Tuesday, May 25, 2010
"Across Western Europe, the 'lifestyle superpower,' the assumptions and gains of a lifetime are suddenly in doubt. The deficit crisis that threatens the euro has also undermined the sustainability of the European standard of social welfare, built by left-leaning governments since the end of World War II."
Finally, a breath of fresh air for capitalists and a strong dose of reality for European socialists. For years, Europeans have boasted of their milk and honey welfare programs with early retirements and generous pensions. But with aging populations and rising budget deficits, it looks like their social welfare programs are finally catching up to them economically. While the rest of the financial world holds their breath, Europe is perched precariously on the cliff of economic disaster and might fall if they don't make changes soon. Read all the numbers and the rest of the NY Times story here.
From Europe to America, this story segues perfectly into a separate piece written by Arthur Brooks about the ongoing tug-of-war between free enterprise and government control in American culture. Read that story here.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
CNN's Jack Cafferty reported on the poll and asked the audience, "So what's wrong with us?"
I don't know what's more sad, reading the actual poll numbers, or hearing commentators wonder why morality is declining. Predictably, they will point to a wide variety of issues: failing education systems, breakdowns in the family, dishonesty in business, and drug and alcohol abuse. Yet, these feel good, psychology 101 answers all skirt the real issue, the loss of religion in America.
Since the beginning of Western thinking, religion and morality were inextricably interwined. From Plato to Aquinas, philosophers have wrestled with the relationship between the two. In a discussion of morality, to ignore religion is to ignore the verb of a sentence.
Is it mere coincidence that morality has slipped hand in hand with church attendence? According to a separate Gallup poll, only 41.6% of Americans reported that they attended church at least once a week or almost every week in 2009 (around 123 million Americans). A sad, but telling statistic for where America's morality lies.
By comparison, movie theater attendence jumped nearly 16% in 2009 according to the NY Times. If you want to see where America's priorities lie, look at the culture. Between sports, music, and television, religion has taken a backseat to entertainment. One can only hope that Americans will reconnect the dots between morality and religion. For as a scholar once said (and this quote is usally incorrectly attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville), "America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great."
Monday, May 10, 2010
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
A reader emailed a rebuttal to my post to NRO, which they published, followed by another reader's response to that. The whole conversation happened HERE. I know my reply won't make it back to NRO, but I'd like to address the first rebuttal of my argument here for all you kind souls who came back to my blog. The respondent said the following about my post:
The total number of students enrolled in US colleges and universities is about 15 million (that's only undergrads, http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/school.html); 325 of those are at Patrick Henry College. If the number of college deaths at Patrick Henry College exactly equaled the national average, it would be 0.02 per 5 years (based on the 857 number your PHC student refers to), or one every 50 years. I'm fine with private colleges setting whatever rules they want for their students, but if this is the best defense he can come up with for the rules imposed by Patrick Henry College, which include martial-law features like a curfew, his case is pretty weak.First, I admitted candidly in my post that the statistics do not line up on a purely mathematical basis. Patrick Henry College has 300+ students; UVA has closer to 30,000. The purpose of the post was to offer insight from my personal experience into the value systems of Patrick Henry College and why we are different from a majority of college campuses. I chose deaths as the statistic of comparison because that was the topic of the UVA news story, unfortunately. I might add that STDs and drugs are almost nonexistent at PHC and that only a handful of students are sexually active -- a very real, healthy difference that you won't find statistics on.
Second, the college's curfew is anything but martial-law. In fact, I live off campus. There are no curfew restrictions on me, but if I plan on visiting campus at 3 am I can expect the doors to be locked and a security guard to let me in. Those in their junior year or 21-years and older are not subject to curfew either. They can come and go as they please, but they aren't allowed into dorms of the opposite sex after curfew hours.
Despite what the Harvard student insuates, the rules at PHC are not Draconian. They are calculated to protect the student body and be flexible enough to look out for their best interests. The larger point here is not the rules-based society but the Christian culture. The ethos at PHC respects life, property, and morals and as a collective we hold each other to a higher Biblical standard. If you want to see real, breathing statistics come visit the school. I promise you will notice a difference.
Monday, May 3, 2010
In less than two weeks from today I will graduate from Patrick Henry College and finish four years of my undergraduate. Looking back, I can remember a lot of the typical college experiences– late night studying, spring break road trips, and nights out with your friends. I’m fortunate to say that I was never involved or associated in one particular college trend in all of my four years – violence or murder.
Having personally known one of the girls shot at Virginia Tech on April 16th, 2007, my heart breaks every time I hear of college-related violence and the pointless death of innocent students.
Today, my heart goes out to the family of Yeardley Love, a 22-year-old lacrosse player and student at the University of Virginia, murdered yesterday by her on-and-off 22-year-old boyfriend.
The thought of such a tragedy makes me wonder why my experience at college has been so different from a majority of the campuses across America. In four years, my school has not had a single murder, suicide, or violent crime.
Considering that the USA Today calculated 857 college student deaths from 2000 to 2005, how does one school manage to escape unscathed? It’s certainly not chance or luck. For Patrick Henry College, it’s in our Christian culture.
Critics mock us for our strict rules – like no dancing or drinking on campus, no members of the opposite sex permitted in your dorm room, nightly curfew hours – and the lack of a social atmosphere it creates. We have been the subject of books (God’s Harvard), television shows, op-eds, and countless blogs who rant against our brand of overbearing right-wing Christianity that poisons society’s freedom.
Yet, what is the cost of students being able to “express” themselves? Is that freedom worth the cost of drunk driving deaths, drug related violence, and love affairs turned fatal?
I’m certainly not saying that Christians are not capable of committing the same, if not worse crimes. But the culture of Christianity and the rules we hold ourselves to at Patrick Henry lay substantial roadblocks to violent or illegal behavior.
Granted, our entire school population would be one or two classes at UVA, but the fact remains that Patrick Henry College has it’s own recipe for student safety that is active and working. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve broken the college’s rules, but as I look back, I realize that in many ways those same laws saved me from myself.
Non-Christians who are reading this right now are sure to be shaking their heads at me. How can you use one unfortunate crime to wave your rules over our heads and try to enforce your agenda on us? I understand that many people are turned off by Christianity and its giant “rulebook.” But as the number of college related attacks and crimes rise, and as more campuses are scarred with senseless deaths, I hope universities will consider the facts before them and realize that there is a way to prevent future heartbreaks – commit to enforcing tough, moral laws and foster a community of students who want to uphold those laws.