Classic and contemporary excerpts.

Incompatibility?

The men who created the European ideal … believed it to mean a commitment to certain political values: social pluralism, political democracy, human rights, free markets. In the 1990s being European has declined into a matter of taste: for wine made in France, fashions made in Milan, cars made in Düsseldorf. Heaven forbid that style choices should commit you to believe in anything.

—Michael Ignatieff in “Can Russia Return to Europe?” (Harper’s, April 1992)

Using power aright

The great agony of the Christian statesman turns on the proper use of great power for moral ends.

—Edward L. R. Elson in a letter to President Dwight Eisenhower

A more shameful crucifixion

Not Herod, not Caiaphas, not Pilate, not Judas ever contrived to fasten upon Jesus Christ the reproach of insipidity; that final indignity was left for pious hands to inflict. To make of His story something that could neither startle, nor shock, nor terrify, nor excite, nor inspire a living soul is to crucify the Son of God afresh and put Him to an open shame.

—Dorothy L. Sayers in The Man Born to Be King

What direction are we growing?

The focus of health in the soul is humility, while the root of inward corruption is pride. In the spiritual life, nothing stands still. If we are not constantly growing downward into humility, we shall be steadily swelling up and running to seed under the influence of pride.

J. I. Packer in Rediscovering Holiness

Whatever happened to artistic integrity?

Decadence has bloomed.… [T]oday wallowing-in-animal-entrails art and self-inflicted-gunshot art can hardly stir up a yawn.

Not that the art wars are drawing to a close. Critics still act like forward observers searching for enemies of the avant garde, ...

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