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Opinion > Business

Alan Greenspan, Ayn Rand and the Libertarian God that Failed

Alan Greenspan, Ayn Rand and the Libertarian God that Failed In today’s NY Times, Peter Goodman’s excellent profile of former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan confirms what I’ve been writing, that it was a specific “structure of sin”—financial speculation—rather than mere human greed (or bad home loans) that created the credit crisis. I’d always wondered how a rigid anti-government… READ MORE >


Opinion > Issues

Why Prop 8 Won: TV Commercials Based on Reason, not Fear

To understand why Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that banned gay marriage, won in California, watch the campaign’s TV commercials at the What Is Prop 8? website. Not only were they well-made, featuring a multi-ethnic cross-section of very normal, quasi-hip, young to middle-age Californians, the commercials were models of serious, rational… READ MORE >


Magazine > Faith

Bart’s Problem

Bart’s Problem In his new book, God’s Problem, Bart Ehrman tries to prove that the God of the Bible doesn't answer the question of why we suffer, but his argument falls flat. In the end, what Ehrman and other “new atheists” forget is that a world without God is not a world without evil or innocent suffering. It’s simply a world of suffering without hope. READ MORE >

(8) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    bart ehrman | god | suffering | theodicy

Reviews > Books

How to avoid the next war

How to avoid the next war If you’re concerned about where Republican fear-mongering on the war on terror might lead us, don’t turn to the Democrats, who when it counted caved in to Bush on the Iraq War (and now mostly echo McCain/Palin’s position on the Middle East). Instead, go to clear-eyed foreign policy realists like Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski… READ MORE >


News > Faith

Libertarian Heresy

You don't often find Commonweal hunting heretics. In the latest issue, Daniel Finn takes aim at Fr. Robert Sirico of the Acton Institute and other Catholics who force fit Catholic social teaching into free market ideology. Sirico, he says, "uses his tendentious view of law and morality to conclude that raising taxes to help others is unchristian, since citizens have no choice but to pay the tax... One wonders if this conviction hasn’t been engendered by a libertarian view of government actions, where such redistribution is always immoral." Commonweal isn't alone in recognizing this distortion of Church teaching, which has always recognized the authority of government to balance private property rights with the "universal destination of goods." There is a silent majority of orthodox Catholics who resent Acton and other Catholic think tanks that are so well-funded by wealthy pro-big business donors that they're able to drown out genuine Catholic social teaching. Finn thinks its time that "neoconservative Catholics inquire into the influence of libertarianism on their work and, most importantly, that they make Catholic moral theology the standard for judging right-wing claims about morality in economic life-and not the other way around." READ MORE >


News > Business

Greed and ruthless pursuit of profits to blame for banking fiasco

This article gets Catholic social teaching right, and exposes the fallacy that 9/11 restored us to moral clarity: "'Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of Lehman Brothers' fall is that it comes almost seven years to the day after 9/11... For all the talk of pulling together in the wake of the terrorist attacks that shook America to the core and supposedly set our priorities straight, Wall Street rushed headlong back to its mindless pursuit of profits and speculation without consideration for the consequences of its actions... At some point, society has to figure out that the way an investor earns his money is even more important than the amount of money he makes. This is why human beings were vested with moral sentiments, so they could distinguish the quality of human conduct from the quality of its results... It is incumbent upon the gatekeepers of capital ... to bring discipline to the system. This will require a rethinking of their priorities and a willingness to add to their investment calculus, considerations that exceed their own narrow interests about short-term investment returns.'" READ MORE >

(7) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    crisis | greed | profit | wall street

Opinion > Politics

Pro-Life vs. Family Values? Is Newsweek’s Jacob Weisberg promoting eugenics?

Pro-Life vs. Family Values? Is Newsweek’s Jacob Weisberg promoting eugenics? The culture war is back, stronger than ever, with the liberal media completely flummoxed over how to handle Sarah Palin. But what’s really thrown them is Bristol Palin’s unwed teen pregnancy, and the Republican Party’s surprisingly warm-hearted, non-judgemental response to it. How else to explain Jacob Weisberg’s bizarre… READ MORE >


Reviews > Movies

Funny as Hell

Funny as Hell There’s a segment of the Tonight Show called “Jaywalking,” where Jay Leno asks regular Joes (“Joe Sixpacks”?) simple questions about history, politics, geography, etc. Considering the answers he gets, you’d think Burbank a social experiment gone wrong. Bill Maher, host of Politically Incorrect, adopts the… READ MORE >

(6) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    atheism | bill maher | religion | satire

Opinion > Issues

They’ll Believe in Anything: Study says atheists are more irrational

They’ll Believe in Anything: Study says atheists are more irrational A new Gallup study, “What Americans Really Believe,” suggests that if anti-religious crusaders Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins want a more rational, less superstitious world, they should encourage people to go to church.  A recent Wall Street Journal article reported that, according to the study… “…traditional Christian… READ MORE >


Opinion > Business

The Church on the financial meltdown: Usury and speculation are to blame

The Church on the financial meltdown: Usury and speculation are to blame If there’s anyone in the mainstream media willing to listen to the Church these days (I doubt it), they’ll discover that centuries of Catholic teaching about the sinful practices of usury and financial speculation can explain why Wall Street is tumbling down. (For the best technical explanation, read The Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy… READ MORE >


Reviews > Movies

Don’t Call Me Junior

Don’t Call Me Junior No one could accuse Oliver Stone of ducking controversy. But I don’t think anyone expected his new movie about the George Bush presidency, W., to be predictable and toothless, if intermittently amusing. In the era of the internet and insider confessionals, most of what appears on screen has already been widely circulated. What, Bush… READ MORE >

(5) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    george w. bush | presidency

Opinion > Politics

Politics and Words

Politics and Words Image Journal’s website features a blog by Brian Volck on the slippery nature of words; more specifically, the language of this election season, and key words like “change.” Both parties claim to be the agents of change. What does it mean? How does a word or expression change in a given context? In politics, are words used… READ MORE >

(5) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    change | george orwell | language

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