In 1929, Walter Lippmann published “A Preface to Morals.” I have forgotten to whom I loaned my copy, but there is one phrase from that work that I committed to memory the moment I read it. Lippmann wrote of the “acids of modernity” which eroded not only belief, but the disposition to believe. He went on, unsuccessfully, to ground a new basis for morals seeing as the older, more traditional sources of moral authority had fallen into disrepute, holding out the hope of “disinterestedness” as the basis of his moral vision.
The December unemployment report came out this morning, and the initial estimate is that the economy added 155,000 new jobs, which is good but not great.
Pope Benedict XVI's World day of Peace Message is gaining a lot of traction. Here is an essay from John Gehring at Faith in Public Life.
Peter Berkowitz looks at the upcoming Israeli elections and the changing landscape of threats that face that nation in this essay at Real Clear Politics. Berkowitz is one of the smartest people on the planet, and his assessments, politically and morally, are on-target.
Over at America, Meghan Clark has a very thoughtful essay on the victims of Hurricane Sandy and the difference between tragedy and injustice.
The Republican Party faces a fundamental decision in the coming weeks. Will it accept the burden of government or will it serve as a vehicle for an ideological agenda that is not shared by most Americans or by the Democrats who control the Senate and the White House?
Few writers are as gifted as the New Yorker's Rick Hertzberg. Here is one of his finest essays, dealing with the politics of gun control in the wake of the Newtown murders.
The Holy Father's World Day of Peace Message is stunning in many ways, but this is the paragraph that jumped out at me:
In 1932, after his election to the presidency, Franklin Delano Roosevelt asked Frances Perkins to come to Washington and join his Cabinet as Secretary of Labor. The two knew each other well, having worked together in Albany during Roosevelt’s tenure as Governor of New York, which was then the largest state in the country. Perkins said that she would only take the post if the President would commit to a range of issues, such as Social Security.
This year, the annual March for Life will be held on January 25, not the 22nd, so as not to conflict with the inauguration of President Obama on the 21st. As always, Democrats for Life will be hosting an informal breakfast before the March, and then head down to the national mall together. This year, the group will be meeting at Catholic University's Pryzbyla Center for breakfast at 9:30. Then, they will grab the metro down to the March.