Who was Henry Shoemaker?

In speaking to Penn State students earlier this month on “Inspiriting Mount Nittany,” I mentioned Henry W. Shoemaker, Pennsylvania’s first folklorist. I thought I’d share a bit more about him, because his life was remarkable not only in Pennsylvania history, but for its lessons about the value of human beings sharing stories with one another…

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American moral consensus

David Carlin writes that strong societies used to require a common religion: Once upon a time, everybody believed that if a society was to cohere it had to have a common religion. And thus kings and other rulers had little choice but to persecute heretics; for heretics, like criminals and political rebels, were great disturbers of…

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Janmot’s soulful eulogy

Louis Janmot’s “The Poem of the Soul” series is incredible. I discovered it after first encountering “The Wrong Path”: What did Janmot paint this series, and what is he trying to convey in this arresting and ominous scene? In short, he was responding as a Christian to the dechristening of 19th century France: Janmot has…

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‘Unfinished justice’ and charity

Bradley J. Birzer’s on Russell Kirk’s “unfinished justice”: When Russell Amos Augustine Kirk passed away in April 1994, he had begun what would have become, most likely, a rather large book. While it might not have joined the ranks of The Conservative Mind or The Roots of American Order in size, it almost certainly would…

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What’s a ‘smart’ city?

Bruce Sterling writes on “smart cities”: Rome and London are two huge, sluggish beasts of cities that have outlived millennia of eager reformers. They share a world where half the people already live in cities and another couple billion are on their way into town. The population is aging quickly, the current infrastructure must crumble…

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Scenes leaving State College

As I was driving back to Philadelphia last Thursday morning after my “Inspiriting Mount Nittany” talk, I snapped these photos during periods of traffic slow-down along Route 322, leaving State College. I left town at 7:15. It was a beautiful, slightly damp, and slightly fog-enveloped morning:

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Founders Day

Today is Founders Day at Penn State, when students, alumni, and townspeople celebrate figures like Evan and Rebecca Pugh, Frederick Watts, James Irvin, George Atherton, and so many others who figured prominently in the creation of what became Pennsylvania’s land grant university. I’m not in State College, but I shot this clip of Old Main…

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Remembering Michael Novak

Yesterday I wrote about knowing Ben Novak for ten years, and toasting to his 75th birthday. Today I’m sharing the program from a program honoring his brother Michael at Catholic University of America here in Washington, DC: A Legacy of Faith and Reason: Honoring Michael Novak Join the Busch School of Business and Economics for…

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Ben Novak’s 75th birthday

Ben Novak celebrated his 75th birthday on February 14th at home in Ave Maria, Florida, and this evening, at La Chaumière on M Street in Georgetown, I’ll be with Ben and family and friends for what I’m sure will be a night of joyful stories, memories, and mirth. I first met Ben in 2008. At the…

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‘New men’

A great and strong passage from Archbishop Charles J. Chaput’s recent remarks in Phoenix, Arizona, specifically on “sex and the ‘new man’”: Now because I made such a big deal about the importance of memory, some of you will remember that I also promised to talk about sex and the making of the “new man.”…

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