How Could Tyranny Destroy Our Democracy?

Political scientists and historians are increasingly expressing profound concerns about the future of democracy in the West. I have been asking, as an amateur historian of America, “How and why do democracies die?” The study of democratic backsliding, though around for a long time, is becoming more urgent as we watch events unfold so rapidly it creates deep concern in … Read More

Breach of Trust: Has Our U.S. Policy Lost Its Way?

Our American commitment to perpetual war now seems fairly self-evident. We have been engaged in some kind of military conflict, almost without significant pause, since the end of the Vietnam War. Our current military action in Iraq and Afghanistan (and the wider Middle East) is nearing fifteen years and there is virtually no reason to see a real (final) end … Read More

Reading Maya Angelou

I owe a debt of profound gratitude to my friend Vill Harmon (second from left in this photo with my good friends and two ACT3 board members). Vill is the secretary in the office of Ecumenical and Interreligious for the Archdiocese of Chicago. In July (2015) Vill and I shared a conversation about our background, especially in terms of race … Read More

Faith Energized By Love

As I have been reading and writing on love for more than thirteen months now I am awestruck by so much that is transforming my own  life. Here is but one example. A Pauline text that has deeply moved me can be read in Galatians 5:1-6: For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to … Read More

ISIS and the Importance of Christian-Muslim Relations in the US (Guest Blog)

The recent 9/11 anniversary of the attacks on the Twin Towers in Manhattan and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. also brought with it, especially in light of the present actions of ISIS/ISIL , memories of the backlash against Muslim and even Sikh communities on our own continent. Those memories underline how important it is to build relationships with people of … Read More

July 4 – Enjoying Freedom With Caution

I love my country. I believe that true patriotic love for one’s home and nation is a wonderful emotion. I am troubled, however, by a continual insistence that a certain ideology is tantamount to true patriotism. This ideology grows stronger the more polarized we become in our public life. This ideology is also antithetical to the kingdom of Christ yet … Read More

The Carter Years and the Bankruptcy of Bad Economic Ideas

The Carter years profoundly convinced Michael Novak of the bankruptcy of his previous economic ideas. While Novak explains Carter’s personal love for Jesus Christ as genuine, and easily misunderstood, he rightly separates the good heart of the man from some of his very bad ideas about what makes for a free and prosperous society. During the Carter years Novak’s own … Read More

Michael Novak: On Forming Good Intellectual and Spiritual Habits

Michael Novak, not to be confused with the late conservative journalist Robert Novak, has been (rightly I believe) described as “one of the world’s most influential social philosophers.” He has played a number of prominent roles in American life, ranging from advising candidates and presidents to teaching and writing on the ethics of the free market and welfare reform. He … Read More

Michael Novak’s Liberal Origins and Friendships

Yesterday I gave an overview of Michael Novak’s superb new memoir, Writing from Left to Right: My Journey from Liberal to Conservative (Image: New York, 2013). For me, a teenage in the 1960s, this wonderful memoir seems like a political and economic account of an extraordinary life well-lived through a time of social and political turbulence, the times in which … Read More

The Brave New World and the Building of Democracies

Political scientist Francis Fukuyama declared in his 1992 book, The End of History and the Last Man, that “mankind’s ideological evolution” was complete in Western liberal democracy, a form of democracy which is now “the final form of human government.” So much for a theory that lasted for less than a half of one generation. Joshua Kurlantzick, in his book … Read More