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Religion & Liberty Article Listing

Science and the Environment

R&L: With the world-wide decline of socialism, many individuals think that the environmental movement may be the next great threat to freedom. Do you agree?

Ray: Yes, I do, and I'll tell you why. It became evident to me when I attended the worldwide Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro last June. The International Socialist Party, which is intent upon continuing to press countries into socialism, is now headed up by people within the United Nations. They are the ones in the UN environmental program, and they were the ones sponsoring the so-called Earth Summit that was attended by 178 nations.

R&L: Did you have a specific purpose in attending the Earth Summit?

Ray: I was sent there by the Free...

Environmentalism: The Newest Paganism?

In June 1991, the Presbyterian Church approved a historic statement of faith that made environmental concerns part of the official canon of the church. The 80-line prayer enumerated pollution of the planet as a sin against God, saying people “exploit neighbor and nature, and threaten death to the planet entrusted to our care.”

A month later, the Episcopal Church closed its 11-day governing session with a united call to promote ecology. Viewing pollution as a religious issue, it urged church leaders to “move forward at great speed to respond to the challenge.”

Environmentalism, it seems, has truly become a religious movement. Religious undertones and rumblings have long hinted at a “new paganism,” but now that paganism is coldly upon us. What is it about environmentalism that...

Gary Cooper, Humane Existence, and Deep Ecology

During 1990 my nation, Australia, was graced by the visits of two North American thinkers anxious to help us get our national house in order. The thinkers in question - Drs. Paul Ehrlich and David Suzuki - loom large among the stars in the radical environmentalist sky. Whilst in Australia they were asked by a television journalist anxious for a ten-second “spot” to state in twenty-five words or less the basic conviction they most would like to communicate to their “down-under” audience. Their answer was simple. “Economic growth,” they asserted, “is not the answer to the great environmental problems of our age. Economic growth is itself the key problem.”

Taking that utterance as their text, Drs. Ehrlich and Suzuki went on to deliver an impassioned homily, a homily taking the form of a list of evils allegedly spawned by economic growth: A...

Jacques Maritain

Maritain nació en París en 1882. Estudió en la Universidad de París, donde fue enormemente influido por el filósofo Henri Bergson, quien destruyó su escepticismo filosófico, y por el ensayista y novelista Leon Bloy, quien compartió su fe Católica con él. En 1904 se casó con Raíssa Oumansoff, y juntos entraron en la iglesia Católica en 1906.

Maritain fue profesor en París, Toronto y Princeston. Además, realizó una intensa y larga carrera diplomática como embajador francés en el Vaticano y representante de...

Jacques Maritain

Maritain was born in Paris in 1882 and later studied at the University of Paris. There he came under the influence of the philosopher Henri Bergson, who destroyed his philosophical skepticism, and the essayist and novelist Leon Bloy, who shared his Catholic faith with him. He married Raíssa Oumansoff in 1904, and together in 1906 they entered the Catholic Church.

Maritain went on to hold professorial chairs in Paris, in Toronto, and at Princeton. He also had another career as a diplomat, serving for many years as French ambassador to the Vatican and French representative to UNESCO.

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After Ideology

The book asserts that modernity has reached a dead end that is the inevitable result of its own inner logic. That logic is best described as revolt against God. Here, Walsh’s debt to Eric Voeglin is evident. The modern revolt, Walsh argues, has its origins in the Gnostic claim that humans can, through a secret gnosis and an act of their own, transform themselves into the Divine. That Gnostic quest has lived on in various forms in the West, which include Comte’s positivism and Marx’s communism. Each of those movements insists on reducing reality to an ideology. Each plays on the legitimate quest for divinization that abides in the hearts of men and women but finds its perversion in the modern will to power. In rebelling against the divine order with its inherent limitations and its insistence that transcendence...

Faith and the Limitations of the State

R&L: You played a role in the international political scene at what may be known as history’s most critical hour. Are you aware of a spiritual dimension to what you participated in?

Thatcher: Yes, very much so. Freedom is a moral quality. It comes from the Old Testament and the New. It’s definitely a part of Judaism and Christianity. The talents that we have are God-given talents, therefore we have a right to use them. But, of course, you can only exercise that right under the rule of law of the state. But in the last analysis, each of us is accountable for the way in which we live our lives.

R&L: And yet, powerful voices within the religious sphere, such as in the Church of England, opposed many of your...

The Four Liberalisms

North America is a gigantic island in the world ocean, and linguistic misunderstandings between this continent and other parts of the globe are therefore frequent and numerous: To put Syria and Lebanon in the Middle East (where, then, is the Near East?) is as erroneous as the term “Holocaust” (a Hellenic sacrifice to gain the favor of the gods) for a brutal mass slaughter, not to mention the idiocy of talking about “male chauvinism.” To lump together traditional monarchists and National Socialists as “rightists” is as confusing as to label leftist semi-socialists as “liberals.” The last-mentioned error is a relatively recent one, and since I came for the first time to the United States at the tail end of the New Deal, I was a witness to the beginning of this deplorable perversion. But how did it come about?

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A Conversion in the Camps

The following is a first-person account of a man who lived through communist imprisonment, the Polish version of the 1960s, and emerged as a believer in and fighter for liberty. Adam Szostkiewics is editor of the leading religious periodical in Poland, Tycodnik Powszechny.

The altar was decorated with a Polish white and red flag, and surrounded by a few dozen bearded men; some very young, some older, the majority in their early thirties. We were a community of faith, but also of a common cause. We were proud to be there, proud and happy with the happiness of someone who has rediscovered his long-searched-for roots. The roots were an identity. We were Poles, Catholics, anti-communists.

The scene was one of many internment camps, a regular prison in the wild and beautiful...

Exploitation

One of the favorite nouns in the lexicon of critics of the free market economy is the noun “exploitation.” Its cognates–the verb “to exploit” and the adjective “exploitative”–are no less popular. Those controlling capital “exploit” men and women with only their labor to sell. Business people “exploit” consumers. Capitalist nations “exploit” lesser developed nations. On and on the sordid story goes.

Half-hearted defenders of a free market economy frequently agree, at least in part, with such criticisms. Yes, an unfettered free market economy would be characterized by such exploitation. But, thanks be, an unfettered market economy has had its day. Extensive governmental regulation of such an economy and government-backed trade unions have tamed the market economy. Such an economy’s...

Friedrich August von Hayek

Friedrich August von Hayek se hizo mundialmente famoso a raíz de la publicación en 1944 de su obra Camino de Servidumbre. Su nombre fue una referencia para el pensamiento liberal en el nuevo mundo de la economía Keynesiana. Cuando Hayek recibió el Premio Nobel de Economía en 1974, empezaba a ser asociado por toda la comunidad académica con las soluciones a las crisis causadas por la economía Keynesiana, de modo que a su muerte, casi dos décadas más tarde, Hayek no sólo era asociado con su exitoso rechazo de las teorías de Keynes, sino también con las soluciones a la extensa...

Friedrich August von Hayek

Friedrich August von Hayek è conosciuto ovunque nel mondo. Sin dalla pubblicazione di suo La via della schiavitù del 1944, il suo nome è stato un punto di riferimento per la tradizione del liberalismo classico in un mondo di economia keynesiana. Dal giorno in cui gli venne conferito il Premio Nobel in economia nel 1974 è stato sempre più affiancato alle soluzioni che intendevano rispondere alla crisi causata dall’economia keinesiana. Oggi, a dieci anni dalla sua morte, Hayek non è soltanto associato alla vincente rinuncia delle teorie keynesiane, ma anche ad una possibile alternativa al generale stato di crisi sociale e...

Friedrich August von Hayek

Friedrich August von Hayek was known all over the world. From the publication of his The Road to Serfdom in 1944, his name was a reference for passé thinking in the new world of Keynesian economics. By the time that Hayek received the Nobel Prize in Economic Science in 1974, he had become more and more associated with the solutions to the crises caused by Keynesian economics. Now, at his death almost two decades later, Hayek is not only associated with the successful repudiation of Keynes' theories, but also with the solutions to the wider social and...

The Technological Bluff

Thirty years later, Ellul still has plenty to say in The Technological Bluff, obviously because of the newer, high technologies of the computer chip and the laser beam. And he remains as negative as ever. The technological “bluff” is the implicit assumption in Western society the technological progress, if used rightly, is a good in itself, and the good will always outweigh less-welcome consequences. What has happened, Ellul contends, is that we have become slaves of “technique,” as he calls it, subservient to its survival at all costs. The idea that we can choose to rightly “use” technique is a myth. Technique, instead, uses us. This has become even more evident with the advent of an information explosion and the unbridled passion too everything in a faster way, regardless of whether or not we use our new information or the...

Morality and American Society

R&L: What role did religion or faith play in the founding of National Review in the 1950s?

Buckley: Well, it was very plain to all of my associates that I was a pro-Christian. Senior editor James Burnham was a lapsed Catholic; Willmoore Kendall, a Catholic convert; Willi Schlamm, Jewish but “pro-God;” and, of course, Whittaker Chambers was a Christian. The only event that was historically conspicuous within the annals of National Review was the resignation from the Board of Associates of Max Eastman on the grounds that we were too explicitly pro-Christian and that he, as a good faithful atheist, couldn’t take it.

R&L: What about Will Herberg? He was National Review’s religion editor.

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