Public Discourse

A Lament on the Declining Quality of Public Discourse

In view of the two recent presidential debates I find these words of Plato remarkable: They think they are having not a quarrel but a conversation, because they are unable to examine what has been said by dividing it up according to its forms. Hence, they pursue mere verbal contradictions of what has been said … Read more

Logic: What’s Missing from Public Discourse

What often passes for public discourse in contemporary society is really just a simulacrum, an imitation, of real “discourse” in the sense of a “reasoned exchange of ideas.”  One realizes before long how much we are suffering from the current lack of that key ingredient within all older forms of liberal arts education: namely, logic. … Read more

Why Silencing Christians will Continue

The number of subjects we cannot talk about in public discourse are rapidly multiplying. The older notion of “free speech” as a search for the truth through reasonable argument is being replaced. We no longer want to hear speech if it “offends” someone’s feelings or self-defined identity. We would rather “just get along” than to … Read more

A Catholic Response to the Demise of Rational Public Discourse

To follow the news today is to get the impression that public life, in the sense of rational discussion oriented toward some reasonable understanding of the common good, has come to an end. Everyone notices the partisanship, the bad faith, the indifference to truth, and the substitution of entertainment for hard news. Catholics in particular … Read more

‘Why We Can’t Help But Legislate Morality’

Over at the Public Discourse, Micah Watson argues that the “you can’t legislate morality” argument in politics is one of the most specious around: The governing authority’s power to pass and enforce laws takes account of the beastly side of human nature while holding that some wrongs are so fundamental that they demand a robust … Read more

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