Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Why Are You Here?

 

shutterstock_347085554No, I don’t mean on Ricochet. I mean here, on this Earth. That might sound like an esoteric question, but it comes from a very grounded (no pun intended) belief that we live a richer life when we know — in our hearts and minds — what we are placed on this Earth to do. And you don’t need to be religious to explore this life issue for yourself.

Over 20 years ago, I began to explore this question and found I was actually asking myself the meaning of having a personal mission statement. I had already begun my Buddhist practice, and I realized that one of the goals of Buddhism was to relieve suffering. More than that, I suddenly knew that my goal was not just to relieve my own suffering, but the suffering of others.

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Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review cross their fingers and hope that the South Carolina primary will lead to fewer GOP candidates going forward. They also slam two major school districts in Northern Virginia that are cancelling school on Super Tuesday to avoid congestion at polling places, but we explain why it’s good for kids to be there on Election Day. And we wade into the Pope vs. Trump debate.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Donald or The Francis?

 

From the front page of the New York Times online at this very hour:

ABOARD THE PAPAL AIRLINER — Inserting himself into the Republican presidential race, Pope Francis on Wednesday suggested that Donald J. Trump“is not Christian” because of the harshness of his campaign promises to deport more immigrants and force Mexico to pay for a wall along the border.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Atheism in the Ancient World

 

“New atheism,” writes Peter Jones in his review of Tim Whitmarsh‘s Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World,

is now all the rage. In his beautifully written and highly persuasive account of the origins of atheism in the West, Tim Whitmarsh, who holds the A G Leventis Chair of Greek Culture in Cambridge, rightly denies that this phenomenon is ‘new’ in any significant sense. Modern atheists, he suggests, merely wish to claim atheism as another triumph for the advance of rationalism and science; believers, meanwhile, want to portray it as the consequence of Western decadence. In fact, both sides are doing little more than reheating arguments that go back 2,500 years to the ancient Greeks. …

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Philanthropy is a $360 billion business. It’s also an example of American exceptionalism, says Karl Zinsmeister, author of The Almanac of American Philanthropy, a big book (more than 1300 pages), just published by the Philanthropy Roundtable.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Zinsmeister explains why Americans give more than people in other countries, whether small donors can make big differences, and why private philanthropy is essential to freedom.

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Greg Corombos of Radio America and Ian Tuttle of National Review welcome a new Gallup survey showing more states have a distinct tilt towards Republicans than Democrats, a massive change since 2008. They also rip Pres. Obama for speaking at a mosque with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, praising Muslims without mentioning the problem of radicalism and once again lecturing Americans about how intolerant we are. And we start to feel bad for Jeb Bush as he actually tells a town hall crowd to clap after one of his answers.

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Daniel Oppenheimer is no conservative, but he’s fascinated by the political conversions of people who’ve moved rightward over time, such as Whittaker Chambers, James Burnham, Ronald Reagan, Norman Podhoretz, David Horowitz, and Christopher Hitchens — and now he’s written a book about them, Exit Right: The People Who Left the Left and Reshaped the American Century.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Oppenheimer talks about how he became interested in their stories, what his subjects share in common, and whether he — a self-described leftist — is a target for conservative conversion.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Can Religion Be Empirical?

 

JamesLet empiricism once become associated with religion, as hitherto, through some strange misunderstanding, it has been associated with irreligion, and I believe that a new era of religion as well as of philosophy will be ready to begin. — William James

Empiricism is the theory that we get knowledge through experience. As James notes above, it’s usually associated with things like science, reason, skepticism, and irreligious attitudes. Religion is more often associated with faith (usually thought to be separate from reason), dogmatism, and Rationalism, the view that knowledge comes from reason rather than experience. Are these associations accurate?

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Get Over Yourself

 

shutterstock_316021166Finally! An academic research grant I can get behind! From Quartz:

Self-obsessed people who just can’t “get over themselves” hardly sound like a subject worthy of academic research. But Candace Vogler, from the University of Chicago, and Jennifer Frey, from the University of South Carolina, disagree. The importance of “getting over yourself” — or self-transcendence — is key to their major 28-month project on virtue, happiness, and the meaning of life. The research proposal received a $2.1-million grant from the John Templeton Foundation and unites a team of around 20 international scholars, working in philosophy, religion, and psychology.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Future: More Religion in Scary Places; Less Religion Everywhere Else

 

shutterstock_340682378When did demographics get so depressing? It really has replaced economics as the “dismal science.” But at least with economics, you get market-based prices and (often) a tax cut. Demographics, as this recent study shows, is pretty much endless bad news:

People who are religiously unaffiliated (including self-identifying atheists and agnostics, as well as those who say their religion is “nothing in particular”) made up 16.4% of the world’s population in 2010. Unaffiliated populations have been growing in North America and Europe, leading some to expect that this group will grow as a share of the world’s population. However, such forecasts overlook the impact of demographic factors, such as fertility and the large, aging unaffiliated population in Asia.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Reality TV Star Endorses Reality TV Star

 

trump_palin-copy-800x430Sarah Palin, the host of “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” and “Amazing America with Sarah Palin,” has endorsed the star of “The Apprentice” and “The Celebrity Apprentice”:

“I’m proud to endorse Donald J. Trump for president,” Ms. Palin said in a statement provided by his campaign.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. An Interview with the Director of “The Young Messiah”

 

The movie 13 Hours opens this weekend, prompting this comment on Wednesday’s The Rush Limbaugh Show:

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

David French and I are very different kinds of conservatives, but I have enormous respect for him: he’s a passionate and eloquent writer, and his work regarding his experiences in Iraq and on the Second Amendment are arresting, in the very best sense. Even when I disagree with him on other matters, he’s always sharp […]

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Member Post

 

In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis said that we don’t need Christian leaders or doctors or teachers — we need leaders, doctors, and teachers who are Christian and live that way themselves. I am a fervent, practicing Evangelical (we go to what was John Piper’s home, a Baptist church in Minneapolis) who does not see a […]

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Greg Corombos of Radio America and Ian Tuttle of National Review applaud Taya Kyle for pointing out the Obama hypocrisy on guns and explaining why we need the right to keep and bear arms. They also shudder as terrorism arrests in the U.S. show more holes in our refugee screening. And they scold Mike Huckabee for claiming evangelicals aren’t with him this time because he will address abortion and marriage and they just want the issues to raise money.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Obama’s Abortion Pill Mandate Sham Is No “Accommodation”

 

shutterstock_133423673-e1444998785546Several religious non-profit organizations — including Christian colleges, the Little Sisters of the Poor, and Priests for Life — filed their opening brief Monday with the US Supreme Court in a highly-anticipated challenge to the Obama administration’s abortion-pill mandate and the sham “accommodation” it offers religious non-profits.

The Department of Health and Human Services mandate forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception through their health plans under threat of heavy penalties. Alliance Defending Freedom clients Geneva College in Pennsylvania and the four universities in Oklahoma – Southern Nazarene University, Oklahoma Wesleyan University, Oklahoma Baptist University, and Mid-America Christian University – specifically object to providing abortifacients.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Are We Really “Conservatives?”

 
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Is this really us?

Ricochet is home to a lot of debates; typically among those of us on who identify with the Political Right. As a matter of convenience, we call ourselves “conservatives” and our opponents “liberals.” Much has been written about the derivation of these terms and how they came to be in common usage today. I don’t want to re-hash that history lesson. I’m more interested in figuring out if we here are actually conservatives or if we are … something else.

My Random House Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines “conservative” as: “Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., and to restore traditional ones, and to limit change — or — cautiously moderate.” Certainly, there are plenty of people at Ricochet who want to restore traditional institutions. There’s nothing wrong with that per se; there have been some great and admirable times in the nation’s past. There have also been terrible times which are best remembered with a shudder and fear. As to the rest of the definition? I’m not buying it.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Words of Wisdom for Bernie and Donald from Aristotle

 

Aristotle

“For in democracies which are subject to the law the best citizens hold the first place, and there are no demagogues; but where the laws are not supreme, there demagogues spring up. For the people becomes a monarch, and is many in one; and the many have the power in their hands, not as individuals, but collectively. Homer says that ‘it is not good to have a rule of many,’ but whether he means this corporate rule, or the rule of many individuals, is uncertain. At all events this sort of democracy, which is now a monarch, and no longer under the control of law, seeks to exercise monarchical sway, and grows into a despot; the flatterer is held in honor; this sort of democracy being relatively to other democracies what tyranny is to other forms of monarchy. The spirit of both is the same, and they alike exercise a despotic rule over the better citizens. The decrees of the demos correspond to the edicts of the tyrant; and the demagogue is to the one what the flatterer is to the other. Both have great power; the flatterer with the tyrant, the demagogue with democracies of the kind which we are describing. The demagogues make the decrees of the people override the laws, by referring all things to the popular assembly. And therefore they grow great, because the people have an things in their hands, and they hold in their hands the votes of the people, who are too ready to listen to them. Further, those who have any complaint to bring against the magistrates say, ‘Let the people be judges’; the people are too happy to accept the invitation; and so the authority of every office is undermined. Such a democracy is fairly open to the objection that it is not a constitution at all; for where the laws have no authority, there is no constitution.”

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