David Brooks penned one of his typically interesting essays yesterday at the New York Times. Interesting, but not persuasive. In the first instance, the binary choice between socialism and democratic capitalism which he calls a "contest of historic visions" is simplistic. Our American approach to modernity is not the same as that of post-war Europe because our American political life was unleavened by Catholic Social Teaching in the way Germany and Italy were. But, the bigger problem with Brooks' piece is his apparent conviction that the problem we face today is that Americans have "lost faith" in the American proposition and that this is a somewhat recent development. The seeds were planted in the Reformation and Brooks should be made to read from start to finish Brad Gregory's "The Unintended Reformation." Besides, we should put faith not in ourselves, nor in our stars, but in God. With those caveats, I commend Brooks' piece, and the Lilla column he also cites. Both men continue to raise important issues that warrant reflection and analysis.
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In This Issue
- Talk of Latinos' potential political clout dominates La Raza gathering
- Editorial: Pope Francis' exhortation to walk on the margins makes us squirm
- Philippine church takes lead on Francis' environmental encyclical
- Special Section Preview: Social Justice
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by Joshua J. McElwee NCR Today