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Wise

PD reviews The Tech-Wise Family by Andy Crouch.

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Microaggressions

Microaggressions? by Scott O Lilienfeld.

Prejudice remains a huge social evil but evidence for harm caused by microaggression is incoherent, unscientific and weak.

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Boy Soldiers

Trained to Kill: How Four Boy Soldiers Survived Boko Haram by Sarah A. Topol.

The four children, from a fishing village in Nigeria, were among thousands abducted by Boko Haram and trained as soldiers. They learned to survive, but only by forgetting who they were.

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Crisis

The Crisis of Liberty in the West by Ryan Anderson.

The West faces a deep crisis of liberty. Full human flourishing is hindered by the dawning collapse of civil society and by crony capitalism and cultural cronyism. Natural law arguments, with their appreciation of rights and duties, provide a better framework than natural rights or utilitarian arguments for understanding economic liberty; a natural law conception of social justice recognizes the state’s role in economic justice but also requires respect for the proper authority of society. Globalization and new technologies are only a part of the problem. The solution to the crisis requires a better intellectual foundation for freedom and a renewed common understanding of what human flourishing looks like. This lecture was delivered as the annual Calihan Lecture on December 1, 2016, in London, England, at a conference sponsored by the Acton Institute on “The Crisis of Liberty in the West” at which Dr. Anderson received the Michael Novak Award for “outstanding scholarly research concerning the relationship between religion, economic freedom, and the free and virtuous society.

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Hysteria

Pittsburgh, Not Paris: Explaining the Climate Hysteria by Peter Wood.

When President Trump announced his exit from the Paris Climate Accord, the usual suspects responded with their usual agitation and doomsaying. How can so many people subscribe to an idea—and so vehemently—that rests on so little?

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Gadfly

Can Jonathan Haidt Calm the Culture Wars? by Evan R. Goldstein.

For the next hour, Haidt roams the stage, TED-talk style (he’s delivered four), and explains what he calls “the new moral culture spreading on many college campuses.” It is a culture, he says, that values victims, prioritizes emotional safety, silences dissent, and distorts scholarship. It is a culture that undermines the university’s traditional mission to pursue truth — “veritas” is right there on the seals of Harvard and Yale — in favor of a new mission: the pursuit of social justice. It is a culture that Haidt believes is fueled by three factors: political polarization, the rise of social media, and a lack of ideological diversity in the professoriate.

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Betrayal

Kamala Harris, Speak Up. Don’t Be Silent on Women’s Rights by Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Asra Q. Nomani.

There is a real discomfort among progressives on the left with calling out Islamic extremism. Partly they fear offending members of a “minority” religion and being labeled racist, bigoted or Islamophobic. There is also the idea, which has tremendous strength on the left, that non-Western women don’t need “saving” — and that the suggestion that they do is patronizing at best. After all, the thinking goes, if women in America still earn less than men for equivalent work, who are we to criticize other cultures?

This is extreme moral relativism disguised as cultural sensitivity. And it leads good people to make excuses for the inexcusable. The silence of the Democratic senators is a reflection of contemporary cultural pressures. Call it identity politics, moral relativism or political correctness — it is shortsighted, dangerous and, ultimately, a betrayal of liberal values.

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Decrypting

Decrypting Jefferson by Andrew Salzone.

Understanding the author of America’s Declaration of Independence is easier said than done. He may have hated big government, but big government was born of the rationalism that he loved.

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Heads-Up

Giving Terrorists a Heads-up by Heather Mac Donald.

A proposed law would force the NYPD to publicize the details of its surveillance technology.

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Foreshadow

John Stuart Mill’s Intolerant Faith and the Religion of Liberalism by Samuel Gregg.

John Stuart Mill foreshadows the deeply intolerant faith and agenda of contemporary liberalism.

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POW

God in Wartime: How Religious Belief Affects Soldiers by Christina Brown Fisher.

When Shoshana Johnson decided to join the military, her intention wasn’t to make history. Originally from Panama, where her Catholic foundation was laid, she and her family moved to the United States when she was a child. Johnson’s passion for food inspired her to attend culinary school. In 1998, the daughter of a retired Army sergeant, she enlisted in the service to save money for school. By 2003, Johnson, who worked as an Army cook, was in Iraq preparing meals for supply mechanics. But within a month of her arrival, she would become America’s first black female Prisoner of War (POW).

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fAIth

fAIth by Beth Singler.

The most avid believers in artificial intelligence are aggressively secular – yet their language is eerily religious. Why?

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Neurology

When Neurology Becomes Theology by Robert A. Burton.

A neurologist’s perspective on research into consciousness.

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Challenges

Peter Berkowitz reviews Past and Present: The Challenges of Modernity, from the Pre-Victorians to the Postmodernists by Gertrude Himmelfarb.

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Destruction

PD reviews Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O’Neil.

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Moderation

The Utopian Aspirations of the Fight Against Climate Change: A Call for Moderation by Carson Holloway.

The effort to combat climate change aspires to feats of social control, coordination, and foresight that are unprecedented in the history of politics. Our expectations for the movement ought to be tempered by our knowledge of human limitations.

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Bipartisanship

To New York Times, Bipartisanship Means Blaming GOP When Both Democrats And Republicans Are Shot by Mollie Hemingway.

A New York Times editorial blames Republicans for violence against Democrats despite no relationship, and blames Republicans for violence against Republicans when the perpetrator is a progressive activist.

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Disaster

Britain’s Election Disaster by Theodore Dalrymple.

Theresa May’s political incompetence carries a high price.

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Dilemma

Defending Muslims, Critiquing Islam by Phil Zuckerman.

The dilemma of a contemporary secular humanist.

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Founders

Making Sense of the Founders: Politics, Natural Rights, and the Laws of Nature by Justin Dyer.

It is often alleged that the American founders lacked a unified and coherent political theory. To the contrary, a recent book by Thomas West shows that the founders broadly agreed on a philosophy of natural rights, calling for both the protection of liberty and the promotion of virtue.

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