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New Oxford Blog

America: History, Culture & Politics

The Myth of Meritocracy

NEW OXFORD NOTEBOOK

Pieter Vree

June 2019

A meritocracy fits America’s sense of itself as free from the class-based social structures that defined the European countries from which our predecessors fled.

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On the Trail of the Jesuit Martyrs of North America & St. Catherine Tekakwitha

PRELUDES & POINTS — PART I

Richard Upsher Smith Jr.

June 2019

Historians have to “get inside” their subjects if they are to understand and represent them well. 2,845 miles' worth of investigations are reported here.

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“Raising Awareness”: Reducing Philanthropy to Vanity

A VERY POST-CHRISTIAN AMERICAN HABIT

Jason M. Morgan

May 2019

There is something very particularly American about "raising awareness": it is democratic, in seeking to sway public opinion; it is optimistic; it is evangelical and yet post-Christian.

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By the Lakes of Babylon

CULTURAL COUNTERPOINT

Jason M. Morgan

March 2019

Fr. Hesburgh proved to be a perfect avatar for the Notre Dame he created: an endorser of some kind of vaguely conceived “natural religion.”

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Finding Security Behind Closed Doors

THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION WAS REALLY ABOUT SELFISHNESS

Jason M. Morgan

December 2018

The sexbot is a tool that uses us and mocks our weakness. It is a vision of Hell: inhuman, ruthless, mendacious, comfortless, and cold.

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I Am Not White

WHAT CONSTITUTES CULTURE ?

Thomas Storck

November 2018

Public discourse remains limited to material concerns, but what really differentiates human beings is culture, which is founded on religion.

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Why American Politics Marginalizes Catholic Voters

SEARCHING FOR A  CATHOLIC THEO-POLITICAL CONSENSUS

Kenneth Colston

October 2018

American Catholics must be careful not to be more American than Catholic, especially since American politics is essentially Protestant.

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The Weight of Anchises

WHAT DOES PIETAS REQUIRE?

Jake Neu

October 2018

A descendant of the South asks: How do we properly reckon with our own families’ participation in historical racial injustice?

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Briefly: September 2018
September 2018

Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality... The Maternal Face of God?: Explorations in Catholic Sophiology... Seeing is Believing: Why Our Culture Must Face the Victims of Abortion... An Introduction to Ethics: A Natural Law Approach

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The Politics of Suicide in Post-Christian America

GUEST COLUMN

Amir Azarvan

July-August 2018

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Who Really Won the Civil War?

A HOUSE DEEPLY DIVIDED

Stanley T. Grip Jr.

June 2018

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American Libidocracy

OUR NATIONAL EXPERIMENT IN POLITICAL SCHIZOPHRENIA

John Lyon

April 2018

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The News You May Have Missed

READ ALL ABOUT IT...

January-February 2018

Put Not Your Trust in…Priests?... "I Believe in God the [redacted] Almighty"... Papal Peronista?... Scriptural Trans*lation... Veggie Bomb... A Tax on Both Your Houses... Mr. & Mr. Claus... Nintendo Dependency... and more

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Was Trump's Election Divinely Ordained?

APOCALYPTICISM & THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

Christopher Gawley

December 2017

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Is Football Past Its Prime?

WHAT'S WRONG WITH AMERICA'S "GREATEST GAME"

Casey Chalk

December 2017

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The Most Segregated Hour

DOES ECCLESIAL CONSUMERISM LEAD TO RACIAL DIVISION ?

Bryan Cross

October 2017

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Twilight of the Idols
October 2017

Confederate monuments are coming down, as they ought. But once begun, where will it end? Where race in America is concerned, reason and real history have been superseded by sentimentalism and reaction — on all sides.

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The New Tower of Babel

SOLDIERS FOR THE BRAVE NEW WORLD ORDER

John Martin

September 2017

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To Die from Having Lived

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #46

Mitchell Kalpakgian

September 2017

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On Pilgrimage with Pope Francis

ESCHEWING SECURITY, HEADING FOR THE PERIPHERIES

Raymond T. Gawronski

January-February 2015

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Eugenics in the USA: Black Life, White Justice
January-February 2015

Justice Ginsburg, one of the nation's most powerful abortion advocates, has been working for 20 years to reduce those populations she doesn't "want to have too many of."

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A Chronicle of Christendom's Decline

Frederick W. Marks

November 2014

A review by Frederick W. Marks of The Crisis of Christendom: 1815-2005: A History of Christendom, Vol. 6

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Anarchists in Chicago

Terry Scambray

November 2014

A review of The Haymarket Conspiracy: Transatlantic Anarchist Networks and The Trial of the Haymarket Anarchists: Terrorism and Justice in the Gilded Age

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The Orientalism of Barack Obama

GUEST COLUMN

Terry Scambray

November 2012

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Catholic Moment 2012
October 2012

The path of explaining -- let alone implementing -- Catholic wisdom as applied to societal matters is a long and complicated one. It helps to have authentic lay Catholics in high offices.

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The Black Hole of American Morality

ON FALLING INTO THE ABYSS

Carl Sundell

October 2012

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Finding the Truth in a Narrative of Lies

WHERE THE CONTRACEPTIVE IMPERATIVE TRUMPS ALL

Kenneth D. Whitehead

May 2012

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The Catholic Connection

DISPATCH FROM THE FRONT

Frederick W. Marks

May 2012

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Occasions of Truth
April 2012

Sustained national discussion of taboo topics like contraception and Planned Parenthood have yielded valuable 'teaching moments' and surprisingly countercultural essays in some mainstream venues.

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The Culture War & the Catholic Church

THE CONTRACEPTION MANDATE IN CONTEXT

Tom Bethell

April 2012

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The Rush to Radical Informality

NOTES FROM A CULTURAL NO-MAN'S LAND

Frederick W. Marks

January-February 2012

Some delight in radical informality because they see it as emblematic of the spirit of American democracy and the ‘virtue’ of tolerance.

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The Perils of Promoting Personhood

DEEP-SIXED IN THE DEEP SOUTH

James T. McCafferty

January-February 2012

Conspicuously absent from a coalition of pro-life advocates supporting a personhood amendment in Mississippi were the bishops of Jackson and Biloxi.

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Catholic Science Textbooks Swept Away

CAN SCIENCE & PHILOSOPHY BE SEPARATED?

Murray S. Daw

December 2011

Any approach to teaching science must begin with certain attitudes and assumptions about the nature of the world around us.

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We're All Socialists Now

Edwin Dyga

November 2011

The traditional left and mainstream right are in the same camp, usually competing over the externals of governance, not the real substance of policy.

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The U.S. Catholic Church Is Sinking Fast -- Part III
May 2008

The more Catholics enjoy the material and social comforts of mainstream America, it seems, the more they lose their faith.

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Christianity & the Space Program

CREATING A 'NEW JERUSALEM' IN OUTER SPACE?

Lewis M. Andrews

January 2002

The dawning era of extraterrestrial colonization has profound implications for organized religion and the spiritual orientation of popular culture.

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When 'Faith-Sharing' Isn't

FAITH WITHOUT DOCTRINE IS NOT FAITH

Jeffrey Gordon

May 2000

A Catholic high school teacher explains why a trendy (and mandated) exercise is really just an exercise in narcissistic self-indulgence.

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The Intellectual Battle over the Puritan Legacy

James J. Thompson Jr

November 1989

The founders of Massachusetts believed, Miller says, “that ultimately all the world would imitate New England.”

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America's Children Are in Jeopardy

CHILDHOOD BETRAYED — A PERSONALIST ANALYSIS

James G. Hanink

October 1989

Suggesting that the very young, born or pre­born, are not persons is exclusivist. It makes the betrayal of children almost morally palatable.

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Can a Catholic Be a True American?

James J. Thompson Jr.

July-August 1989

A Protestant need not fret about a clash between religion and culture; for him, the two have generally been inseparable.

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Born in the U.S.A.

EDITORIAL

July-August 1989

Let us not love America inordinately or unrealistically. It is enough to be Americans without also being vainglorious Americanists.

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The Continuing Irony of American History

A NIEBUHRIAN VIEW OF CARTER, REAGAN & THE NEW INTERNATIONAL SITUATION

Charles L. Garrettson III

June 1989

Our past is neither as virtuous as our optimists think nor as vicious as our pessimists think. It consists, rather, of a mixture of comic and tragic elements.

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The Obsolescence of Left & Right

ON THE EXHAUSTION OF THE IDEA OF PROGRESS

Christopher Lasch

April 1989

The “crisis of modernity” remains unresolved by a “sham conservatism” that merely sanctions the unbridled pursuit of worldly success.

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New South, Old Religion

SUN-BELT PARADOXES & EXCESSES

James J. Thompson Jr.

June 1988

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Is George Will Actually a (20th-century American) Liberal in Disguise?

THE STATE, TRADITION, COMMUNITY, AND CHARACTER-BUILDING

Charles L. Garrettson III

April 1988

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This Land is Not Our Land

James G. Hanink

December 1987

Review of Confessions of a Parish Priest by Andrew Greeley, A Path From Rome by Anthony Kenny, and Catholic America by John Cogley

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American Religion: Patriotic or Critical?

James J. Thompson Jr.

December 1986

America is a formidable land in which to be in the world but not of it; its at­tractions are many and its lures seductive. The imperative for Christians lies in resistance.

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After the Fall of Richmond, What?

James J. Thompson Jr.

November 1986

For Allen Tate, Caroline Gordon, and Walker Percy, neither tradition nor wealth-getting nor Protestantism answered the question of the meaning of existence. Their answer was in the Church.

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Short-Term Thinking & the Decline in Values

THE REWARDS OF PATIENT CAPITAL

Norman Lear

September 1986

We are controlled by numerical systems run amok — creating lists and statistics, SAT scores and Nielsen ratings, Gallup and Harris polls, and the fearsome “bottom line.”

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Weakness Amid Strength: The Roman Catholic Paradox

HOW TO ENERGIZE A PASSIVE LAITY

John A. McDermott

July August 1986

We Catholics have nowhere near the influence that our numbers and organization would suggest. Man for man, woman for woman, the U.S. Catholic community has a surprisingly modest impact on American public life.

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The New Right & the Pro-life Movement: How Solid is the Marriage?

ON THE RIGHT WING’S “SEAMLESS GARMENT”

Stephen Settle

July August 1986

March for Life organizer Nellie Gray had little patience with those who would solicit pro-life support simply to boost the bomb, bolster corporate profits, or get fluoride out of the water.

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Religion & Race in the South

James J. Thompson Jr.

July August 1986

In 1986 the Alabama legislature voted to observe the third Monday of each year in commemoration of both General Lee and Martin Luther King Jr.

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Thomas Merton on War, Gog & Magog

“ULTIMATELY THERE IS NO HUMANISM WITHOUT GOD”

David D. Cooper

June 1986

Merton’s decision to get actively involved in a campaign to abolish war came at a time when Cold War tensions reached a flash point and atmospheric nuclear testing was increasing.

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Cultural Analysis

David Courtwright

June 1986

Dominant social classes and institutions now systematically encourage egotism, while discouraging forces that rein in the self, such as religion or traditional family life.

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“Conservatism” in Europe

THE FUTURE OF AN IMPORTED WORLDVIEW

Thomas Molnar

May 1986

The Right in Western Europe is the immediate heir to the pre-1945, even pre-1914, system of values which it keeps alive on the political/cultural landscape.

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Struggling With Today’s Evils

HARVARD DIARY

Robert Coles

April 1986

Elderly folks I once knew were proud of their indifference to the urban American world and its culture, its values and habits, of which they occasionally heard from their children.

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Beyond the Mixing of Politics & Religion

WHEN WILL CHRISTIANS EMBODY WHAT THEY ADVOCATE?

William H. Willimon

April 1986

Christians are not usually in politics on our own terms, from the unique standpoint of people who are trying to follow Jesus Christ.

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The Sanctity of Life & the Right to Adequate Health Care

DETERIORATING HEALTH CARE IN AMERICA

John O’Connor

March 1986

Infant mortality, life expectancy, and disability rates confirm that the poor and uninsured permanently suffer the consequences of our broken healthcare system.

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Billy Graham to the Rescue?

CHRIST & NEIGHBOR

John C. Cort

January-February 1986

I fantasize that some contemporary Nathan the Prophet might chat with the President, not about sins like adultery and murder but about social sins. I’m afraid a Catholic bishop would not be right for the part.

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Christopher Lasch: A Fellow Traveler with Christianity?

James J. Thompson Jr.

January-February 1986

Lasch’s views on feminism and environmentalism illustrate his expressed intention to transcend the political ideologies of both Left and Right.

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The Hero Without & Within

HARVARD DIARY

Robert Coles

March 1985

The usual categories we summon to describe people, to explain their motives and purposes, can be rendered utterly inadequate by particular moments of crisis.

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The Two Minds of Modern Conservatism

DEBATING THE ROLE OF VIRTUE IN SOCIETY

Steven Hayward

January-February 1985

The ultimate pitfall of classical liberalism is the annihilation of morality and the destruction of meaningful community life.

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