Check out some of the most relevant articles and news stories for Millennial readers that hit the web last week!
Christian Caryl lauds President Bush’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which was announced in his 2003 inaugural address and has provided $44 billion in aid to help combat this pernicious, deadly disease. Many millions of lives have been saved since the creation of PEPFAR, and the program has earned the respect and support of many in Africa. Unfortunately cuts to the program loom large. As Caryl notes, “…the Obama administration is aiming to slash our commitment to this most potent form of smart diplomacy just at the moment when the possibility of wiping out this horrific disease is finally in sight.”
Pope Benedict XVI was a prolific author, and his first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, was about love. The Pope made it clear in this encyclical that “not only is the Catholic Church not opposed to sexual love, to the contrary it alone truly understands it and fully promotes it.” Milbank goes on to state, “the Pope has proved himself capable of linking the personal with the political. What humans yearn for is inter-personal love. But the extension of this through tempered measures of organisation committed to social justice and fraternity is the key to the arrival of a global loving community.”
Anne-Marie Slaughter highlights a study undertaken at the University of Pennsylvania that shows that graduates in their business school were “significantly less likely to expect to have children” than the graduates of 1992. Much of this stems from financial considerations, where people feel they must choose between a rich family life and a successful career. As Slaughter acknowledges, “In countries like France and Scandinavia, where governments bend over backwards to make it as easy as possible to have both careers and families, with generous leaves, affordable daycare, and financial incentives, the birthrate has been moving back upward. In countries where governments make it difficult, the birthrates are falling precipitously.” However, she notes that this study doesn’t capture changing perspectives as people age and hopes that people understand not only the challenges but the incredible joy of raising children.
Ross Douthat writes about how American politics has shifted from the use of language intended to attract Catholic voters by both the right and the left during JP2’s papacy to Randian economic attacks from the right and “strident social liberalism” from the left. Part of this, he believes, is due to the Church sexual abuse scandal, and part of this is due to the elite political class. He states, “Even in a more unchurched America, a synthesis of social conservatism and more egalitarian-minded economic policies could have a great deal of mass appeal. But our elites seem mostly relieved to stop paying lip service to the Catholic synthesis: professional Republicans are more libertarian than their constituents, professional Democrats are more secular than their party’s rank-and-file, and professional centrists get their encyclicals from Michael Bloomberg rather than the Vatican.”
Lawler draws from Douthat’s article above and further breaks down the reason for the decline of Catholic influence in American politics. He argues it is due to increased libertarianism in both parties. As he explains, “The Republican party embraces a too-oligarchic or ‘individualistic’ view of human liberty. Catholic thought in America has been friendly to unions, the family wage, and indispensable social (including governmental) safety nets. And Catholics have never said the New Deal is unconstitutional. Too many Republican theorists and donors, at least, think that the Catholic idea of ‘social justice’ is simply an oxymoron. The Democratic party embraces a too-permissive or ‘individualistic’ view of personal liberty on issues such as marriage, the family, abortion, children, and the place of relational virtue in general in the public square. The Democratic party, until the mid-Sixties, was, I can remember, actually the more pro-family or pro-‘solidarity’ party.”