As recently as last year the Guttmacher Policy Review published an article with the title ‘Abortion Does Not Increase Women’s Risk of Mental Health Problems’. Of course this assertion is hardly surprising, since the Guttmacher Institute is the research wing of Planned Parenthood, the leading abortion provider in the United States. But it is typical of many mainline organizations, which toe the same line. The reality is that the political and health establishments in North America have done their best to deny or suppress all information about the negative impact of abortion on women. The American Psychological Association, for example, takes the official position that terminating an unwanted pregnancy ‘does not pose a psychological hazard for most women’, and may actually be good for them. The report which arrives at this conclusion takes no notice whatever of the abundant evidence that for many women abortion is a devastating, catastrophic experience that haunts them for the rest of their lives. (more…)
Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category
I have been reading David Bentley Hart’s new book, God: Being, Consciousness and Bliss (Yale University Press, 2013). I read everything by Hart that comes my way for the same reason I listen to oratorios by Handel – it is a pleasure to observe a master working at his craft. Hart is a great writer regardless of whether you agree with everything he writes or not.
God: Being, Consciousness and Bliss is a fascinating book written by a man who exudes confidence in the Christian Gospel and therefore can do apologetics without sound apologetic, if you know what I mean. The book commends an ecumenical theism that Hart regards as a common legacy of both East and West, a very similar idea as the idea of a natural law common to both East and West expressed by C. S. Lewis in his The Abolition of Man with the phrase: The Tao. Hart is simultaneously respectful of empirical science and contemptuous of that leech on the body of modern science known as “scientism.” You can ruin almost anything by making it into an “ism” and when the modern approach to the natural world, which is quite effective is answering the question “How does it work?” is turned into a complete metaphysics, science is ruined and demeaned.
Hart criticizes materialism from many angles in this book and I just want to comment briefly on one of his points. (more…)
It’s the story of a man who experienced and learned much, one who wrote of his “lasting respect for the common sense of ordinary people.” He came from a broken family, raised in the South and then Harlem. Rough stretches of life followed and he turned socialist. But this Marxist, against the odds, later parachuted into a movement that other African-American critics could not fathom and never approve. He became a conservative. (more…)
“As crazy as it sounds, I became the only person in the world to face legal sanction for printing those cartoons” writes Canadian journalist and lawyer Ezra Levant. In early 2008, Levant received a summons from the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission (AHRCC) to explain his action of reprinting, in the Western Standard magazine, the controversial Danish cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. Levant’s Shakedown: How Our Government Is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights (2009) tells his and the stories of others caught in the web of human right commissions that took a disturbing wrong turn. (more…)
Charles Murray is one of the most influential and controversial social scientists alive today. His book, Losing Ground: American Social Policy 1950-1980, was very influential in the highly successful welfare reforms undertaken in the mid-90s in the US during a period of divided government while Bill Clinton was president. His book, The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life, argued that intelligence is a better predictor of future success than socio-economic status and education level. Much of Murray’s work challenges the conventional wisdom of modern progressives and liberals and defends the truth of traditional, conventional wisdom. As a rather extreme libertarian, rather than a social conservative, Murray is an interesting writer because he comes to so many conclusions that support the conservative case for traditional family structure as the basis of a healthy society even though that is not a central tenet of his philosophical belief system. It appears to be a matter of following the logical implications of the data he studies in his case. He is divorced and re-married and not particularly religious, although he attends Quaker meetings with his second wife.
Murray’s new book, Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010 (Random House, 2012), is a fascinating look at the social revolution of the past half-century. The disastrous effects of the attempts to impose a European-style welfare state on America beginning with the Great Society programs of the 1960s on the black family have been well-documented. But what has been going on in white America during this period? Were the effects of welfare statism on black families different from their effects on white families or were those effects merely delayed slightly? (more…)
Popular images pointing to a conservative and liberal polarization of American religious life abound in early 21st century American culture. Such images tend to oversimplify the nuances and complexities of religious experience, but they do capture much truth. In their study of clerical authority and the hopes and struggles of theological schools, E. Brooks Holifield’s God’s Ambassadors: A History of the Christian Clergy in America (2007) and Glenn T. Miller’s Piety and Profession: American Protestant Theological Education, 1870-1970 (2007) provide a wealth of information on religious life through the prism of clergy. While the polarization of liberal and conservative Christianity is not their focus, the authors’ work does reveal the price clergy paid for embracing liberalism. (more…)