University
ISBN: 978-0-268-10265-4 
672 pages 
Publication Year: 2017

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sábado, 17 de junio de 2017

Christianity's positive role in the formation of Western civilisation.

Evolution of the West: the complex relationship between Christianity and modernity

by Matthew J. Franck

Notwithstanding the unevenness observed, The Evolution of the West is a thoughtful and provocative work. 

As I was finishing Nick Spencer’s The Evolution of the West, I happened to be in the same room with my mother on a Sunday afternoon. We’ve often exchanged books, so she asked what I was reading, and I showed her the cover, reading the subtitle to her, How Christianity Has Shaped Our Values. “Oh,” she said, “I always assumed that was true—that Christianity shaped how we think.” Mom is well into her ninth decade now. In her generation, Christianity’s fundamental and positive role in forming the thought and culture of western civilization was obvious to anyone. It no longer is. Spencer, the research director of Theos, a Christian think tank in the UK, has set himself the task of restoring an embattled perspective on western thought, society, and politics. The Evolution of the West, a collection of a dozen essays, can best be understood as a primer—a brief, accessible introduction to a very large subject, which succeeds on its own merit but also encourages the more curious reader to turn next to many more challenging scholarly works on which Spencer relies.

Why Christianity’s role in shaping the West should be in need of vindication is itself an interesting tale. In secularist circles, from the eighteenth-century Roman historian Edward Gibbon to the most recent popularizers of the “New Atheism,” it has long been axiomatic that everything praiseworthy in western societies was achieved by overcoming and displacing the legacy of Christianity. Equality, freedom, democracy, the rule of law, human rights, modern science and its fruits—all of these are viewed as luminous achievements brought about by an escape from the stultifying, superstitious shadows of the Christian religion. This view does not withstand serious historical scrutiny. Indeed, after reading this book, there are two things one can no longer credit. The first, which Spencer explicitly debunks, is that modernity’s highest achievements owe nothing to Christianity and everything to secularism. The second, the untenability of which he pauses repeatedly to underscore, is that everything that is good about modernity is due to Christianity in some unambiguous or univocal way. The matter is more complicated than that.


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Osservatorio Gender - ultime notizie


MateraFriendly: Matera capitale europea 2019 della cultura…LGBT+

Fare di Matera, capitale europea della cultura per il 2019, una città in cui ogni tendenza sessuale è benvoluta ed assolutamente "normale". Questo in sintesi l'obiettivo del progetto "MateraFriendly", presentato con tutti gli onori venerdì 16 giugno 2017 presso la Sala Mandela del comune della Basilicata noto come la "Città dei Sassi".  
La Spezia: inaugura lo sportello LGBT+ con i soldi del Comune
Continuano a fiorire, su tutto il territorio nazionale, gli sportelli LGBT+ che, presentati come "lodevoli" luoghi di ascolto e supporto per le persone lesbo, bisex, gay e trans, nei fatti si traducono i veri e propri centri di propaganda del "verbo omosessualista".  
Una Madonna "drag queen" per promuovere il "Perugia Pride Village"
La Madonna nelle vesti di una provocante "Drag Queen", questa la, a dir poco, offensiva, "trovata" pubblicitaria scelta dal Perugia Pride Village che si svolgerà nel capoluogo umbro da venerdì a domenica 25 giugno.  
Gender diktat: annullato il concerto di Sizzla
Gender diktat: annullato il concerto di Sizzla
L'ultima vittima del gender diktat è il cantante giamaicano Sizzla. L'unica data italiana, nonché europea, prevista a Roma presso l'Ex Dogana per il prossimo 2 luglio, è stata infatti clamorosamente cancellata in seguito alle fortissime pressioni del "Roma Pride" contro l' "inaccettabile" presenza del "cantante rasta" reo di "omofobia".  


Once upon a time, there was a land in of pure and perfect proportion.

Teaching Truth-and Goodness and Beauty
by Lindsey Brigham

Once upon a time, there was a land in of pure and perfect proportion. Unlike our cities, in which highways and buildings and rivers and trees often tumble over one another in unsightly haphazardom, this land boasted hill folding into hill, building rising from building, and streets and rivers flowing in elegant curves, wherever the eye could see. But, strangely, this graceful land lacked any trace of color, sound, or scent; no music, no laughter, no gardens, no paintings, no feasts filled its symmetric architecture. Would such a land be habitable?

Classical curriculums, or perhaps the communities that use them, often emphasize classical education’s effectiveness in teaching truth. Logic programs are presented as apologetics courses or as intellectual armor against future erroneous professors; rhetoric programs become classical-styled Evangelism Explosion classes, designed to get the gospel truth out as efficiently as possible. Philosophy classes pit true and false worldviews against one another, and history curricula advertise their intent to tell thefull story, what really happened, unlike public school textbooks that water down, excerpt, or otherwise rewrite the record. As one popular textbook’s title affirms, classical education aims to give students the “total truth.”

But to teach truth alone is to usher students into a world of firm foundations, pure proportion, and stately symmetry with no color or sound or scent—the world of the fable above. This world lacks all that makes the truth homey and habitable, lovely and lovable; little wonder that students tire of it, poke fun at it, seek to move out of it. It cannot be home for their souls, for it lacks goodness and beauty.

Contrast this with the original “classical education” of the medieval university. For the medievals, the trivium and quadrivium of the curriculum reflected the order and harmony of the universe itself, with all its singing spheres, and this in turn reflected the order and harmony of the nature of God. Their writings exude a passionate conviction, not only of the truth of these ideas, but also of their beauty; and, paradoxically, it is the beauty that still captivates modern readers for whom the Ptolemaic system is not the best expression of truth. Think even of their gorgeously illuminated texts, and the witness they are to the conviction of truth's beauty.

By contrast, I have seen my students struggle to feel the conviction of beauty in their beliefs, especially over time. Though their initial encounter with worldview, logic, apologetics, and such studies often excites them tremendously, by junior and senior year, or later in college or life, this zeal often cools into a polite respect or even a slight embarrassment. I notice it occasionally in literature class when our discussion builds towards recognizing Christ and Christianity as the resolution of a dilemma—Trinitarian providence as the resolution to the problem of Oedipean fate, or Jesus’ resurrection as the resolution to all the incomplete “resurrections” in Tale of Two Cities. Not all the time, but sometimes, students feel sheepish about what they perceive as a true but trite “Sunday school answer” rather than as a true and beautiful fulfillment. They don’t question the truth that, as they’d say, “Jesus is the answer”; but they doubt the beauty of it. And I fear that, someday, that doubt will erode their belief in the truth, as well.

Thus, a great challenge and joy of classical pedagogy is the striving to orient our teaching around all three transcendentals—truth and goodness andbeauty—daily discovering the ways that they ground and enrich one another, while arousing and directing our desires.


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