Reimagining American Community
Apr
16

The perpendicular politics of China

Western politics is no stranger to the idea of the sexually-libertine, secularist free-market libertarian, so the Chinese ‘right’ is not something which will take many in the West by surprise. But the idea of a socialism which is also socially-conservative (in spite of the efforts of
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Apr
08

Incarnational Action and the Great Divide

Francis’ first acts as pontiff evoke for me what I describe as the preferential option for the poor as the incarnational principle of Divine love. That is, the option for the poor is that Christian principle by which we seek to concretely imitate God’s act of becoming incarnate in our
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Apr
07

The promises and limitations of ‘gross national happiness’

Some critics of ‘gross national happiness’, like The New Republic’s Deirdre McCloskey, argue that the concept is unscientific. To a certain extent, this is true; many of the indicators which go into the index – but certainly not all! – are qualitative rather than quantitative.
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Mar
02

Star Trek, modern conflict and propaganda

I’ve half-seriously proposed that the original run of Star Trek ought to be required viewing for all American policymakers. But it is sadly somewhat fashionable nowadays in American media and pop culture, particularly that surrounding science-fictional works and space dramas, to rag o
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Feb
19

The selective apophasis of the Acton Institute

One of the great strengths and treasures of the Orthodox Christian theological tradition is its emphasis on apophatic or negative theology: that is, the theology of not affirming something definite about God, so as not to limit God to a particular human-made conception of His ineffabl
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Feb
16

The first Christian film I ever saw

Warning: Mild spoilers below. I also feel compelled to state that this movie is rated R, and for good reason. That is to say, I’m not encouraging anyone to watch this movie with their children, for the same reason that I wouldn’t encourage anyone to watch Christ being cruc
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Feb
13

Pop Culture and Total War

It would seem that life now resembles that of Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. As Jeffrey Hunter has hinted in his comments about American Psycho, Capitalism has woven a layer of viciousness into a social fabric defined by the consumption of commodities. Capitalism's mix of the pro
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Feb
12

The Acton Institute’s Worrisome Interest

Orthodox believers in the West are faced with a choice, in how we deal with the broader society. Ultimately, that choice boils down to the one explicated in the debates between Dr. Vigen Guroian and Fr. Stanley Harakas. In cases where the secular authority of the state does not sympat
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Jan
19

Fei Xiaotong’s “distributism with Chinese characteristics”

At the strong encouragement of my remarkably intuitive, loving and peerless wife Jessie, I undertook to read this past week From the Soil: the Foundations of Chinese Society (鄉土中國) by Fei Xiaotong, who is rightly credited as the father of Chinese sociology. Though he was born in Suzho
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Jan
16

How to Keep the Garden Open

...Thanks to the violin and our excursions with the children around the district, it also became a school on the beauty of music and art, on trees and plants, on the unexplored history of our district. And on architecture and town planning - we began for example to understand how craf
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Jan
07

The Cataclysm of the Incarnation

On this day (the sixth of January), the Orthodox Christians in Russia, in the Ukraine, in the Caucasus, in the Levant and in East Africa celebrate the Eve of the Nativity, and Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians in the rest of the world celebrate the Feast of Theophany. Both feasts
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Jan
06

Who Owns the Neighborhood? (A Letter from Florence Italy)

Under the "tabernacoli", the images of the Virgin which are to be found at every corner of this district, with its complicated tradition of Catholicism, Anarchism and Communism, or more simply, being different, free and a good deal poorer. Florence is a city where "tradition" is th
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