Saturday, May 24, 2008

Part III: Solidarity and Sexuality

We are now in a position to see more clearly the direct interrelation between sexual ethics and human solidarity. To summarize succinctly: “Failure to live the ordo exstasis leaves unaffected the violence toward self and others.” Showing his deep connection with Benedict XVI’s thought, McAleer argues for a “politics of the family” which he finds in embryo in John Paul’s II’s thought. Let us reiterate Benedict XVI’s “politics of the family” so as to better see the close interconnection of ideas here:
This point merits special reflection: everything that serves to weaken the family based on the marriage of a man and a woman, everything that directly or indirectly stands in the way of its openness to the responsible acceptance of a new life, everything that obstructs its right to be primarily responsible for the education of its children, constitutes an objective obstacle on the road to peace.
Benedict closely weds marriage to political peace. From McAleer’s analysis we can see the close interaction between the two ideas. The goal of the political order is to “moderate the lust to dominate.” It is precisely the “hospitality” of the family, of sexual ecstasy, that allows for the moderation of the lust for domination. There is no other solution to human domination except for the one placed at the center of human flesh, the family as a fundamental institution, an “institution of hospitality counter to the city of man’s lust to dominate.” And just as the family is not structured in its governance on principles of equality, so governance in human society is founded upon the privilege granted to receptive hospitality. The foundation of society must be the gift of self.

McAleer argues that this principle is fundamentally antithetical to the principles of classical liberalism. Liberalism proposes equality, not hospitality, as the foundation of political society. Yet the inevitable trend of liberalism is rule through fiat rather than hospitality. The great fear of liberal society is that one not have more than another. There is thus an enforced “sameness” paradoxically imposed upon democratic societies that attempt to protect the “rights” of each individual. Catholic political philosophy, on the contrary, “has always been anti-utopian, an effort to moderate domination.” This is not to say that it does not aim also for peace. Domination is not in itself an evil. However, it is only through the moderation of domination that peace can be attained. Legislation founded upon this principle must not be for the sake of equality, but for the sake of hospitality. The privilege of ruling is founded upon the capacity of ecstasy, the capacity for participating in the ecstatic structure of Being.

We now come full circle back to the puzzlement many feel when coming into contact with the Church’s social teaching and sexual ethics. McAleer makes this point from the exact opposite perspective:
The tension within Catholic social thought stems from a failure on the part of Catholic social thought to develop a politics congruent with the Church’s traditional theory of the body. When thinking about the body, sex, and social order the church relies on ideas of privilege and hierarchy, yet in its consideration of the political the language shifts definitively toward rights, even if the natural law foundation of democracy is a departure from liberal thinking.
I have argued, with McAleer that, thought John Paul II often used the language of “rights,” his own theology of the body and political philosophy were intrinsically congruent. Benedict has followed in these footsteps, articulating a profound interconnection between the theology of marriage and peace in the human community:
The first form of communion between persons is that born of the love of a man and a woman who decide to enter a stable union in order to build together a new family. But the peoples of the earth, too, are called to build relationships of solidarity and cooperation among themselves, as befits members of the one human family.
The two are profoundly interrelated, insofar as they are both called upon to participate in the self-diffusive structure of being. As each member of the human community strives toward greater ecstasy according to the wounded gift-structure, he or she will be able to overcome the propensity of material individuation to absorb the Other into oneself in order to depart from his or own form into the Other. Such a profound unity is at the heart of God’s plan imprinted in the natural world. It is encountered in the third ecstatic moment – the moment following self-conservation and species-production – when rational self-government, directed toward the unity of the entire social body, humbly takes on a standard other than itself. In the resurrected body, the wound “scars as glory,” and the interpenetration of one with another becomes possible. Dostoevsky’s mysticism of the resurrection joins Thomas’s anthropology of the resurrection where all are truly responsible for all through a “metaphysical conversion” that overcomes the self-absorption of material individuation. Only thus will relationships of solidarity begin to take form within the human family.

Dostoevsky prophetically illuminates the move toward social individuation that is incapable of “seeing” the responsibility of all for all. John Paul II and Benedict, to the puzzlement of many secular and Catholic onlookers, have closely interrelated sexual ethics with Catholic social thought. In this paper I have shown the inner logical connection between human sexual love and solidarity. McAleer argues that John Paul II’s sexual ethics is richly infused by a Thomistic philosophy of the body. I have applied this thought also to John Paul II’s principle of solidarity. Benedict XVI concurs that marriage and peace rest upon the same self-diffusive principles. He argues that the human family must be modeled upon the principles of a community rather than an aggregation of individuals. Political community is modeled on principles of “rights” and “equality” that result in domination. In a community, however, each makes himself less than the other, hospitably receiving the form of the Other in a liquification of Being. It is upon this mystery of the Christoform body that solidarity is founded.

Markel, SJ

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Part II: Solidarity and Sexuality

Part II: Solidarity, Sexuality and the Liquification of the Body

Whether by happenstance or causal connection, John Paul II, and Benedict directly in the title of his most recent encyclical letter, have taken up the same prophetic call of Dostoevsky and de Lubac. The solution to the social monism that plagues the modern world is not the re-structuring of institutions, but rather, a new way of seeing the world, of “sensing” interdependence. In the end, this means a new understanding of the unity of humanity founded not upon a human seeing, but upon the vision from the Cross. This vision does not see a human aggregate but rather a profoundly interconnected community, a human family, intrinsically ordered to a peaceful unity in Christ. The meaning of aggregate and communio are deeply significant to papal and Thomistic teachings on solidarity. John Paul II reflects:
Beyond human and natural bonds, already so close and strong, there is discerned in the light of faith a new model of the unity of the human race, which must ultimately inspire our solidarity. This supreme model of unity, which is a reflection of the intimate life of God, one God in three Persons, is what we Christians mean by the word communion.”
And Benedict concurs:
We do not live alongside one another purely by chance; all of us are progressing along a common path as men and women, and thus as brothers and sisters…. Without this transcendent foundation society is a mere aggregation of neighbours, not a community of brothers and sisters called to form one great family.
If humanity is fundamentally not an aggregate of individual human beings but profoundly a single unity, then there must be a structure intrinsic to every aspect of human interaction. Graham McAleer argues that at the center of John Paul II’s sexual ethics and political philosophy is the same gift-structure modeled on the self-diffusiveness of God’s own Being. It is to this intrinsic interconnection as the grounding of the meaning of human solidarity that I now turn.

Sexuality and Solidarity

In the first chapter of his book, “Desire and Violence,” McAleer lays the groundwork for a Thomistic theory of the body underpinning, he claims, John Paul II’s theology of the Body. The relationship between matter and form for Thomas is best described as a concreatum. In this understanding, “the desire of the parts for one another deposes each in the service of the other.” Such a theory contrasts with Averroes’ description of congregatum and Giles of Rome’s aggregatum in which there is a certain violence to the union of form and matter. For Thomas, “because desire is always already united with its object, and has – at the very least in promise – already attained a fullness of being, desire is at peace.” Thomas’ theory is thus a theory of promise and peace, modeled, argues McAleer, on a prior acceptance of the bodily resurrection. He claims that “Thomas’s deep philosophical objection to Averroes is the implication that if the material principle of our bodies cannot participate in beatitude in some fashion similar to our souls, then metaphysically a discord has been built into the human.” This notion undergirds all his anthropology, placing Thomas in opposition to all theories that pose a fundamental division with the structure of desire, from Schopenhauer to Foucault, Haraway, and beyond. It also places him in close congruence with the communio social theories that we saw above in John Paul II and Benedict, rejecting the notion of aggregate for community and family as a description of human interconnectedness.

McAleer next describes Thomas’s pseudo-Dionysian ecstatic structure of being. This means that the structure of human desire imitates the structure of Being, which is completely self-diffusive, both ethically and metaphysically. Thus, “Thomas describes a metaphysical order which, in ascending in perfection becomes increasingly ecstatic.” Another way of stating this is that “natural appetite seeks the divine likeness as its own perfection.” There is a peace structure at the center of human desire. This peace structure is fourfold: of the individual toward conservation, the species for offspring, the genus for community, and the universal for God. McAleer summarizes beautifully this inner structure of human appetite:
To begin to capture the implications of the ecstatic structure of desire as presented by Thomas in these passages, we can ask: what is the consummation of desire for each of the four levels of human desire? As we move through these four levels it will be seen that the least ecstatic desire converts its object into itself while the most ecstatic desire is converted into its object.
Thus, at the lowest level of desire, preservation turns food into itself, such that the Other barely appears. At the second level, however, the other appears in a child, rendering the parents’ desire truly ecstatic. The self-diffusiveness of form, of reason that is capable of universality, impresses itself on the sensual, expanding its ecstasy, just as invertedly the capacity for ecstasy is offered by the matter-desire to form. At the third level, other’s can appear in a political sense, and at the four level, finally, “desire is converted, having completed a movement of humility, and made into the Other. A (spiritual) food now converts desire rather than desire converting (physical) food.” Thus, while for Foucault the soul is no more than a technique for power and the body can never be innocent of power, and for Merleau-Ponty “one kind of violence (Marxist) was at least preferable to another (capitalist),” for Aquinas “the flesh participates in reason the more generous flesh is, the more other-directed it becomes.”

Two other notions must be supplied here. First, Thomas has a double notion of sensuality in relation to the Fall. When reason turned against God at the Fall, resisting its own ecstatic dynamism, sensuality rightly rejected reason. Yet sensuality anteriorly needs reason in order to direct its ecstatic nature toward what is universally good. Thus, before the Fall, human nature is both morally transgressive and naturally ecstatic. There is a natural resistance in the flesh that separates me from you. As Merleau-Ponty points out, when I shake your hand, there is a dual conformity of the hand that is never without resistance and tension. And as Foucault has argued, as expressed in this case, power is internal to all relations. However, this natural propensity of the flesh to simulate nutrition, to turn you into me, is simultaneously an ecstatic drive toward the other. This ecstasy requires the intellect, which, as Aristotle claimed, is in a way all things and desires unity with all things. Thus, while the most primordial drive of sensuality is toward ecstasy, by means of original sin, the simultaneous drive to turn the other into myself is emphasized and “intensified historically.” Since the principle of individuation does not allow one to become one with another, a “metaphysical conversion” is required wherein matter is given the ecstatic form it desires.

This metaphysical conversion is the second critical notion to be examined here. Thomas takes seriously the role that material individuation plays in the human community, anticipating Dostoevsky’s concern that “every one strives to keep his individuality as apart as possible” from every one else. If the person is to be truly healed in his or her sensuality, the body “must become a wounded body.” Thomas begins with an individuated body, but he then introduces “the other into the individuated body through the wound.” From the very first moment of creation, the human being was modeled upon the person of Christ and his crucified body. The “split tissue in Christ’s resurrected body scars as glory” such that the natural law was always anteriorly “a theory of appetites understood on the model of the wounds of Christ.” Through the liquification of the flesh by means of the wound, the other can always live in me. I would like to close this portion with a long quote that expresses significantly the necessity and capacity for liquification on the part of the human community:
But nothing is able to be transformed into another except insofar as it recedes in some fashion from its form, because form makes something one, and so preceding the division of penetration [that is, the lover’s penetration of the beloved] is another division by which the lover is separated from himself tending thereby into the beloved…. Because nothing recedes from itself unless dissolved from what holds it inside itself, just as a natural thing is not detached from its form unless the dispositions are dissolved by which the form is retained in the matter, so it must be that the lover is removed from the boundaries inside of which the lover is held and on account of this love is said to liquefy the heart, because a liquid is not contained by its boundaries.
This liquification is possible only through the wound of Christ that exemplarily cures the world of violence interiorly, rejecting the way of the Leviathan – the way of self-preservation – for the way of self-diffusiveness – the way of Love.

Markel, SJ

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Part I: Solidarity and Sexuality

Part I: Solidarity, Sexuality and the Liquification of the Body


Tina Beattie, in her most recent book The New Feminism, is not the first to be baffled by what is often called John Paul II’s “progressive” social policy and his “conservative” sexual ethics. She puzzles:
Although the Catholic Church has become increasingly radical in its social teachings, particularly under the papacy of John Paul II… Its continuing power to influence western politics has been most apparent, not on issues of justice and peace but on issues of gender and sexuality.
She goes on to express deep concern about this “increasing conservatism of the Catholic Church” and to wonder what the “influence of the new papacy on questions concerning the role of women in the Church” will be. Others have more recently been equally puzzled by Benedict XVI’s connection of marriage and the family to world peace and disarmament. What is the connection between sexual marital ethics and global solidarity? It is this important connection that I will explore here. John Paul II’s theology of the body was deeply grounded in Thomistic philosophy as G.J. McAleer has recently argued. Yet I would claim that his ethics of solidarity is also Thomistic and therefore Christological at heart and that Benedict XVI has followed closely in this same tradition. John Paul II and Benedict XVI have also argued closely for the meaning of solidarity as linked to the spiritual unity of humanity. I explore these arguments with de Lubac and Dostoevsky’s spiritual vision of humanity. Exploring first the arguments that John Paul II and Benedict XVI have made for global solidarity in the human family and the similarities of these arguments to the thought of de Lubac and Dostoevsky, I will then show how the roots of this solidarity are in a Thomistic philosophy of the body and that calls for a sense of global solidarity of all with all are best made on such grounds.

The Meaning of Human Solidarity

In an address Benedict XVI made to the Pontifical Academy of the Social Sciences on May 9, he develops the meaning of solidarity in relation to subsidiarity and the other two fundamental principles of Catholic social thought: the dignity of the human person and the common good. He defines solidarity as “the virtue enabling the human family to share fully the treasure of material and spiritual goods.” Here we begin to see the close connection made by Benedict XVI between the family and solidarity. Solidarity operates within the human family as love does within a family unit. Yet after tracing solidarity to its connection with the human family, Benedict further traces it back into the very center of God himself:
“The solidarity that binds the human family, and the subsidiary levels reinforcing it from within, must however always be placed within the horizon of the mysterious life of the Triune God (cf. Jn 5:26; 6:57).” Since the “heavenly and earthly cities interpenetrate and are intrinsically ordered to one another,” so “the natural human inclination to live in community is confirmed and transformed by the ‘oneness of Spirit’ which God has bestowed upon his adopted sons and daughters (cf. Eph 4:3; 1 Pet 3:8).”
Benedict here echoes closely the thought of Henri de Lubac, who he explicitly cites in his most recent encyclical letter Spe Salvi:
Drawing upon the vast range of patristic theology, de Lubac was able to demonstrate that salvation has always been considered a “social” reality…. Hence “redemption” appears as the reestablishment of unity, in which we come together once more in a union that begins to take shape in the world community of believers…. Let us concentrate on the Letter to Proba in which Augustine tries to illustrate to some degree this “known unknown” that we seek.
While the natural unity of human nature is not sundered by sin, the effective knowledge of this unity, otherwise called its spiritual unity in Christ, is destroyed, so that each appears to the other as an individual, an Other that does not demand anything from me, and is to be used only for my benefit. The virtue of solidarity counteracts this social monism, premising itself not on the “equality” of all with all, since equality makes no demands, but rather on the kenotic image of Christ, “slain before the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8) and anteriorly shaping human relationships as service. Benedict explains:
True solidarity - though it begins with an acknowledgment of the equal worth of the other - comes to fulfillment only when I willingly place my life at the service of the other (cf. Eph 6:21). Herein lies the “vertical” dimension of solidarity: I am moved to make myself less than the other so as to minister to his or her needs (cf. Jn 13:14-15), just as Jesus “humbled himself” so as to give men and women a share in his divine life with the Father and the Spirit (cf. Phil 2:8; Mat 23:12).
The call of human solidarity in the vision of the Other is to “make myself less,” to recognize in the other a sufficient reason to give in self-donation. Since “the family is the first and indispensable teacher of peace,” solidarity is founded upon an understanding wherein the family – in the marital self-giving relationship – teaches the kenotic self-diffusiveness of Christ as the principle of unity.

At least in part because of his work with the Solidarity movement in Poland, the virtue of solidarity became a central aspect of John Paul II’s papal teaching. John Paul II placed his teaching in the context of contemporary globalization. In Solicitudo Rei Socialis he explains:
Therefore political leaders, and citizens of rich countries considered as individuals, especially if they are Christians, have the moral obligation, according to the degree of each one’s responsibility, to take into consideration, in personal decisions and decisions of government, this relationship of universality, this interdependence which exists between their conduct and the poverty and underdevelopment of so many millions of people. Pope Paul’s encyclical translates more succinctly the moral obligation as the “duty of solidarity.”
Solidarity is that virtue whereby those who are more well off than others experience an ethical requirement to comport their lives towards the weakest of the earth. For John Paul II, there is an “ethical requirement” that goes along with “interdependence.” He argues that interdependence must be “accepted as a moral category” because we are “all really responsible for all.”

Whether or not this is a direct quote from Dostoevsky, there is a profound continuity between the thought of John Paul II and the man who wrote The Brothers Karamazov. Father Zossima, the elderly abbot/monk in the story, tells of his elder brother, Markel, who died when he was still young. He suddenly experienced a “metaphysical conversion” described thus: “Mother, little mother of mine,” he said…, “little heart of mine, my joy, believe me, every one is really responsible to all men for all men and for everything. I don’t know how to explain it to you, but I feel it is so, painfully even.” This mystery is experienced “painfully” because it is immersed in the truth of one of Dostoevsky’s favorite passages from Scripture: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” Such a dying is not an optional choice offered to human beings, but rather a profound duty, a duty, as Benedict expressed, to make myself less than the other in order to serve him or her. This alone is the solution to the modern malaise. Dostoevsky describes it prophetically:
Why, the isolation that prevails everywhere, above all in our age – it has not fully developed, it has not reached its limit yet. For every one strives to keep his individuality as apart as possible, wishes to secure the greatest possible fullness of life for himself; but meantime all his efforts result not in attaining fullness of life but in self-destruction, for instead of self-realisation, he ends by arriving at complete solitude.
The only solution for Dostoevsky is a new way of “seeing” that happens through a metaphysical conversion, a sudden opening of the eyes to the interconnection and interdependence of all things upon all. As Benedict stated in his address for the celebration of the World Day of Peace: “In this regard, it is essential to ‘sense’ that the earth is ‘our common home’ and, in our stewardship and service to all, to choose the path of dialogue rather than the path of unilateral decisions.” Acting like Newman’s illative sense, this “sensing” or “seeing” is the result of a conversation of faith. Such a new mystical way of “seeing,” argues de Lubac, is the crowning theme of Dostoevsky’s life, summarized in the last words of The Brothers Karamazov in the year of his death:
“Karamazov,” exclaimed Kolya, “is it true, as religion says, that we will rise from the dead, that we shall see each other again, all of us, Ilyusha too?”
“… To be sure, we shall rise again, we shall see one another again, and we shall joyfully recount all that has happened to us”, replied Alyosha, half-laughing, half-eager.
“Oh, how lovely that will be!” said Kolya.
When Alyosha finally decides to leave the monastery, he suddenly receives an ecstatic vision wherein he sees in the wedding feast of Cana the transformation of the whole world. The mystical marriage of humanity is the spiritual foundation of solidarity, rooted, as I will show, in the visible expression of human marital love. Mystical seeing for Dostoevsky is a new way of “sensing” the world. It is, says de Lubac, “viaticum for his journey.” He continues: “’By hope you are saved’, said Paul to the Christians who had already passed through mystic death and resurrection. So it is with Alyosha. The mysticism of The Brothers Karamazov is the mysticism of the Resurrection.”

Markel, SJ

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Economics and the Common Good

Some of the conclusions from the Pontifical Academy of the Social Sciences:
Selfless protagonists

During the plenary session, the pontifical academy heard the contribution of Michel Bauwens, initiator of the P2P (Peer to Peer) Foundation. His experience relates to the sharing of common goods -- for example, knowledge -- through the Internet. The case reflects a situation wherein a network of persons share freely and receive freely, without an economic motivation.

This is an example, Donati explained, of the importance of understanding the development of a society that produces common goods.

It is about an "interweaving between subsidiarity and solidarity that should be, yes, horizontal in the sense that it regulates relations between people, but which should also have a vertical dimension," he added. Donati affirmed that the state -- though it has a notable role in the production and preservation of the common good -- does not have a monopoly over it.

The professor suggested that current economic theories are insufficient because they "still presupposes a 'homo economicus' interested in acting substantially for his benefit." Even though that theory takes into account "a selfless protagonist," it considers him a figure of little importance. It thinks of the third sector, Donati added, "as a charitable sector, of beneficence, not as a sector that creates common goods."

That's why Donati indicated the necessity of proposing new economic theories and perhaps even a new political theory, citing a tendency toward "a certain return to focusing on the state […] which points again in some way to the strength and the monopoly of the state, something that does not help in the development of the common goods we've mentioned."

Markel, SJ

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Practicing Catholic Michael Moore

I had not read this and thought it was kind of interesting.  This is part of an interview between Larry King and Michael Moore concerning Obama's connection to Rev. Wright:
Larry King: What about how [Obama's] handled the Rev. Wright thing?

Moore: Jeez, you know, I mean I go to Mass still. I'm a practicing Catholic. I've been that way all my life. But if I had -- if I had gotten up every time I heard a priest from the pulpit in my travels around the country say things like I've heard them say, that birth control is a sin, that women should not be priests, that women should have a different role in church . . .

King: You'd be walking out all the time?

Moore: I would have been walking out so much -- that would have been so much aerobic activity for me . . . I wouldn't look like this.
I didn't know that Moore was a practicing Catholic. I guess we know what he means by that. Just because you don't agree doesn't mean you leave.

Markel, SJ

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Meet the Democratic Nominee...

He ain't no superman though.

The other story from last night: John McCain has yet to unite the Republican base. He won North Carolina with 74%. Mike Huckabee (remember him) captured 12% and Ron "The Revolution is Coming" Paul took 8%. In Indiana, McCain 78%, Huckabee 10%, Paul 8% and even Mitt Romney at 5%.

Discontent all around!

Mason Slidell

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Benedict on Solidarity and Subsidiarity

Here is an excerpt from Benedicts comments to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences:
When we examine the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity in the light of the Gospel, we realize that they are not simply “horizontal”: they both have an essentially vertical dimension. Jesus commands us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us (cf. Lk 6:31); to love our neighbour as ourselves (cf. Mat 22:35). These laws are inscribed by the Creator in man’s very nature (cf. Deus Caritas Est, 31). Jesus teaches that this love calls us to lay down our lives for the good of others (cf. Jn 15:12-13). In this sense, true solidarity - though it begins with an acknowledgment of the equal worth of the other - comes to fulfilment only when I willingly place my life at the service of the other (cf. Eph 6:21). Herein lies the “vertical” dimension of solidarity: I am moved to make myself less than the other so as to minister to his or her needs (cf. Jn 13:14-15), just as Jesus “humbled himself” so as to give men and women a share in his divine life with the Father and the Spirit (cf. Phil 2:8; Mat 23:12).

Similarly, subsidiarity - insofar as it encourages men and women to enter freely into life-giving relationships with those to whom they are most closely connected and upon whom they most immediately depend, and demands of higher authorities respect for these relationships - manifests a “vertical” dimension pointing towards the Creator of the social order (cf. Rom 12:16, 18). A society that honours the principle of subsidiarity liberates people from a sense of despondency and hopelessness, granting them the freedom to engage with one another in the spheres of commerce, politics and culture (cf. Quadragesimo Anno, 80). When those responsible for the public good attune themselves to the natural human desire for self-governance based on subsidiarity, they leave space for individual responsibility and initiative, but most importantly, they leave space for love (cf. Rom 13:8; Deus Caritas Est, 28), which always remains “the most excellent way” (cf. 1 Cor 12:31).
Markel, SJ

Sunday, May 4, 2008

"Liberal" Catholics and "Millennial" Catholics

Two points on this article from Time.

1) Maybe it is just me, but I am so tried of loose use of the word "liberal." The popular concepts of "liberals" as warmed-over socialists and "conservatives" as mini-Francos are false. Liberalism is a political philosophy that advocates the political primacy of the individual, the rule of law, the expansion of individual freedom/choice and a market-based economy. Both "liberals" and "conservatives" in the United States subscribe to this general philosophy. The differences revolve around a narrow set of practical decisions on how much and what kind of government influence should we have. "Liberals" do not advocate Communism and "conservatives" do not advocate Fascism! Too much of this discussion on Catholicism in America imports European political philosophies into our vocabulary that have NEVER been influential positions in the United States.

2) It seems to me those gray-haired activists from Call to Action have a hard time understanding us younger folk because we don't use the tool of protest. As a millennial myself, I think Tom Reese's analysis of us is correct. We generally are not a generation who wants to change the mind of authority figures, or are even really interested in telling the powers-that-be how we think and feel. We just do what we want, quickly and quietly. No big fuss to us. I notice among my peers that there is often no faster way to turn them off than to challenge their shallow precepts. It is pretty chilling actually - a generation with no real opinions and no real interest in having any.

Mason Slidell

Thursday, May 1, 2008