R. J. Snell

Contemplation and the Empire of Desire

acedia-brueghel1 May 1, 2015
Philadelphia, PA R. R. Reno of First Things has recently identified the “Empire of Desire” by its odd combination of regulation and libertinism. On the one hand, we cannot ride a bicycle without a helmet or let our children play…
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Christmas Comes But Once a Year; Or, Books to Buy Next Christmas

January 22, 2015
Philadelphia, PA R. J. Snell A slow thinker and slower writer—some might say the reverse—I’ve been chewing over the Christmas season for the past few days, a remembrance of things past. The issue: what, if anything, of worth does our…
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Rollin Coal and the Empire of Desire

rollin coal July 21, 2014
Thanks to a good friend, I’m now up to speed on the phenomenon of “Rollin Coal,” which one commentator describes as “a new trend in which anti-environmentalist idiots with nothing better to do modify their diesel engined trucks to burn…
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Natural Law and Love

PICKWICK_Template May 13, 2014
The following is an excerpt from R.J. Snell’s new book The Perspective of Love: Natural Law in a New Mode. Preface: According to the rightly celebrated theorist J. Budziszewski, natural law is a fact, a “feature of the world having…
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A Tale of Two Bodies

your_local_pharmacy May 6, 2014
With pollen blanketing my car, I stopped by a “local” pharmacy on the way to work this morning. It’s an impressive new building, with a substantial parking lot, gleaming façade, and amenities scattered throughout the aisles. Certainly it was not…
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Slow Growth and Living Form

Jean-Baptiste-Camille_Corot_-_Como_and_Lake_Como January 21, 2014
Everything seeks its own perfection or completion, and, moreover, seeks this perfection in a way proper to itself. Since both the end sought and the way of seeking are attuned to the thing’s nature, actions can violate a thing’s integrity…
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Are Porchers Urbane? Time to Wonder About Ourselves

rooftop garden November 25, 2013
As a student, I never trusted teachers who wanted to be part of student culture. You know the type, the teacher who wishes to have influence by becoming as much like a student as possible, usually caught up into intrigues.…
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What You Need to Know About Bernard Lonergan, S. J.

Lonergan-02 September 30, 2013
From the distance of 750 years, Thomas Aquinas can seem quite the stodgy fellow—not just old school but the old school. One needs to look a little closer to realize the exuberance of his work, not only in its robust…
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Veritatis Splendor at 20—Lessons for Localists

jpii-escribe2 August 5, 2013
Veritatis Splendor, John Paul II’s encyclical letter, The Splendor of Truth, is now twenty years old. Promulgated August 6, 1993, the letter addressed fundamental issues in moral theology, responding particularly to certain revisionist or dissenting positions denying that…
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American Agrarian (On Sale Now)

chicken June 21, 2013
How gratifying to learn of the cultural ascendancy of the Porchers! We’ve made it, we’ve convinced Americans of the abiding values of place, limits, and liberty. As evidence, I direct you to the newish “agrarian” line of products from the…
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On Not Knowing Nothing: Mastery and Expertise

May 17, 2013
I belong to a guild. As such, I’m recognized by its practitioners as a peer, a fellow, even, like them, a master. By this I do not mean anything remotely self-aggrandizing, not  suggesting I am an exemplar or even a…
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Interview about Education

May 16, 2013
You can find a short interview about education and my new book at Coffee and Markets here.…
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The Locale and Grace of Teaching

books May 6, 2013
I’ve not yet decided if I’ve succumbed to despair (a sin) or prudence, but I no longer participate in any of the forums at my campus about online education, MOOCs, virtual office hours, assessment, and the countless other distractions from…
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My New Book is Out–Authentic Cosmopolitanism

April 19, 2013
I’m pleased to announce that my new book, Authentic Cosmopolitanism: Love, Sin, and Grace in the Christian University, co-authored with Steve Cone, is now out. From the back cover: Humans are lovers, and yet a good deal of pedagogical theory,…
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A Prophet of Goodness: Review of Mark T. Mitchell’s The Politics of Gratitude: Scale, Place and Community in a Global Age

politics of gratitude April 16, 2013
At my worst moments, I succumb to thinking that we have become utterly trite, absorbed by ephemera, thin of character, quick but scattered of intellect, weak of will, and just at a moment in which we face gravely serious issues.…
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The Mouse with Tusks: Speech, Power, Perversity

Lab Mouse March 15, 2013
Earlier this week, Terry Gross interviewed Emily Anthes, author of Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts, on recent development in bioengineering, including radio controlled insects, pigs which grow human organs, goats with medicated milk, and mice doing…
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