santa reading bookshelf
Santa’s Bookshelf: Christmas recommendations from Providence writers and friends

Stock(ing) up on exceptional–or at least important–books for Christmas and New Year reading

bortchen observation
Front Bortchen: January 31, 2021

On living left of boom and moving to contact; responding to the Holocaust, the problem of evil, and human freedom; and “Once an Eagle” and a objects of love

The Impeachment of American Evangelicalism

There is a sharp public conversation brewing over evangelical attitudes on impeachment. Christianity Today editorialized that Christians should support removing…

Implications of Trump-Zelensky Phone Call
Foreign Policy and Moral Implications of the Trump-Zelensky Phone Call

Trump is not the first president to put conditions on aid to a foreign land, but he may be the first to do so in order to score petty political points.

Holocaust Comparisons Are Stupid and Self-defeating—But Possibly Revealing as Well
AOC’s Holocaust Comparisons Are Stupid and Self-defeating—But Revealing as Well

I am not, here, interested in debating the specific conditions on our southern border. This is its own crisis. What I am interested in is commenting on why comparing what’s going on down there to the Holocaust is foolish both historically and strategically. For what it’s worth, my objections apply to nearly any comparison made between the Holocaust and a current atrocity—real or perceived.

Can we Handle the Truth: What Robert Kagan Gets Right About Liberalism

That Robert Kagan’s recent essay, “The Strongmen Strike Back,” has sparked controversy is an unfortunate commentary on our public understanding…

Trump’s Foreign Policy and the Sowing of Illiberal Disorder

A disruptive foreign policy, such as the Trump Administration’s, is not necessarily disordering, and may even be warranted, especially when the status quo is unstable or unjust.  But to be justified morally, it must be creatively destructive, replacing the old order with a new one.

Jamal Khashoggi’s Disappearance Should Prompt U.S. to Challenge MBS on Human Rights

The Jamal Khashoggi affair presents the perfect opportunity for the United States to press Saudi Arabia for more progress on its horrendous human rights record. 

Only a Matter of Time: Trump on Trade and the Temptation to Disrupt

This is an axiom, as true for foreign policy as it is for our faith. We may not be bound by history, but we are damned if we ignore it. The root of conservatism is the tendency to see value in traditions not as ends unto themselves but as visible reminders of the sacrifices of those who have gone before.