How the West was Won

So I’ve been deep in the bowels of the Georgia Historical Society archives the past week laying the groundwork for a new project on slavery and the law. Of course, as far as bowels go, the Georgia Historical Society is mighty fine, located in wonderful Savannah and adjacent to beautiful Forsyth Park. Repeated trips to Elizabeth’s restore the soul and the body after a long day with the super efficient archivists who continually fed me pamphlets and speeches on slavery and the Constitution, and the Bible, and science, and the progress of civilization.

Of interest to me, although by no means core to my project, is the civilizational confidence both Northern and Southern speakers evinced about their political, social, and cultural orders. It is a confidence, I think, almost absent from any state in the West today.

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Fides et Ratio

In his recent addresses to the British Parliament and to the German Bundestag, Pope Benedict XVI, attempts to build a bridge between the discourse of secular politics and Christian faith. He calls for a dialogue between “the world of secular rationality” and the world of “religious belief”. Benedict identifies two main threats to this dialogue:  ideological distortions of secular reason and religious fundamentalism. He argues that a proper dialogue between faith and reason can “purify” both by helping us to avoid ideological blindness and religious fanaticism. How to span the realms of Christian faith and secular reason?  Benedict builds his…

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