Man is but a reed, the weakest thing in nature; but he is a thinking reed. The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him. A vapor, a drop of water suffices to kill him. But, if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage the universe has over him; the universe knows nothing of this.
A thinking reed – it is not from space that I must seek my dignity, but from the government of my thought. I shall have no more if I possess worlds. By space the universe encompasses me and swallows me up like an atom; by thought I comprehend the world.
This essay is a letter that has been written for children whose grandmother died last year, at the age of 67. Dear children, This last March marked the one-year anniversary of the death of my mother (and your grandmother). I ask myself: how shall I remember her life and grieve her passing? Every human being must die. Yet the certainty of death does not make it any easier to accept. What do we … Continue reading What Would Grandma Say?
Once again, I was pleased to join the Epiphany show on Ave Maria Radio. Tune in and listen! My comments begin around the 28.00 minute mark.
In his excellent book on Maritain, The Philosopher In Society, James V. Schall comments on Maritain’s theoretical critique of Niccolo Machiavelli. The Florentine master of immorality, Maritain observed, charms and seduces us. Why, or with what teaching, does Machiavelli seduce us? It is not so much when men ought to do, but what they do “do,” that should be the concern of the statesman, Machiavelli says. And what rulers do “do” is stay … Continue reading Hitler’s Reading of Machiavelli
My family has a Christmas tradition of giving books, which sometimes contain wisdom therein. These books are not all necessarily *recommended* but they have inspired good thinking about race, politics, faith, human nature, and the good life. Up From Slavery, by Booker T Washington. Two ideas stand out. First are his thoughts on emancipation. We probably underestimate the enormity of the task that Washington set for himself. He dedicated his life to the … Continue reading What I’m Reading Now
Last week I was asked by the radio show Epiphany to provide some perspective on the political culture we live in – and what a believer might think about it all. Tune in here.
My dissertation is (apparently) available for public consumption. The work forms the backbone for a book monograph on St. Augustine and the relevance of his teaching on the fall for political life and the common good. But in the meantime, all the current chapters are being revised and new ones added. So, consider this the opening statement of a lifelong (I hope) fascination with the interplay of Christian revelation and political philosophy.
In this blog, I present short reflections, tidbits of scholarship and inquiry, and passing thoughts. I shall strive to be serious-minded, that is, meditating on enduring political and social questions. And yet, I shall strive for a light touch. Everyone hates a blog that takes itself too seriously. My goal is to give my readers a snapshot of the issues I’m considering and the problems I’m working on, in real time. This blog … Continue reading My Purpose
I teach at Holy Cross College, a place that aims to form each student as a “Scholar, Citizen, Leader, and Disciple.” Several of these core objectives of Holy Cross College relate to my research, but let’s think about leadership for a moment. When my students and I talk about leadership, we want to discover what a good leader is, so that we can become that kind of person. Now, one underrated but critically … Continue reading The Love of Glory
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In this blog, I present short reflections, tidbits of scholarship and inquiry, and passing thoughts. I shall strive to be serious-minded, that is, meditating on enduring political and social questions. And yet, I shall strive for a light touch. Everyone hates a blog that takes itself too seriously. Therefore, I dub this blog “ruminations.” My goal is to give my readers a snapshot of the issues I’m considering and the problems I’m working on, in real time.
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