. . . Nearly a century later, it's easy to view the whole of Nazi Germany telescopically through the lens of Schindler's List or the U.S. Holocaust Museum: The Nazis were bad; it must not happen again; now let's move on. But human history is not so simple. The same Adolph Hitler, who in the 1940s was recognized as a murderous despot, rose to power in the 1930s with widespread approval. The more apropos question might be, How did that happen? . . . ►►►
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. . . Baker, for instance writes that 1984 "resonated perfectly with the type of totalitarian states playing chess for the globe in the Cold War," but by 2006, he found Brave New World more filled with details that "correspond perfectly with the future toward which we seem to be heading." Hunt, for his part, found that both novels presaged modern conditions strikingly accurately, but in different ways. Given the accelerating pace of social change, it might be good to revisit the question yet again and seek to determine how well each dystopia predicted the future in various ways. . . . ►►►
. . . These are only a handful of the studies done that show a connection between family breakdown and the perpetration of violence—many more could be cited. So why don't we hear more about these connections? Perhaps because of their uncomfortable ramifications for adults. . . . ►►►
. . . What will become of Homo naledi remains to be seen. So far, however, its pathway resembles that of so many other hominin fossils whose "transitional" or "ancestral" status ultimately went belly-up. When evaluating media claims of a "human ancestor," a strong dose of healthy skepticism is warranted. ►►►
Patrick Fagan is the founder and director of MARRI, the Marriage and Religion Research Institute. MARRI studies the impact of marriage, family, and religion on society. Once a practicing psychologist, Dr. Fagan moved into the field of public policy as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Family and Community Policy at the Department of Health and Human Services under President George H. W. Bush. He recently announced the launch of Marripedia, an online social-science encyclopedia that makes research related to family, marriage, sexuality, and religion accessible to the public. Dr. Fagan spoke with us about what makes for a healthy society, the importance of what he calls "the two great loves," and what he sees as a growing crisis for men. . . . ►►►
. . . Experts, for Fitch's treatment, are primarily defined by their transgression of the boundaries inherent to their fields of expertise. For example, a cell biologist may have a perfectly good, morally sound opinion on the social advisability of religion-based models of childrearing. Or he may be a cold-blooded moral monster. The point is, knowledge in the realm of science does not make him a credible authority in the realm of values. This should not need pointing out, but apparently it does. Whenever anyone makes statements about non-material realms of thought, or pushes a moral argument, under the banner of science, then the science is not being used in its proper context. It is being coopted to advance an agenda. . . . ►►►
During my graduate school days at the University of Toronto (late 1960s) I took a short summer course, Advances in Planetary Physics, taught by astronomer Carl Sagan. Sagan was a rising star then and well on his way to becoming the science popularizer and communicator for which he later became famous. Most of the course and nearly all of the informal evening discussions focused on the possibility that extraterrestrial intelligent life existed and on the kinds of civilizations such beings would have established. In Sagan's mind, there was absolutely no doubt that extraterrestrial intelligent beings (ETI) existed. Furthermore, he was convinced that on many planets in our galaxy ETIs had developed civilizations far more technically advanced than ours. . . . ►►►
. . . from the Austin Powers-like age of 1969, a bespectacled Canadian academic named Marshall McLuhan gives us a perspective on this point in history: "All media, from the phonetic environment to the computer, are extensions of man that cause deep and lasting changes in him and transform his environment." Now, in the early morning of the new millennium, we have to ask: What did McLuhan mean? . . . ►►►
. . . When I was a producer for CBS This Morning, covering family issues, we sometimes partnered with Parents magazine. So one day I had lunch with the then-editor to talk about possible future projects. I suggested working together on a series about daycare. Before the word was barely out of my mouth, she stopped me by saying that Parents magazine chose not to cover daycare "because parents suffer enough guilt already." It took a while for the full implications of that statement to sink in. Parents magazine put parents' potential guilt above children's potential welfare. . . . ►►►
. . . What kind of democracy will we have in the future, when all traces of classical and biblical ideals are erased from the souls of citizens, and "democracy" is reduced to "I'm as good as anybody else, and I've got the same rights as anyone else, and I don't need anyone to teach me what truth and virtue are"? Plato's Republic gives us a stark warning. Can a democracy that is indifferent to the claims of the Good and its duty to God, and that exists solely to serve the transient desires of its members, long endure? ►►►
"Communism is a religion. It is a mystical movement. It turns religion upside down. There is a book, Toward Middle Age is the title of the book in French, where the author says that Marxism is religion upside down. Communists are mystical like this: they think, they really believe, that they can transform man. They can create a new Communist personality, to completely replace what man is. It's impossible, and that's why Communism is finished now. I'm afraid that other methods will take over today." ►►►
Remembering Why We Fight
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