The Washington Times reviews Mary Eberstadt's book, Adam and Eve After the Pill: Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution and recommends it:
A keen social observer, Mrs. Eberstadt pinpoints two intriguing examples of what Nietzsche called the “trans-valuation of values,” that is, the moral culture of a post-Christian society. She discusses the way in which food has replaced sex as a new arena of taboos. Similarly, she draws attention to the parallels between erstwhile arguments for tobacco and current defenses of pornography.
Like tobacco, pornography is an addictive substance defended by consumers and marketed by producers as a harmless choice that affects only the individual. Just as tobacco companies eventually succeeded in marketing cigarettes to women, “Big Porn” seeks to overcome market gender imbalance by targeting females, linking “its product pitch to the image of the modern, liberated, cool woman.”
Acknowledging that “it’s hard to imagine wanting to believe anything more than the notion that one can enjoy sex on any terms without penalty,” Mrs. Eberstadt presents a powerful argument that a less ideologically driven compassion would allow our society to recognize the sexual revolution’s human costs. She concludes by reflecting on the startling prescience of the 1968 papal encyclical “Humanae Vitae,” which is often reviled for upholding traditional Christian moral teaching.
In this concise, elegantly written book, Mrs. Eberstadt marries brilliant analytical power with wry wit. By sensitively and honestly depicting the ironies of the sexual revolution, “Adam and Eve After the Pill” makes an enormous contribution to understanding both modern moral culture and the significance of current political debates.
Read the entire review. Brandon Vogt also reviews the book on "The Thin Veil" blog, writing:
The book makes clear why so many people are second-guessing the Pill today. Many now see how the increase in divorce, pornography, and unhappiness, and the prevalence of abortion, date rapes, hookups, and binge drinking all flow directly from the sexual revolution.
Adam and Eve After the Pill shows how in the end, the Pill and its revolution did not help women—or men for that matter. Its legacy is overwhelmingly negative and has left pain, sadness, and death in its wake.
Also see Brandon's review of Indivisible: Restoring Faith, Family and Freedom Before It's Too Late by Jay Richards and James Robison, which he describes quite accurately, and positively, as "a sort of 'mere conservatism'".
Robert Woods, writing on his blog, "Musings of a Christian Humanist", makes the connection between three umpires in a bar and the work of the French Thomist, Etienne Gilson:
The umpires are discussing the relationship between the pitching of the ball and the calling of said pitch by the umpire. It goes like this:
1) When it comes to making calls behind the home plate, I call it the way it is....
2) When it comes to making calls behind home plate, I call it the way I see it....
3) When it comes to making calls behind home plate, it ain't nothing until I call it....
Those of us who have played or enjoyed the game of baseball get the import of this conversation. The truth is that it is easy to hear what each is saying and recognize the legitimacy of their respective claim. Additionally, it is also realitvely easy to extrapolate from their statements and expand them to the point of seeing how wrong they are in their claim.
1) Is it possible that this umpire would ever admit to being wrong?
2) Is the reality of the ball and strike rooted in the perception of the umpire?
3) What if the pitcher threw the ball twenty feet over the catcher's head and it struck the press box and the umpire called it a strike, it would be, but he would be fired--why?
In steps Etienne Gilson and the "umpire" I would want calling the game. The recent re-publication of his short masterpiece, Methodical Realsim is must reading for all baseball and softball officials, and it should be for all thinking people.
Methodical Realism: A Handbook for Beginning Realists was republished by Ignatius Press last fall. Woods' blog has lots of great material on the Great Books and about authors such as Christopher Dawson, T. S. Eliot, and Josef Pieper. In fact, he has a helpful reading list of Pieper books, which he introduces in this way:
It is not common that a person would recommend a Philosopher to help you stay sane, but with the writings of Josef Pieper, if you have ever read even one of his books, you are likely to agree with me. He is certainly different from other philosophers. I have a friend, Philosophy professor who wrote his dissertation on a Philosopher who penned books that usually topped several hundred pages. Pieper's books are often less than 150 pages. The truth is that he says more in less space than most say in more space. Most Philosophers I know have to throw around words like ontological, noetic, hermeneutical epistemology, and occasional neologism, fourteensyllablewordhereandthere. Pieper was not that way and for the non-technical reader, this is a joy.
Pieper is indeed a joy. For more about his life and work, visit his Ignatius Insight author page.
Finally, a recent post by Matthew Anger on the Ronald Knox Society of North America site shows just how timeless the brilliant Knox continues to be:
In a recent blog post, Catholic philosopher Edward Feser discusses the interaction of faith and reason. According to traditional theology, the better the natural soil, the easier it is for the supernatural to take root. Along these lines, Feser offers the paradox that the old pagan is closer to the faith than the modern agnostic. He refers to the "idea of what Aquinas called the praeambula fidei – the preambles of faith, by which philosophy opens the door for revelation." But for a few Christians this creates a problem. "Like the Pharisee who scorns the sincere piety and virtue of the Samaritan, some Christians scorn natural theology and natural law as impious or at least questionable. They... despise human nature, and with it any non-Christian understanding of God and morality, as altogether corrupt and without value...."
In a series of sermons collected in The Hidden Stream: Mysteries of the Christian Faith Msgr. Knox addresses this same topic. He speaks not only of the intellectual or philosophical "preambles" to the faith, but even non-Christian spiritual practices which prepared individuals for the new religion. The English priest offers the view that "Divine Providence encouraged the human mind to develop these myths, these fantasies, these mumbo-jumbo ceremonies, precisely so that the human mind might be ready for the true revelation when the true revelation came." He refers, for example, to the receiving of ashes on the forehead on Ash Wednesday as reminiscent of ancient pagan purification ceremonies.
Read the entire post, which includes some fine quotes from Knox, including this line: "Comparative religion is an admirable recipe for making people comparatively religious." Visit www.Ignatius.com for more about The Hidden Stream; or visit Ignatius Insight to read an excerpt from the book: