Friday, February 29, 2008

Those he Influenced Pay Tribute

The death of William F. Buckley, Jr., meant a sad day for many, even those who were never privileged enough to meet him. The last couple days have provided for great tributes to this conservative hero and intellectual giant. Here are links to a few of the best ones, in alphabetical order:

Brent Bozell III

Denis Boyles

David Brooks

George W. Bush

Mona Charen

Linda Chavez

David Freddoso (Prof. Freddoso's son)

Christina Galbraith

Newt Gingrich

Jonah Goldberg

Joe Lieberman

Rich Lowry

William McGurn

George Nash

Peggy Noonan

Kathleen Parker

Larry Perelman

Norman Podhoretz

Mark Thiessen

George Will

Also, here is the link to a symposium National Review Online put together, in which they asked several prominent friends and fans of WFB where to begin in reading his works:

What should I read first?

I'm sure there will be many more Buckley pieces to be written in the coming days, weeks and months, so keep your eyes open.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

"We are not fighting Terror" Rick Santorum Speaks at Notre Dame

“This is America’s hour. Like Britain in 1940, we are alone. Completely alone. We will not have anybody on our side. Just us. Just those who hold on to the tenets of Western civilization those who have a reason to fight.” So said former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) on Tuesday, 26th February, when he spoke at Notre Dame on issues related to international security, focusing particularly America’s “War on Terror.” However, as Santorum emphasized, it is not ‘Terror’ that we are fighting: our real and only enemy in the Iraqi war is radical jihadists.

According to Santorum, there are fundamental problems in the approach that the American people and government are taking in the War on Terror. To start, the war itself is inaptly named. “Terror is a tactic. Saying that we are going to war on terror is like President Roosevelt saying that we are going to war on kamikaze, or blitzkrieg,” Santorum stated. This is not a war on terror, nor is it a war on terrorists. Nor is this a war on Islam, Santorum clarified, “[We’re] not fighting a religion, we’re fighting radicals within a religion.”

There is already a war going on within the religion of Islam, Santorum explained, this is why there is a need to define America’s enemy in terms of religion, because that is how they define themselves. “How do they define us? As Infidels – it’s a religious term. They are in a holy war. Everything they say and do is based in their theology.” And this is where America has erred in its understanding of this “War on Terror,” as the former senator described, “we ignore [their theology]. We try to make it a politically correct war. The American people will not sustain this war unless they know why we are fighting it.”

A pivotal point that needs to be addressed is the difference between the American and jihadist cultures. Santorum posed the question to the crowd: “If you think about what are the pillars of the American left [culture] – feminism, homosexual rights, civil rights, separation of church and state, reason over faith in the public square, pacifism, abortion on demand – can you think of any group of people on the face of the earth that are, point-to-point, 180 degrees from the American left, any more than the jihadists?”

So what can we do? Very importantly, action must be taken within the Muslim community in response to the jihadists’ abuses, Senator Santorum urged, “The problem has to be solved within the Islamic world. We need to create space for brave, moderate Muslims to engage theologically the ideology of the jihadists.” While Muslims must play a role in the success of the war against jihadists, an attitude change, at the least, is certainly called for on the part of the American people and government. “When you try to spread democracy in the Islamic world, this is a complete affront to everything they believe. This is a theological problem, yet we have not described it in those terms.”

The situation is one of much urgency, a theme continually stressed throughout Santorum’s talk, and it is one that America must stand against on its own. “This is America’s hour...We will not have anybody on our side. Just us. Just those who hold on to the tenets of Western civilization those who have a reason to fight.”

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A sad day for Conservatism

As George Will once said, "Before there was Ronald Reagan there was Barry Goldwater, before there was Goldwater there was National Review, and before there was National Review there was William F. Buckley."

Buckley passed away this morning in his home in Stamford, Connecticut, but one can only hope his spirit will live on for generations to come. He was the founder of National Review, but, more than that, he was the founder of the modern conservative intellectual movement. An author of some 50 books--some of fiction, some of political thought, some of autobiography--and hundreds of articles and obituaries, he truly was an intellectual giant. There is even a Notre Dame connection: Besides being the sixth of ten children in a Catholic family, Buckley gave the commencement address at ND in 1978.

My conservatism and my interest in politics can, in large part, be attributed to the influence Buckley had on me. I began subscribing to the National Review in high school, read several of his books, and I was in awe. This man was not only writing everything I believed, he was doing so in a persuasive, witty, and erudite way. His trilingualism and, in particular, his mastery of the English language, led one fan to write this in an email to National Review today:

"I am saddened by the passing of William F. Buckley, but our loss is Heaven's gain, and I'm sure the Good Lord told his angels to 'Bring me a dictionary, Buckley's coming.'"

Buckley's wit and sense of humor gave him a wide appeal and even many on the left, although they surely didn't agree with him, paid admiration and respect. He had a humorous arrogance that allowed for laughter. "I am, I fully grant, a phenomenon, but not because of any speed in composition," he wrote in The New York Times Book Review in 1986. "I asked myself the other day, `Who else, on so many issues, has been so right so much of the time?' I couldn't think of anyone."

It's a shame we will not be able to enjoy his book about Goldwater which was scheduled to come out in the spring, and his son said he was also working on a book about Reagan. There is no doubt he will be missed in the coming years, especially as the movement he founded is reeling due to the lack of more people like him.

I will say this: if you have never read Buckley, please do. Even if you don't agree with him, you will come away appreciating his style and wit. RIP, WFB.

Some of my favorite Buckley quotes:

"Nonsense. Man is not infinitely weak. If he were, then we would proceed on the assumption that man could never resist temptation; in which event we would all be Calvinist. But look! Look how many of us have resisted the temptation of Calvinism!" - WFB

After being told in a debate that he had twenty unused seconds in which to expound further, he declined: “I think I’ll just contemplate the great eloquence of my previous remarks.” - WFB

“I won't insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said.” - WFB

“Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.” - WFB

“I would like to electrocute everyone who uses the word "fair" in connection with income tax policies.” - WFB

“Liberals, it has been said, are generous with other peoples' money, except when it comes to questions of national survival when they prefer to be generous with other people's freedom and security.” - WFB

"I'd rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.” - WFB

Rick Santorum Speaks at Notre Dame

Even in the midst of midterms week and blustering, rapidly accumulating snow, a crowd of approximately 350, mostly students, came out to Notre Dame's McKenna Hall Auditorium Tuesday evening, February 26th, at 7pm, to hear former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) speak on issues of the international security agenda.

Santorum discussed what he believes is the biggest threat to American security: the challenges posed by radical Islamic fascism and its growing alliances around the world.

Sponsored by the Center for Social Concerns NDVOTES'08 Issues Series, the lecture was brought to Notre Dame by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and the Ethics and Public Policy Center as part of a yearlong series that includes talks at college campuses.

More commentary and coverage of this event to come.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Rick Santorum on Campus

The press release is out for Tuesday's event with former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, which is brought to you by The Rover, the NDVotes'08 Task Force, and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. He will be speaking on terrorism and national security at 7:00PM in the auditorium of McKenna Hall.
Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) will deliver a speech titled “Gathering Storm of the 21st Century” at 7 p.m. Tuesday (Feb. 26) in the McKenna Hall auditorium at the University of Notre Dame....

The title of Santorum’s lecture references Winston Churchill’s history of World War II, “The Gathering Storm.” Santorum is writing a book on “the gathering storm” of the 21st century – the challenges posed by radical Islamic fascism and its growing alliances around the world.


For anyone who has been struck with curiosity concerning the sudden drop in posts, I remind loyal readers that it is midterms this week, we are possibly still recovering from a very stressful production, AND former Senator Rick Santorum is coming to visit our lovely campus. We'll certainly be picking up the pace soon as we regain our sanity.

The Campus Rape Crisis

Find the attached article for an interesting analysis of the campus rape 'crisis.'



I have had friends actually raped, but at the same time, I agree with the fact that a 25% figure seems to be extraordinarily high. Rape is a push-button issue that is used to assert feminism and push other similar issues such as contraception and abortion. These issues need to be discussed rationally and honestly, not using edited numbers to prove a point. Honesty and information is required for true debate.

On Marriage and Modernity, WSJ

Catholic young adults place great importance on marriage but have turned away from church-based ideas of how to make it work, according to a study released last week by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.

For Catholic members of the "millennial generation," men and women born between 1982 and 1989, marriage is not to be undertaken lightly. Some 82% of these teens and 20-somethings report that they believe marriage is a lifelong commitment, compared with only 56% of Catholics age 47 to 64 -- approximately their parents' generation. Moreover, 84% of these young Catholic adults report concern that "couples don't take marriage seriously enough when divorce is easily available." By comparison, only 67% of their parents' generation agree with this statement.

At the same time, only a quarter of these young adults report that their views about marriage have been formed in significant part by their faith. Indeed, a minority think of marriage as a "vocation" or a "calling from God," and nearly half of singles say it's not important that their future spouse be Catholic. Rather, the vast majority of 18- to 25-year-olds report that their spouse must be their "soul mate," and that falling out of love is an acceptable reason for divorce.

On questions about the importance of lifelong commitment in marriage, millennials are more in step with their pre-Vatican II-generation grandparents, but on questions about the influence of Catholic teachings on their views about marriage, young adults agree with their boomer parents.

The study, based on an online survey of more than 1,000 adult Catholics, "paints a mixed picture," said Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, chairman of the Subcommittee on Marriage and Family Life of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which commissioned the report. Catholic youth may have a more conservative outlook on life than their parents' generation but also an individualized idea of who should set the rules, said Christian Smith, professor of sociology at the University of Notre Dame. "Most younger Catholics have defined their inner self as the authority, and many freely distance themselves from church practices they don't believe in."

Even the concept of "Catholic guilt" seems to have disappeared for younger generations: Catholic youth report no feelings of guilt overall, or about premarital sex or pornography, according to Mr. Smith's forthcoming article in the Review of Religious Research.

The Georgetown study shows that some 69% of Catholics age 18 to 25 believe "marriage is whatever two people want it to be," while just over half of their parents' and grandparents' generation agreed with that statement. This comes as no surprise to researchers following American family trends. With looser social norms dictating appropriate behaviors for husbands and wives, each couple -- regardless of religious affiliation -- must settle on their own rules of conduct, argues Stephanie Coontz, author of "Marriage, a History." But when more issues must be negotiated, she notes, there are more points where negotiations can break down.

While research on other Christian denominations shows similar individualized attitudes about the role of faith in everyday life, the generational differences are more pronounced among Catholics. "Catholic teenagers are the most distanced from the church authorities," reports Mr. Smith, a fact he attributes to "largely ineffective" modern Catholic religious education.

To be sure, some caution is advisable when interpreting generational differences measured at different stages of life: The millennials are just at the beginning of adulthood, so their optimistic and individual-focused opinions may change with their circumstances. "Some of this is useful idealism and some of it is just inexperience," said Mark Regnerus, associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin. Still, the cultural shift can't be ignored, Mr. Regnerus said. "We've been swamped by messages of romantic individualism. Those ideas can lead people to marry, but can lead you out of the marriage just as fast when things get tough."

Although young people often embrace traditional religious ideas to combat the influence of excessive individualism in the culture, they want to construct marriages that are more flexible than in the past, according to Ms. Coontz. But it's a slippery slope, she says. "Once you start tinkering with the kind of set-in-stone beliefs that used to keep people in the same marriages and at the same jobs for most of their lives, where do you draw the line?"

Sounds like building a house on sand, to use personal conviction rather than religious (or civil) tradition to stabilize a marriage. I'd like to hear from Dan or Rachel on this one if they don't mind.