Volume 28

Guests on Volume 28: Gregory Wolfe, on Malcolm Muggeridge; Dana Mack, on how our culture makes raising kids difficult; James L. Nolan, on why therapeutic ideas are showing up in laws and in courts; Thomas H. Naylor, on the Babelesque dangers of giantism; Daniel Ritchie, on the political wisdom of Edmund Burke; Edward Tenner, on how machines get their revenge; and Richard Noll, on Carl Jung as The Aryan Christ.

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Part 1

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    Gregory Wolfe on Malcolm Muggeridge

    Malcolm Muggeridge: A Biography, was published by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company in 1997.

    Gregory Wolfe speaks about Malcolm Muggeridge, the British journalist who was an important witness to most of the major events of the twentieth century. Wolfe, who had a ten-year friendship with Muggeridge, says that Muggeridge was "marked by tragedy" when he witnessed the forced starvation of millions of people in the Ukraine in the 1930s. His role as a satirist reflected this realism and caused him to make "moral indictments" in his reportage. Wolfe highlights the differences between Muggeridge and C. S. Lewis and G. K. Chesterton. He had a worldly wisdom which gave him an edge in his perspectives and observations. Wolfe shows the sanctification of these gifts as Muggeridge entered the faith.

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    Dana Mack on how our culture makes raising kids difficult

    The Assault on Parenthood: How Our Culture Undermines the Family (Simon and Schuster, 1997)

    Dana Mack, author of The Assault on Parenthood: How Our Culture Undermines the Family, believes that the authority of parents and families is undermined by the institutions of the state. These institutions, which are often characterized by what Mack calls an anti-family ideology, tend to regard the state as more competent than the family in regards to proper child-rearing practices. Mack considers the public school system as a primary example of this practice, evidenced by the fact that local schools are losing influence to state and federal powers.

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    James L. Nolan on why therapeutic ideas are showing up in laws and in courts

    The Therapeutic State: Justifying Government at Century's End (New York University Press, 1998)

    James L. Nolan, author of The Therapeutic State: Justifying Government at Century's End, believes that values of "emotional well-being" have replaced standards of good and right in the rhetoric of the American government. He claims that any government must appeal to a higher authority for justification (such as tradition, natural law, divine right, etc.); in today's society the therapeutic values are most accessible and dominant, and therefore most authoritative. Nolan also compares the old view of the self, characterized by sacrifice and the restraining of desire, with the new view, which is centered primarily on the idea of self-actualization. Society's new standard has thus become the self, and relativized therapeutic values only serve to promote this standard.

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    Thomas H. Naylor on the Babelesque dangers of giantism

    Downsizing the U. S. A. (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1997)

    Thomas Naylor, co-author with William H. Willimon of Downsizing the U. S. A., addresses the numerous problems which he believe result from unchecked growth in almost every societal institution. Naylor believes that pursuing a sense of unrestrained giantism in our cities, universities, corporations, and churches promotes a sense of meaninglessness. The desire to pursue giantism reflects an attempt on the part of society to pursue immortality, according to Naylor. On side two of the tape, Naylor relates these ideas of "bigness" to the realm of secessionism.

Part 2

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    Daniel Ritchie on the political wisdom of Edmund Burke

    Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France is available in several editions.

    Daniel Ritchie explores the differences between the British statesman and political thinker Edmund Burke, and those thinkers of the "Rights of Man" tradition, who espoused the notion that the state encroaches upon the rights of the individual. The thinkers of this tradition (namely Locke and Rousseau) differ drastically from Burke, who believed in the divinely ordered natural law of the state. Burke believed in the deep and abiding natural law, and Ritchie affirms that the concepts which drove Burke's thought were essentially conservative ideals.

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    Edward Tenner on how machines get their revenge

    Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences (Random House, 1996)

    Edward Tenner, author of Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences, believes that an almost unchecked devotion to advances in technology has produced many unintended and unexpected surprises. Society has come to expect many things from very complex forms of technology, according to Tenner, but their complexity is often the cause of unanticipated problems which disappoint people and actually increase the frustration people were trying to avoid in the first place. Tenner calls for vigilance and control over technology as advances continue rapidly.

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    Richard Noll on Carl Jung as The Aryan Christ

    The Aryan Christ: The Secret Life of Carl Jung (Random House, 1997)

    Richard Noll, author of The Aryan Christ: The Secret Life of Carl Jung, believes that the concept of Jungian psychology is really only religion dressed as science. This religion, according to Noll, is a conglomeration of polytheism, paganism, and Gnosticism. Those who discover Jung and his psychology are often on a quest for spiritual meaning, according to Noll, although they prefer spiritual revelation to be a wholly private experience while their public lives remain secular in nature.