Political Saviors & Benevolent Government

Sometimes being a history professor is painful, in the sense that one has such an overview of what has happened before that it becomes painful to watch us repeat the same old follies. I communicate that to history majors with this cartoon: What ancient folly are we currently experiencing? Of course, it’s worked so well wherever it has been tried: And now, in the person of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrats have their new “star.” This happens periodically, whenever either party thinks… Read more »

Something in Us Which Is Not Temporal

Sheldon Vanauken was an American who went to Oxford in the early 1950s to study literature. He considered himself an agnostic. Although C. S. Lewis was not one of his tutors, he happened to read Lewis’s Space Trilogy—Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength. Sensing in Lewis someone he might approach with his religious questions, he began sending him letters. Explaining that he had “embarked” on a “voyage that would someday lead me to God,” he was… Read more »

An Epiphany: I’m a Liberal, Not a Conservative

I received an epiphany a couple of days ago. I discovered that I’m not a conservative, but a liberal. From whence did this epiphany emanate? It was solemnly declared by a certain conservative columnist (who will go unnamed because I don’t wish to focus on individuals but ideas). His column was all about the need to purge everyone from the conservative movement who continues to raise issues about the conduct of Donald Trump. His comments go far beyond mere purging;… Read more »

Learning to Love Learning

There are a number of different critiques of the state of American education. Some are most concerned about the lack of discipline in the schools. Others decry the dumbing down of the standards. They point to the decline in scores on standardized tests such as the SAT. A lot of that decline has been hidden by the trick of “centering” the scores. For instance, a 1200 on the SAT today means a whole lot less than it meant in 1963…. Read more »

John McCain: A Reflection

John McCain died on Saturday evening from an aggressive brain tumor. His death was announced not too long after the family informed the public that he had decided to stop the cancer treatments. McCain, in some ways, was a controversial senator, not always in agreement with the Republican party in which he served. That’s why he earned the nickname of a “maverick.” I have no problem with mavericks as long as they are standing on the principles they espouse and… Read more »

Feel-Good Beliefs vs. Dying to Self

“Christianity asserts that every individual human being is going to live forever, and this must be either true or false,” C. S. Lewis states in Mere Christianity. “Now there are a good many things which would not be worth bothering about if I were going to live only seventy years,” he continues, but concludes, “but which I had better bother about very seriously if I am going to live forever.” The problem is that most people don’t want to think… Read more »

By the Bible or the Bayonet?

Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) was a Dutch lawyer, scholar, theologian, and author. His most noteworthy work, The Law of War and Peace, made him famous as the foremost authority on the law of nations, which we now tend to call international law. There is a statement attributed to Grotius that I wish I could document as actually emanating from him, but I haven’t found the source. I’ve read some of his Law of War and Peace, and the statement certainly sounds… Read more »