Around the Web

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

What I Know About Married Bliss I Learned From My Husband’s Twin by Michal Leibowitz: “Secular American culture puts the self and self-fulfillment at the center of life. That emphasis, already ubiquitous by the 1960s and ’70s, continues to transform all areas of life; it’s become difficult, for example, to make any argument in a public sphere that doesn’t appeal to the ultimate good of one’s own happiness. But in viewing couplehood mostly as a vehicle for individual self-fulfillment, we’ve lost the thing at the core of the romantic ideal of marriage: we.”

In search of clarity and fresh air, roller skating into the new year by Christine Emba: “I remember skating as a child, aimlessly cruising around the neighborhood and the feeling of going downhill: knees bent, gaining speed, thrilling to the rumble of the pavement and nothing else. When was the last time I had a mind that clear? In 2023, that clarity is the goal. And I encourage you to join me in this pursuit — on wheels or off.”

What’s the matter with Portland? Shootings, theft and other crime test city’s progressive strain by Jenny Jarvie: “Flora Gonzalez, who lives on the north side of the street, is distressed about conditions in the historically blue-collar neighborhood. The 40-year-old package handler for FedEx said that people have openly dealt drugs and urinated on the sidewalk outside her family’s duplex. They’ve dumped feces and used syringes in her manicured yard, played booming music at 3 a.m. and stripped stolen cars for parts. Shots have been fired behind her children’s bedroom.”

The Temptations of the ‘Personal Brand’ by Tish Harrison Warren: “To reduce ourselves to brands, however, is to do violence to our personhood. We turn ourselves into products, content to be evaluated instead of people to be truly known and loved.”

America Has Gone Too Far in Legalizing Vice by Matthew Loftus: “If life is a series of contracts we enter into freely, then there’s no reason to keep potential harms off our smartphone or out of storefront dispensaries. However, this way of seeing the world overlooks the fact that our hearts and minds are shaped not only by reason but also by our experiences, affections, and, most important, our habits, which are just as often inexplicably self-destructive as they are reasonable.”

Mourning ‘Compassionate Conservatism’ Along With Its Author by Peter Baker: “The most tangible legacy of compassionate conservatism had been highlighted just two nights earlier in the State of the Union address when President Biden hailed the 20th anniversary of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, conceived and initiated by Mr. Bush and Mr. Gerson. PEPFAR is credited with saving more than 25 million lives in Africa and around the world, a generation of people that would otherwise have been wiped out.”

American conservatives don’t understand the late Pope Benedict’s legacy by Michael Sean Winters: “What these three conservative voices miss is that for all the differences of style and approach, all popes do their best to articulate a Catholic response to the challenges of their times, not a liberal or conservative one. These would-be defenders of the Ratzingerian legacy ignore the obvious points of continuity between Benedict and Francis.”

The Key to Success in College Is So Simple, It’s Almost Never Mentioned by Jonathan Malesic: “The willingness to learn is related to the growth mind-set — the belief that your abilities are not fixed but can improve. But there is a key difference: This willingness is a belief not primarily about the self but about the world. It’s a belief that every class offers something worthwhile, even if you don’t know in advance what that something is. Unfortunately, big economic and cultural obstacles stand in opposition to that belief.”

What We Know About How to Save Kids’ Lives by Nicholas Kristof: “Hunger and loss make up a kaleidoscope in Somalia, but one scene stands out in my visit: A mom, Fardosa Ahmed, confides shyly that she had eight children but lost four of them, and now she fears she may lose a fifth, her daughter Catiko, who is sick, weak and motionless. The tremble in Fardosa’s voice offers a reminder of the prospective human cost of the famine that, as I wrote in my last column, is looming this spring. United Nations officials are warning as loudly as they can about this impending catastrophe, which reflects the conjunction of two global forces driven by the West — and it’ll be up to us to choose which prevails.”

In Post-Roe World, These Conservatives Embrace a New Kind of Welfare by Dana Goldstein: “Sending cash to parents, with few strings attached. Expanding Medicaid. Providing child care subsidies to families earning six figures. The ideas may sound like part of a progressive platform. But they are from an influential group of conservative intellectuals with a direct line to elected politicians.”

Even a Little Alcohol Can Harm Your Health by Dana G. Smith: “After decades of confusing and sometimes contradictory research (too much alcohol is bad for you but a little bit is good; some types of alcohol are better for you than others; just kidding, it’s all bad), the picture is becoming clearer: Even small amounts of alcohol can have health consequences. Research published in November revealed that between 2015 and 2019, excessive alcohol use resulted in roughly 140,000 deaths per year in the United States. About 40 percent of those deaths had acute causes, like car crashes, poisonings and homicides. But the majority were caused by chronic conditions attributed to alcohol, such as liver disease, cancer and heart disease. When experts talk about the dire health consequences linked to excessive alcohol use, people often assume that it’s directed at individuals who have an alcohol use disorder. But the health risks from drinking can come from moderate consumption as well.”

Review: Sargent Shriver and the ‘Catholic streak’ that modern politics needs by Tom Deignan: “In Spiritualizing Politics Without Politicizing Religion, a compelling, substantive new book, James R. Price and Kenneth R. Melchin argue that we need Shriver’s “Catholic streak” now more than ever to break through what they call the “fog of the contemporary culture wars” and serve as ‘a stark contrast to the contemporary political realism associated with Thomas Hobbes.’”

A new bill would ban anyone under 16 from using social media by Cristiano Lima: “A growing number of U.S. policymakers and federal officials are angling to keep children and young teenagers off social media entirely, citing mounting concerns that the platforms may harm their well-being and mental health. It’s a notable escalation in the rhetoric around keeping kids safe online, which has largely focused on setting new digital protections.”

Ismail Mashal: Taliban arrests Afghan professor who backed girls’ education by Tiffany Wertheimer: “Prof Ismail Mashal was detained on Thursday while handing out free books. He rose to prominence after he tore up his academic records live on television in protest against the Taliban’s ban on university and secondary school education for women and girls.”